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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 38, Iss. 3 — Jan. 20, 1999
  • pp: 424–431

Effects of fog on the bit-error rate of a free-space laser communication system

Brian R. Strickland, Michael J. Lavan, Eric Woodbridge, and Victor Chan  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 38, Issue 3, pp. 424-431 (1999)

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Free-space laser communication (lasercom) systems are subject to performance degradation when heavy fog or smoke obscures the line of sight. The bit-error rate (BER) of a high-bandwidth (570 Mbits/s) lasercom system was correlated with the atmospheric transmission over a folded path of 2.4 km. BER’s of 10-7 were observed when the atmospheric transmission was as low as 0.25%, whereas BER’s of less than 10-10 were observed when the transmission was above 2.5%. System performance was approximately 10 dB less than calculated, with the discrepancy attributed to scintillation, multiple scattering, and absorption. Peak power of the 810-nm communications laser was 186 mW, and the beam divergence was purposely degraded to 830 µrad. These results were achieved without the use of error correction schemes or active tracking. An optimized system with narrower beam divergence and active tracking could be expected to yield significantly better performance.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(010.1300) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Atmospheric propagation
(010.1310) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Atmospheric scattering
(010.1320) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Atmospheric transmittance
(010.3310) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Laser beam transmission
(060.4510) Fiber optics and optical communications : Optical communications
(290.1090) Scattering : Aerosol and cloud effects

Original Manuscript: October 10, 1997
Revised Manuscript: April 30, 1998
Published: January 20, 1999

Brian R. Strickland, Michael J. Lavan, Eric Woodbridge, and Victor Chan, "Effects of fog on the bit-error rate of a free-space laser communication system," Appl. Opt. 38, 424-431 (1999)

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