Wave-optics Investigation of Turbulence Thermal Blooming Interaction: I. Using Steady-state Simulations

Mark F. Spencer

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Part I of this two-part paper uses wave-optics simulations to look at the Monte Carlo averages associated with turbulence and steady-state thermal blooming (SSTB). The goal is to investigate turbulence thermal blooming interaction (TTBI). At wavelengths near 1 μm, TTBI increases the amount of constructive and destructive interference (i.e., scintillation) that results from high-power laser beam propagation through distributed-volume atmospheric aberrations. As a result, we use the spherical-wave Rytov number and the distortion number to gauge the strength of the simulated turbulence and SSTB. These parameters simplify greatly given propagation paths with constant atmospheric conditions. In addition, we use the log-amplitude variance and the branch-point density to quantify the effects of TTBI. These metrics result from a point-source beacon being backpropagated from the target plane to the source plane through the simulated turbulence and SSTB. Overall, the results show that the log-amplitude variance and branch-point density increase significantly due to TTBI. This outcome poses a major problem for beam-control systems that perform phase compensation.