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Military applications that use adaptive optics (AO) often require a point source beacon at the target to measure and correct for wavefront aberrations introduced by atmospheric turbulence. However, turbulence prevents the formation of such a point beacon. The extended beacons that are created instead have finite spatial extents and exhibit varying degrees of spatial coherence. Modeling these extended beacons using a Gaussian Schell-model (GSM) form for the autocorrelation function would be a convenient approach due to the analytical tractability of Gaussian functions. We examine the validity of using such a model by evaluating the field scattered from a rough impedance surface using a full-wave computational technique called the method of moments (MoM). The MoM improves the fidelity of the analysis since it captures all the physics of the laser-target interaction, such as masking, shadowing, multiple reflections, etc. Two rough-surface targets with different roughness statistics are analyzed. The simulation results are verified with experimental bidirectional reflectance distribution function measurements. It is seen that for rough surfaces, in general, the scattered-field autocorrelation function is not of a GSM form. However, under certain conditions, modeling an extended beacon as a GSM source is legitimate. This analysis will aid in understanding the behavior of extended beacons and how they affect the overall performance of an AO system.


This is an open access article published by SPIE and distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. CC BY 3.0

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Optical Engineering