Optical Propagation in a Weakly Inhomogeneous Medium.

by Harold T. Yura

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Analysis of the scattering of electromagnetic waves in a turbulent medium, as in signals from satellites, optical communications, and laser radar. A self-consistent Green's function technique is used to obtain the EM field and its corresponding intensity to second order in the index of refraction fluctuations. Using the method of RM-5697, energy conservation is satisfied: the energy removed from the average part of the field is transferred to the random fluctuating part of the field. Perturbation methods (the Rytov and Born approximations) are shown to be valid only for propagation distances less than a certain critical range. Up to that range, the field is primarily coherent, since the fluctuations are small. Beyond the critical range, the field is essentially incoherent. A statistical argument is given to obtain its intensity statistics. An approximate expression valid for all propagation distances is derived from the intensity statistics and compared with experiments. Agreement is good. 38 pp. Ref. (MW)

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