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Modelling, Measuring and Mitigating Optical Turbulence: M3T

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Sensors & Electronics Technology

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Adaptive Optics, Image, Laser Beam, Modeling, Optical Turbulence Propagation, Performance Improvement, Quality Metric, Target in the Loop


Increasing range and/or resolution of Electro-optics (EO) and laser systems is more and more challenging. Turbulence in the path between target and sensor or source degrades the performance of imaging systems, laser communications, beam delivery systems, and directed energy weapons. This can include turbulence in air and in underwater scenarios. To overcome turbulence-induced limitations, mitigation techniques can be applied. Adaptive Optics (AO) systems are more efficient for laser beam delivery systems, while data processing is more suitable for visible/IR imaging sensors. However, the higher the turbulence between target and receiver planes, the lower the effectiveness of these techniques. Understanding the turbulence and its effects through modeling and simulation aids the development of apparatus and algorithms for sensing and mitigating turbulence effects. Previous SET RTG (165 and 226) investigated the effects of turbulence on imaging and laser beams over long ranges, including, via a multi-national field trial in Quebec, Canada, collecting and processing data for verification of models and simulations. Preliminary methods were proposed and successfully tested to characterize the propagation channel. An extension of these methods for profiling the turbulence along the path and underwater scenarios will allow a better knowledge of the perturbations and their impact on system performance. To evaluate turbulence effects and mitigation techniques effectiveness, relevant performance metrics must be defined and assessed. The extension to longer range applications will require the development of new sensors more robust to strong scintillation, new adaptive optics concepts and innovative optical designs.


The objective of this ET is to prepare a field trial which will be conducted in a follow-on TG and will provide data collection for 1) Propagation channel characterization in both air and underwater; 2)System performance metrics evaluation; 3) Mitigation techniques evaluation


• Turbulence characterization: Turbulence profiling in 3D (example: non-homogenous turbulence in coastal regions; interface marine-land environment) • Performance metrics for atmospheric turbulence effects and mitigation techniques evaluation • Mitigation techniques evaluation in case of 1) laser beam delivery : New sensors, Adaptive Optics concepts, Innovative Optical designs, Effect of the target structure and surfaces on Target in the Loop beam delivery and directed energy beams 2) image processing : participation to IEEE SP Cup Challenge to evaluate emerging algorithm performance, Reflection on real-time image processing and robustness

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