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MIMO Free Space Optical Communications in Turbid and Turbulent Atmosphere

Zeinab Hajjarian , Jarir Fadlullah , and Mohsen Kavehrad
The Pennsylvania State University Department of Electrical Engineering, University Park, PA. 16802, USA

Abstract— Free Space Optical (FSO) communications is the only viable solution for creating a three-dimensional global communications grid of inter-connected ground and airborne nodes. The huge amount of data exchange between satellites and ground stations demands enormous capacity that cannot be provided by strictly regulated, scarce resources of the Radio Frequency (RF) spectrum. Free Space Optical (FSO) communications, on the other hand, has the potential of providing virtually unlimited bandwidth. Furthermore, due to the spatial confinement of laser beams, such links are very secure. In other words, security is guaranteed at the physical layer. However, the promised enormous data rates are only available under clear weather conditions, and atmospheric phenomena such as clouds, fog, and even turbulence can degrade the performance, dramatically. While turbid media such as clouds and aerosols cause pulse broadening in space and time, turbulence presents itself as scintillation and fading. Hence, to exploit the great potentials of FSO at its best under all weather conditions, prudent measures must be taken in the design of transmitter and receiver. More specifically, multiple transmitters and receivers can be used to combat the turbulence-induced fading and to compensate for pulse attenuation and broadening caused by scattering. In this paper, Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) transmitter and receiver designs for FSO communications are investigated and the achievable performance improvements are discussed.

Index Terms— Free Space Optical (FSO), Multi-Input Multi-Output (MIMO), Point Spread Function (PSF), Scattering, Scintillation.

Cite:Zeinab Hajjarian , Jarir Fadlullah, and Mohsen Kavehrad, "MIMO Free Space Optical Communications in Turbid and Turbulent Atmosphere," Journal of Communications, vol. 4, no.8, pp.524-532, 2009