A new concept is described for creating artificial beacons for atmospheric-turbulence compensation. A laser tuned to the sodium D<sub>2</sub> line is used to excite resonant optical backscattering from the sodium layer in the upper atmosphere. The performance of such a system is compared with that expected from artificial beacons based on Rayleigh scattering in the lower atmosphere. It is found that sodium scattering has a more favorable scaling to large-aperture systems. Applications to the compensation of ground-based astronomical telescopes for atmospheric turbulence are described.
© 1994 Optical Society of America
W. Happer, G. J. MacDonald, C. E. Max, and F. J. Dyson, "Atmospheric-turbulence compensation by resonant optical backscattering from the sodium layer in the upper atmosphere," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 11, 263-276 (1994)