OSA's Digital Library

Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 28, Iss. 16 — Aug. 15, 1989
  • pp: 3443–3449

Degradation of signal to noise ratio in optical free space data links due to background illumination

Walter R. Leeb  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 28, Issue 16, pp. 3443-3449 (1989)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (804 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



In free space optical data transmission systems illumination of the receiver antenna by background radiation will decrease the signal to noise ratio. We derive expressions for that degradation both for direct and for heterodyne/homodyne receivers. Examples are given for cases where the sun, the moon, the earth, and Venus illuminate earth orbiting receivers operating at wavelengths of 0.85 μm, 1.3 μm, and 10.6 μm. Direct detection receivers will typically suffer a degradation of between 5 and 15 dB at λ = 0.85 μm and λ = 1.3 μm when illuminated by the sun. Heterodyne/homodyne receivers at 10.6 μm degrade more with sun radiation (typically 4 dB) than at the smaller wavelengths (≈0.3 dB). The moon, earth, and Venus cause negligible reduction of signal to noise ratio.

© 1989 Optical Society of America

Original Manuscript: September 12, 1988
Published: August 15, 1989

Walter R. Leeb, "Degradation of signal to noise ratio in optical free space data links due to background illumination," Appl. Opt. 28, 3443-3449 (1989)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. K. Bhasin, Ed., Optical Technologies for Communication Satellite Applications, Proc. Soc. Photo-Opt. Instrum. Eng.616, (1986).
  2. K. Bhasin, G. A. Koepf, Eds., Optical Technologies for Space Communication Systems, Proc. Soc. Photo-Opt. Instrum. Eng.756, (1987).
  3. H. Lutz, G. Otrio, Eds., Optical Systems for Space Applications, Proc. Soc. Photo-Opt. Instrum. Eng.810, (1987).
  4. G. A. Koepf, D. L. Begley, Eds., Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies, Proc. Soc. Photo-Opt. Instrum. Eng.885, (1988).
  5. A preliminary account on that subject was presented by W. R. Leeb at the conference SPIE’88, Los Angeles, 1988, and was published in Ref. 4, p. 85–92.
  6. W. B. Davenport, W. L. Root, Random Signals and Noise, Chap. 12 (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1958).
  7. M. Schwarz, Information Transmission, Modulation, and Noise, Chap. 5–11 (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1985).
  8. R. H. Kingston, Detection of Optical and Infrared Radiation (Springer-Verlag, New York, 1978), Chap. 7.1.
  9. W. K. Pratt, Laser Communication Systems (Wiley, New York, 1969), Chap. 6.
  10. R. M. Gagliardi, S. Karp, Optical Communications (Wiley, New York, 1976).
  11. R. C. Ramsey, “Spectral Irradiance from Stars and Planets, Above the Atmosphere, from 0.1 to 100.0 Microns,” Appl. Opt. 1, 465–471 (1962). [CrossRef]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.


Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3
Fig. 4 Fig. 5

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited