The active illumination of a target through a turbulent medium with a monostatic transmitter–receiver results in a naturally occurring conjugate wave caused by reciprocal scattering paths that experience identical phase variations. This reciprocal path-scattering phenomenon produces an enhanced backscatter in the retroverse direction (precisely along the boresight of the pointing telescope). A dual aperture causes this intensity enhancement to take the form of Young’s interference fringes. Interference fringes produced by the reciprocal path-scattering phenomenon are temporally stable even in the presence of time-varying turbulence. Choosing the width-to-separation ratio of the dual apertures appropriately and utilizing orthogonal polarizations to suppress the time-varying common-path scattered radiation allow one to achieve interferometric sensitivity in pointing accuracy through a random medium or turbulent atmosphere. Computer simulations are compared with laboratory experimental data. This new precision pointing and tracking technique has potential applications in ground-to-space laser communications, laser power beaming to satellites, and theater missile defense scenarios.
© 1996 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: August 30, 1995
Revised Manuscript: February 7, 1996
Published: July 20, 1996
James E. Harvey, Stephen P. Reddy, and Ronald L. Phillips, "Precision pointing and tracking through random media by exploitation of the enhanced backscatter phenomenon," Appl. Opt. 35, 4220-4228 (1996)