Skip to Main Content
Free-space optical communications (FSO) propagated over a clear atmosphere suffers from irradiance fluctuation caused by small but random atmospheric temperature fluctuations. This results in decreased signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and consequently impaired performance. In this paper, the error performance of the FSO using a subcarrier intensity modulation (SIM) based on a binary phase shift keying (BPSK) scheme in a clear but turbulent atmosphere is presented. To evaluate the system error performance in turbulence regimes from weak to strong, the probability density function (pdf) of the received irradiance after traversing the atmosphere is modelled using the gamma-gamma distribution while the negative exponential distribution is used to model turbulence in the saturation region and beyond. The effect of turbulence induced irradiance fluctuation is mitigated using spatial diversity at the receiver. With reference to the single photodetector case, up to 12 dB gain in the electrical SNR is predicted with two direct detection PIN photodetectors in strong atmospheric turbulence.