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Proceedings Paper

Propagation modeling results for narrow-beam undersea laser communications
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Paper Abstract

Communication links through ocean waters are challenging due to undersea propagation physics. Undersea optical communications at blue or green wavelengths can achieve high data rates (megabit- to gigabit-per-second class links) despite the challenging undersea medium. Absorption and scattering in ocean waters attenuate optical signals and distort the waveform through dense multipath. The exponential propagation loss and the temporal spread due to multipath limit the achievable link distance and data rate. In this paper, we describe the Monte Carlo modeling of the undersea scattering and absorption channel. We model photon signal attenuation levels, spatial photon distributions, time of arrival statistics, and angle of arrival statistics for a variety of lasercom scenarios through both clear and turbid water environments. Modeling results inform the design options for an undersea optical communication system, particularly illustrating the advantages of narrow-beam lasers compared to wide beam methods (e.g. LED sources). The modeled pupil plane and focal plane photon arrival distributions enable beam tracking techniques for robust pointing solutions, even in highly scattering harbor waters. Laser communication with collimated beams maximizes the photon transfer through the scattering medium and enables spatial and temporal filters to minimize waveform distortion and background interference.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 March 2016
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 9739, Free-Space Laser Communication and Atmospheric Propagation XXVIII, 97390I (15 March 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2222890
Show Author Affiliations
Andrew S Fletcher, MIT Lincoln Lab. (United States)
Nicholas D. Hardy, MIT Lincoln Lab. (United States)
Scott A. Hamilton, MIT Lincoln Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9739:
Free-Space Laser Communication and Atmospheric Propagation XXVIII
Hamid Hemmati; Don M. Boroson, Editor(s)

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