Abstract

We have designed a plenoptic sensor to retrieve phase and amplitude changes resulting from a laser beam’s propagation through atmospheric turbulence. Compared with the commonly restricted domain of (π,π) in phase reconstruction by interferometers, the reconstructed phase obtained by the plenoptic sensors can be continuous up to a multiple of 2π. When compared with conventional Shack–Hartmann sensors, ambiguities caused by interference or low intensity, such as branch points and branch cuts, are less likely to happen and can be adaptively avoided by our reconstruction algorithm. In the design of our plenoptic sensor, we modified the fundamental structure of a light field camera into a mini Keplerian telescope array by accurately cascading the back focal plane of its object lens with a microlens array’s front focal plane and matching the numerical aperture of both components. Unlike light field cameras designed for incoherent imaging purposes, our plenoptic sensor operates on the complex amplitude of the incident beam and distributes it into a matrix of images that are simpler and less subject to interference than a global image of the beam. Then, with the proposed reconstruction algorithms, the plenoptic sensor is able to reconstruct the wavefront and a phase screen at an appropriate depth in the field that causes the equivalent distortion on the beam. The reconstructed results can be used to guide adaptive optics systems in directing beam propagation through atmospheric turbulence. In this paper, we will show the theoretical analysis and experimental results obtained with the plenoptic sensor and its reconstruction algorithms.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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