A lateral shearing interferometer was used to measure the slope of perturbed wave fronts after they propagated through a He–N2 mixing layer in a rectangular channel. Slope measurements were used to reconstruct the phase of the turbulence-corrupted wave front. The random phase fluctuations induced by the mixing layer were captured in a large ensemble of wave-front measurements. Phase structure functions, computed from the reconstructed phase surfaces, were stationary in first increments. A five-thirds power law is shown to fit streamwise and cross-stream slices of the structure function, analogous to the Kolmogorov model for isotropic turbulence, which describes the structure function with a single parameter. Strehl ratios were computed from the phase structure functions and compared with a measured experiment obtained from simultaneous point-spread function measurements. Two additional Strehl ratios were calculated by using classical estimates that assume statistical isotropy throughout the flow. The isotropic models are a reasonable estimate of the optical degradation only within a few centimeters of the initial mixing, where the Reynolds number is low. At higher Reynolds numbers, Strehl ratios calculated from the structure functions match the experiment much better than Strehl ratio calculations that assume isotropic flow.
© 1997 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: February 22, 1996
Revised Manuscript: August 22, 1996
Published: April 20, 1997
Patrick J. Gardner, Michael C. Roggemann, Byron M. Welsh, Rodney D. Bowersox, and Theodore E. Luke, "Comparison of measured and computed Strehl ratios for light propagated through a channel flow of a He–N2 mixing layer at high Reynolds numbers," Appl. Opt. 36, 2559-2567 (1997)