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Performance analysis of a noncoherently combined large aperture optical heterodyne receiver

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1 Author(s)
Chen, C.-C. ; Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA, USA

The performance of a noncoherently combined, multiple-mirror heterodyne receiver is analyzed. In the absence of atmospheric turbulence, the performance of the noncoherently combined receiver is shown to be inferior to that of a monolithic, diffraction-limited receiver with equivalent aperture area. when atmospheric turbulence is taken into consideration, however, the efficiency of a monolithic aperture heterodyne receiver, is limited by the phase coherence length of the atmosphere, and generally does not improve with increasing aperture size. In contrast, the performance of a noncoherently combined system improves with an increasing number of receivers. Consequently, given a fixed collecting area, the noncoherently combined system can offer a superior performance. The performance of the noncoherently combined heterodyne receiver is studied by analyzing the combining loss of the receiver SNR (signal-to-noise ratio). It is shown that, given a constant collecting area, the performance of the combined receiver is optimized when the diameter of each of the individual receivers is on the order of the phase coherence length r0 of the atmospheric turbulence

Published in:

Communications, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:38 ,  Issue: 7 )