, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 345-396
Date: 23 Nov 2005

Free-space laser communication performance in the atmospheric channel

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Abstract

In spite of the tremendous technical advancement of available components, the major limitation of free-space laser communication (lasercom) performance is due to the atmosphere, because a portion of the atmospheric path always includes turbulence and multiple scattering effects. Starting from a fundamental understanding of the laser communications system under diverse weather conditions, this chapter provides a comprehensive treatment of the evaluation of parameters needed for analyzing system performance. The significance of higher-order statistics of probability density functions of irradiance fluctuations due to turbulence to performance analysis is explained. Starting from link analysis, the necessary expressions relating link margin, bit-error-rate, signal-to-noise-ratio, and probability of fade statistics are presented. Results for laboratory-simulated atmospheric turbulence and multiple scattering are presented. Example numerical results for simulations of lasercom systems operating under various atmospheric conditions are presented for various scenarios such as uplink-downlink (e.g., between ground and satellite, aircraft or UAV) and horizontal (terrestrial) link. Both turbulence and multiple scattering effects have been included in the analysis with both on-off keying and pulse-position modulation schemes. Statistical estimation and computation of communication parameters presented in this chapter will be useful in designing and optimizing lasercom systems that are reliable under all weather conditions.