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Influence of atmospheric turbulence on states of light carrying orbital angular momentum

Optical Society of America
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We have experimentally studied the degradation of mode purity for light beams carrying orbital angular momentum (OAM) propagating through simulated atmospheric turbulence. The turbulence is modeled as a randomly varying phase aberration, which obeys statistics postulated by Kolmogorov turbulence theory. We introduce this simulated turbulence through the use of a phase-only spatial light modulator. Once the turbulence is introduced, the degradation in mode quality results in crosstalk between OAM modes. We study this crosstalk in OAM for 11 modes, showing that turbulence uniformly degrades the purity of all the modes within this range, irrespective of mode number.

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