Emulating atmospheric turbulence effects on a micro-mirror array: assessing the DMD for use with free-space-to-fibre optical connections

David M Benton*, Andrew D Ellis, Yiming Li, Zhouyi Hu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Emulated atmospheric turbulence effects constructed from a set of 22 Zernike modes have been written upon a DMD micromirror array operating as a binary amplitude spatial light modulator. Sequences of aberrated frames with controlled amounts of turbulence have been produced and can be operated at controlled rates that can exceed 1 kHz rates which can be seen in strong turbulence. In this case 400 Hz was chosen and the scintillation levels observed for the same turbulence sequence with single, few and multi-mode fibres at a receiver. Resulting scintillation levels are consistent with standard turbulence models. Increased received intensity and reduced scintillation was observed with larger core fibres and related to aberration-induced focal spot size. Correlation between the received intensity variation and the amplitude variations for individual Zernike modes demonstrates specifically the effect of atmospheric induced beam wander when focusing into a receive fibre. The DMD is thus shown to be able to generate both the necessary frequency content and range of scintillation required for atmospheric emulation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number045004
Pages (from-to)045004
JournalEngineering Research Express
Issue number4
Early online date19 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022 The Author(s). Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative
Commons Attribution 4.0 licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.

Funding Information:
The authors wish to acknowledge the financial support of the EPSRC under grant number EP/T009047/1. Yiming Li is has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 713694.


  • micromirror array
  • atmospheric turbulence
  • zernike modes
  • atmospheric emulation


Dive into the research topics of 'Emulating atmospheric turbulence effects on a micro-mirror array: assessing the DMD for use with free-space-to-fibre optical connections'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this