Correction methods for underwater turbulence degraded imaging
The use of remote sensing techniques such as adaptive optics and image restoration post processing to correct for aberrations in a wavefront of light propagating through turbulent environment has become customary for many areas including astronomy, medical imaging, and industrial applications. EO imaging underwater has been mainly concentrated on overcoming scattering effects rather than dealing with underwater turbulence. However, the effects of turbulence have crucial impact over long image-transmission ranges and under extreme turbulence conditions become important over path length of a few feet. Our group has developed a program that attempts to define under which circumstances application of atmospheric remote sensing techniques could be envisioned. In our experiments we employ the NRL Rayleigh-Bénard convection tank for simulated turbulence environment at Stennis Space Center, MS. A 5m long water tank is equipped with heating and cooling plates that generate a well measured thermal gradient that in turn produces various degrees of turbulence. The image or laser beam spot can be propagated along the tank's length where it is distorted by induced turbulence. In this work we report on the experimental and theoretical findings of the ongoing program. The paper will introduce the experimental setup, the techniques used, and the measurements made as well as describe novel methods for postprocessing and correction of images degraded by underwater turbulence.