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1 December 2008 Atmospheric-turbulence-effects correction factors for the laser range equation
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The capability to detect an optical target using laser illumination is typically assessed using an equation commonly referred to as the laser range equation. In practice, however, the laser range equation often produces unreliable predictions when compared to actual results under field conditions. The lack of accuracy is due in large part to the failure of the range equation to account for the effects of atmospheric turbulence on the illuminating laser beam. Retrodirective reflections from a corner cube and a simple lens-mirror system, used as a surrogate for a lens-detector optical system, were studied using near-infrared laser illumination. Each optic was tested under a variety of atmospheric conditions in order to assess the effect of atmospheric turbulence on the returned power. Using established theory, a corrective term for use in the laser range equation that accounts for turbulence-induced beam spreading is developed and compared to experimental results. Additionally, a method for correcting the lab-measured optical cross section of a focused optical system in order to account for the defocusing effects of turbulence is developed. With these corrective terms, the laser range equation was modified to provide accurate return-power predictions under varied atmospheric conditions.
©(2008) Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
Walter P. Cole, Michael A. Marciniak, and Mitchell B. Haeri "Atmospheric-turbulence-effects correction factors for the laser range equation," Optical Engineering 47(12), 126001 (1 December 2008).
Published: 1 December 2008

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