An aberrated wavefront incident upon an optical resonator will excite higher order spatial modes in the cavity, and the spectral width and distribution of these modes are indicative of the type and magnitude of the aberration. We apply this concept to atmospheric turbulence modeled by the Kolmogorov distribution. The spectral widths of the cavity transmission spectra are demonstrated via simulations to correspond to the structure constant that characterizes the variation in the optical index of refraction and thus the turbulence strength. Such a relationship can be harnessed to build a sensor for simply and quickly assessing optical turbulence strength.
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Acknowledgment. The authors thank Drs. Joseph Peñano and Albert Ogloza for their guidance. This work was supported by the Joint Directed Energy Transition Office (DE-JTO) and the Office of Naval Research. The authors acknowledge the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI) at the University of Minnesota for providing the high-performance computing resources on which these simulations were run.
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