The use of ultrashort (femtosecond duration) light pulses for line-of-sight free-space optical (FSO) communication through fog is receiving increasing attention. Assuming that the transmitter power is low enough to preclude nonlinear interactions, and that scattering-induced multipath spread is less than the reciprocal of the scattering-induced Doppler spread, it is shown that the average transmitter-to-receiver fractional energy transfer of an ultrafast FSO system cannot exceed that of a quasimonochromatic (nanosecond pulse duration) system operating at the optimum wavelength within the ultrafast system’s spectrum. Thus, an ultrashort-pulse system is not a solution for high-data-rate FSO communication through fog, because, at best, it will reproduce on average the energy-transfer performance of a wavelength-optimized quasimonochromatic system.
© 2011 Optical Society of America
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