Study of the Atmospheric Turbulence in Free Space Optical Communications

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Executive Summary

In this paper the effect of atmospheric turbulence on Free Space Optical (FSO) communications is investigated experimentally by designing a turbulence simulation chamber. The distributions of bits '0' and '1' levels are measured with and without turbulence. The Bit Error Rate (BER) is then obtained from the distributions. The temperature gradient within the channel is less than 6 ?C resulting in turbulence of log irradiance variance of 0.002. The received average signal is measured and used to characterise the simulated turbulence strength. The authors then evaluated the BER with turbulence and found that from an error free link in the absence of turbulence, the BER increased significantly to about 10-4 due to the turbulence effect.

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