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Proceedings Paper

Mitigation of dynamic wavefront distortions using a nematic liquid crystal spatial light modulator and simplex optimization
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Paper Abstract

Laser beam propagating through the atmosphere is subjected to severe wavefront distortions due to the optical turbulence. This leads to reduction in the received power, ultimately resulting in the BER degradation, even for short ranges. Optical properties of the atmospheric channel change over time; hence, maintaining a reliable link requires dynamic wavefront control to mitigate the effects of the atmospheric turbulence. An electrically addressed programmable nematic liquid crystal spatial light modulator (SLM) is proposed to perform this task. Wavefront correction is achieved by computing a phase shift for each pixel of the SLM, which could be a rigorous and time-consuming procedure. Hence, the goal is to obtain a stable and relatively simple approach to dynamically control the modulator elements. The phase profile of the distorted beam can be approximated using Zernike formalism or another type of wavefront polynomial, which provides efficient mapping between a large number of SLM pixels and a much smaller number of approximation coefficients. Furthermore, wavefront correction needs to be performed in real-time; hence the Simplex method by Nelder and Mead, known for fast improvement of an optimization metric, is used to adjust the approximation coefficients. The phase profile obtained from the optimization procedure is imposed on the received beam by the SLM. This facilitates the reduction of the optical path difference (OPD) present in the distorted wavefront by applying an inverse OPD, and mitigating the effects of the optical turbulence. This paper presents a basic algorithm as well as the experimental results.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 March 2006
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 6105, Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies XVIII, 61050Q (1 March 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.644931
Show Author Affiliations
Rahul M. Khandekar, SUNY, Binghamton (United States)
Vladimir V. Nikulin, SUNY, Binghamton (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6105:
Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies XVIII
G. Stephen Mecherle, Editor(s)

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