Impact of a Turbulent Ocean Surface on Laser Beam Propagation

Omar Alharbi, Tim Kane, Diane Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The roughness of the ocean surface significantly impacts air-to-sea imaging, oceanographic monitoring, and optical communication. Most current and previous methods for addressing this roughness and its impact on optical propagation are either entirely statistical or theoretical, or are ‘mixed methods’ based on a combination of statistical models and parametric-based physical models. In this paper, we performed experiments in a 50-foot-wave tank on wind-generated waves, in which we varied the wind speed to measure how the surface waves affect the laser beam propagation and develop a geometrical optical model to measure and analyze the refraction angle and slope angle of the laser beam under various environmental conditions. The study results show that the laser beam deviations/distortions and laser beam footprint size are strongly related to wind speed and laser beam incidence angle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7676
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Instrumentation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Biochemistry


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