In this paper, the performance of underwater wireless optical communication (UWOC) links, which is made up of the partially coherent flat-topped (PCFT) array laser beam, has been investigated in detail. Providing high power, array laser beams are employed to increase the range of UWOC links. For characterization of the effects of oceanic turbulence on the propagation behavior of the considered beam, using the extended Huygens–Fresnel principle, an analytical expression for cross-spectral density matrix elements and a semi-analytical one for fourth-order statistical moment have been derived. Then, based on these expressions, the on-axis scintillation index of the mentioned beam propagating through weak oceanic turbulence has been calculated. Furthermore, in order to quantify the performance of the UWOC link, the average bit error rate (BER) has also been evaluated. The effects of some source factors and turbulent ocean parameters on the propagation behavior of the scintillation index and the BER have been studied in detail. The results of this investigation indicate that in comparison with the Gaussian array beam, when the source size of beamlets is larger than the first Fresnel zone, the PCFT array laser beam with the higher flatness order is found to have a lower scintillation index and hence lower BER. Specifically, in the sense of scintillation index reduction, using the PCFT array laser beams has a considerable benefit in comparison with the single PCFT or Gaussian laser beams and also Gaussian array beams. All the simulation results of this paper have been shown by graphs and they have been analyzed in detail.
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