NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Advisory – Planned Maintenance: On Monday, July 15 at 9 PM Eastern the STI Compliance and Distribution Services will be performing planned maintenance on the STI Repository (NTRS) for approximately one hour. During this time users will not be able to access the STI Repository (NTRS).

Back to Results
Model of Atmospheric Links on Optical Communications from High AltitudeOptical communication links have the potential to solve many of the problems of current radio and microwave links to satellites and high-altitude aircraft. The higher frequency involved in optical systems allows for significantly greater signal bandwidth, and thus information transfer rate, in excess of 10 Gbps, and the highly directional nature of laser-based signals eliminates the need for frequency-division multiplexing seen in radio and microwave links today. The atmosphere, however, distorts an optical signal differently than a microwave signal. While the ionosphere is one of the most significant sources of noise and distortion in a microwave or radio signal, the lower atmosphere affects an optical signal more significantly. Refractive index fluctuations, primarily caused by changes in atmospheric temperature and density, distort the incoming signal in both deterministic and nondeterministic ways. Additionally, suspended particles, such as those in haze or rain, further corrupt the transmitted signal. To model many of the atmospheric effects on the propagating beam, we use simulations based on the beam-propagation method. This method, developed both for simulation of signals in waveguides and propagation in atmospheric turbulence, separates the propagation into a diffraction and refraction problem. The diffraction step is an exact solution, within the limits of numerical precision, to the problem of propagation in free space, and the refraction step models the refractive index variances over a segment of the propagation path. By applying refraction for a segment of the propagation path, then diffracting over that same segment, this method forms a good approximation to true propagation through the atmospheric medium. Iterating over small segments of the total propagation path gives a good approximation to the problem of propagation over the entire path. Parameters in this model, such as initial beam profile and atmospheric constants, are easily modified in a simulation such as this, which allows for the rapid analysis of different propagation scenarios. Therefore, this method allows the development of a near-optimal system design for a wide range of situations, typical of what would be seen in different atmospheric conditions over a receiving ground station. A simulation framework based upon this model was developed in FORTRAN, and for moderate grid sizes and propagation distances these simulations are computable in reasonable time on a standard workstation. This presentation will discuss results thus far.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Document Type
Subich, Christopher
(University of Central Florida Orlando, FL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Research Symposium I
Subject Category
Communications And Radar
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

Available Downloads

There are no available downloads for this record.
No Preview Available