Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


Michael C Roggemann


Turbulence affects traditional free space optical communication by causing speckle to appear in the received beam profile. This occurs due to changes in the refractive index of the atmosphere that are caused by fluctuations in temperature and pressure, resulting in an inhomogeneous medium. The Gaussian-Schell model of partial coherence has been suggested as a means of mitigating these atmospheric inhomogeneities on the transmission side.

This dissertation analyzed the Gaussian-Schell model of partial coherence by verifying the Gaussian-Schell model in the far-field, investigated the number of independent phase control screens necessary to approach the ideal Gaussian-Schell model, and showed experimentally that the Gaussian-Schell model of partial coherence is achievable in the far-field using a liquid crystal spatial light modulator. A method for optimizing the statistical properties of the Gaussian-Schell model was developed to maximize the coherence of the field while ensuring that it does not exhibit the same statistics as a fully coherent source. Finally a technique to estimate the minimum spatial resolution necessary in a spatial light modulator was developed to effectively propagate the Gaussian-Schell model through a range of atmospheric turbulence strengths.

This work showed that regardless of turbulence strength or receiver aperture, transmitting the Gaussian-Schell model of partial coherence instead of a fully coherent source will yield a reduction in the intensity fluctuations of the received field. By measuring the variance of the intensity fluctuations and the received mean, it is shown through the scintillation index that using the Gaussian-Schell model of partial coherence is a simple and straight forward method to mitigate atmospheric turbulence instead of traditional adaptive optics in free space optical communications.