Phase compensation instability (PCI) is a runaway process associated with the operation of a closed-loop phase-only adaptive-optics system transmitting through the atmosphere a large-diameter laser beam with a high power density. Under most conditions such an operation introduces positive feedback; if the laser power density is sufficiently high, there is the possibility of PCI-type runaway of the adaptive-optics servo. It is now known that the occurrence of PCI is inhibited by wind shear (wind-shear induced stabilization of PCI, or WISP) because at every different position along the propagation path the turbulent wind has a (slightly) different component of velocity in the plane transverse to the laser beam’s propagation direction. We develop a set of equations from which the conditions for the onset of PCI can be determined. Sample results are presented for propagation through an atmosphere with a negative exponential absorption profile—which nominally corresponds to ground-to-space propagation. The results indicate that for typical conditions (as a consequence of wind shear) one can transmit a rather substantial laser power density without encountering PCI. As an example of the application of our theory, the expected Strehl ratio for a HV<sub>5/7</sub> turbulence model is evaluated for the parameters of a nominal ground-to-space high-energy laser beam propagation system.
© 1998 Optical Society of America
(010.1080) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Active or adaptive optics
(010.1300) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Atmospheric propagation
(120.6810) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Thermal effects
(350.5030) Other areas of optics : Phase
David L. Fried and Roque Kwok-Hung Szeto, "Wind-shear induced stabilization of PCI," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 15, 1212-1226 (1998)