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Radio Science, Volume 10, Number 1, pages 71-76, January 1975

Differential angle of arrival' Theory, evaluation, and measurement

David L. Fried
Optical Science Consultants, P.O. Box 388, Yorba Linda, Cali[ornia 92686
(Received September 26, 1974.)
The problem of measuring differential angle of arrival through two relatively small
apertures of variable separation is considered. The motivation is to evaluate the practicality
of a measurement program using such a quantity to observe atmospheric turbulence wave-
front distortion effects when one end of the link is moving and cannot be tracked precisely.
(If precise tracking were possible, then measurement of the angular resolution with a single
aperture could be used to characterize the propagation path.) Theoretical results for the
mean-square difference in angle of arrival are developed and numerical results are presented.
Comparison of expected magnitude of effects with available measurement instrument pre-
cision indicates that the experiment should be possible, but will depend on our ability to
achieve an rms single-axis angle-of-arrival measurement precision of the order of 0.1 arc
sec or better.
INTRODUCTION to track the source and any angular tracking error
We are concerned here with the problem of de- (with a component in the plane defined by the line
veloping theoretical results for the mean-square of sight and the line of separation of the two aper-
difference in angle-of-arrival of light seen through tures) will produce a phase difference. This phase
two small but finite apertures viewing the same point difference will appear to be the same as a propaga-
source. The two apertures are separated by a dis- tion-induced phase difference. Unless the tracking
tance which is several times the diameter of each is virtually perfect, the measurement results will be
aperture. We wish to calculate the magnitude of dominated by this tracking error, leading to .basically
the mean-square angle difference as a function of spurious conclusions.
the separation. In order to avoid this measurement problem and
Our interest in this problem is related to an yet get a handle on the measurement of phase dif-
experimental problem. Ideally, we would like to ferences, one's attention is then naturally directed
make measurements of the phase difference between to the possibilities offered by making angle-of-
the two apertures when viewing a monochromatic arrival measurements. The angle of arrival is basi-
point source (i.e., a laser). This would give us cally the first derivative of the phase difference and
a direct handle on measurement of the phase struc- we should be able to extract phase-difference sta-
ture function which, because of its relationship to tistics information from angle-of-arrival statistics.
the atmospheric turbulence limited imaging prob- Actually, the basic angle-of-arrival measurements
lem, is of direct interest to us. For measurements are plagued by the same tracking error problem as
of propagation paths between two points on the are the phase-difference measurements. Tracking
ground, it is a practical matter to undertake mean- error effects are potentially indistinguishable from
square phase difference measurements. However, propagation-induced angle-of-arrival fluctuations.
when the source is off the ground, as it must be However, by working with the difference in angle
if we are to be able to make measurements of prop- of arrival at two separated apertures mounted on
agation over nonhorizontal paths, making mean- the same tracking assembly, and calculating the
square phase difference measurements is not prac- mean-square value of this difference (rather than
tical. For such measurements, the receiver will have the covariance of angle of arrival at the two aper-
tures, for example), we avoid any effect due to
Copyright 1975 by the American Geophysical Union. tracking error. The tracking error is the same for
the two apertures, and its contribution drops out In order to extract the tilt angle, a, from
of the difference of angle of arrival at the two we need a scaling factor. We obtain this factor by
apertures. Hence our interest in studying the ex- noting that when 4(x) is replaced by x (or y),
pected value of the mean-square difference of angle we expect the slope to be unity, and by noting that
of arrival at two apertures as a function of the sepa- the slope associated with the phase function .4,(x)
ration of the apertures. This problem provides the should be calculated from the function (X/2,r)q(x).
theoretical framework for a practical measurement Since
of effects related to phase distortion over a non-
horizontal propagation path. f dx W(x, D)[(64/r D4)1/2X]X = (o94/64) /2 (4)
In the next section we define the measurement
problem in terms of the applicable parameters and it follows that the normalization factor is (X/2,r)
then set up the mathematical formulation of the (,rD'/64) -/. This means that the tilt angle, as-
pro,blem in a tractable form. In the sections follow- sociated with the random phase function 4,(x) over
ing that we carry out the necessary analysis to re- a circular aperture of diameter D is
duce our formulation to a two-dimensional definite
integral which can be evaluated on a digital com- a = (X/2-)(64/-94) /f D)Fti,t(x)4(x) (5)
puter, and present the computer evaluation pro-
cedure and results. The final section presents a brief The experimental setup whose results we wish to
discussion of these results and their implication in analyze concerns a pair of circular apertures each
terms of required angular measurement precision of diameter D, with their centers at x and x2.
for use of differential angle of arrival as a slant The difference of the angle-of-arrival components
path wavefront distortion measurement procedure. along the x axis, as seen through these two apertures,
can be written in accordance with (1) and (5) as
We have previously shown [Fried, 1965] that (32X/-294) f dxW(x D)x
over a circular region of diameter D, a distorted al- a,= ,
wavefront, represented by the random function .[4(x q-x)- 4(x q-x)] (6)
4(x), can be conveniently decomposed into a set
of terms each of which represents some geometric We can write the square of .m - a.2 as the product
of two integrals, and that as a double integral over
aspect of the wavefront distortion. In order to ac-
complish this decomposition, a set of orthonormal x and x'. Then by taking advantage of the fact
(two-dimensional polynomial) functions, F(x), that we can commute the processes of integration
were defined. These functions were directly related and ensemble averaging (which we denote by angle
to the Zernike polynomials. Of particular interest brackets), we see that we can write the mean-square
to us here are the two functions which are related angle-of-arrival x-component difference as
to tilt along the two orthogonal component direc- ((a- a2) 2) = (32X/-94) 2 tions in the x plane. If we denote the two com-
ponents of x by (x, y), then these two functions are ff dx dx' IV(x, D)IV(x', D)xx'([4(x q- x)
Friar(x) = (64/rD4)/:x; and (64/rD4)/:y (1)
-(x.+ x)][(x + x')- (x.+ x')]) (7)
At this point, it is convenient to make the change
of variables from x, x' to the difference and sum
variables, u, v, where
11 X-- X t
The coefficient tltit is obtained from the equation
This equation represents our basic problem formu-
f lation. In the next section, we shall turn our atten- atilt = dxIV(x, D)Ftt(x(x) (2) tion to the reduction of this formulation to a result
where the integration is over the infinite x plane which can be evaluated numerically.
with the actual region of integration limited by the
circular aperture function, W(x, D), defined by
the equation
fl, if Ixl _< (1/2)9
IV(x, D)- (3) 0, if Ixl > (1/2)D
v = (l/2)(x q- x') (9)
The ensemble average in (7) can now be written in
terms of the four product terms expressed as phase
covariances, as
(u) - (x - Xl q- u) - (x - Xl - u) q- (u)
However, by adding and subtracting twice the phase
variance and appropriately grouping terms, making
use of the fact that the structure function for a
stationary random variable is twice the difference
of variance and covariance, we can more con-
venienfiy rewrite the ensemble average in (7) in
terms of the phase-structure function, as
(1/2)(x,- X 1 + U)
+ (1/2))4(X 2 -- X 1 -- U) --
where )(u) denotes the phase-structure function for
measurements separated by a distance u.
If we introduce the vector S to represent the center-
to-center separation of the two apertures, i.e.,
S = x 2 -- Xl (10)
then we can rewrite (7) as
((at -- a.)") = (32X/r"D4)" ff au avrv
+ (1/2)uL[v - (1/2)uLW[v + (I/2)u, D]W[v
-- (1/2)u. D][(1/2)(S q- u)
+ (/2)x)(s - u) - x)(u)] ( )
In the above, the subscript x is used to denote that
only the component along the x axis is to be con-
sidered. (Note that the orientation of the x axis
relative to the orientation of the separation of the
two apertures has not been defined yet.)
If we now introduce the function K(u, D), where
g(u, D) = f dv[v + (1/2)uL[v -- (1/2)uLW[v
q- (1/2)u. DIW[v -- (1/2)u. D] (12)
then we can rewrite (11) as
((a -- a.)") = (32X/r"D4)" f duK(u, D)[(1/2)5),(S
q- u) q- (1/2),(S -- u) -- ,(u)] (13)
We now turn our attention to carrying out the two-
dimensional integral in (12).
To carry out the integral in (12) it is convenient
to represent the vector v by the two components
(p, q), where the p axis is taken to be parallel to
u. We shall let 0 denote the angle between the x axis
and u. We can then write
Iv q- (1/2)u] = p cos 0 - qsin 0 q- (1/2)u cos 0 (14)
The integration limits imposed by the two W func-
tions in (12) are such that we can now write
(D-u)/2 + [ (D/2) a_ (1o+u/2) a]
- [ (D/2) a_ (:p+u/2) a]
[p" cos" 0 -- 2pq cos 0 sin 0
q- q' sin" 0- (u/2)" cos ' 0] (15)
By regrouping and adding and subtracting various
quantities, this can be rewritten as
(D-u)/2 f_- [ (D/2) a- (V+u/2) a l X / a
g(u. D) = 2 fo dp dq [ (D/2) a_ (:p+u/2) a]
[(p q- u/2)" cos" 0 -- (p '-[- u/2)u cos" 0
-- 2(p q- u/2)q cos 0 sin 0
q- qu cos 0 sin 0 q- q" sin"0] (16)
It is convenient here to make a change of variable
so that (p + u/2) is replaced by p. With this change
of variable, we can rewrite (16) as
D/2 + [ (D/2) a_pa]
K(u, D) = 2 f av f_ dq(p" cos" O
u/2 [ (D/2) a _a ] x/a
-- pu cos 0 -- 2pq cos 0sin 0
q- qu cos 0 sin 0 q- q" sin"0) (17)
Carrying out the q integration is a trivial process.
We obtain
K(u. O) = 4 dp{p.[(D/2), __ p211/2 COS2 0
-- p[(D/2)" -- p211/2 U COS ' 0
+ (1/3)[(D/2)" -- p"]a/" sin" 0} (18)
Now if we extract a factor of (D/2) from inside
the integral in (18) and make a further change of
the variable of integration, replacing p/(D/2) by p,
we get
K(u. D) = 4(D/2) 4 dp[p"(1 -- V2) 1/2 COS 2 0
-- 2p(1 --p2)/"(u/D)cos" 0
+ (1/3)(1 -- p,)a/. sin . 0] (19)
The integrations in (19) can be carried out in terms
of the formulas given by Dwight [1957]. We can
K(u, D) -- (1/4)D((1(1/8)cos - (u/D)
q- [1 -- (u/ D)O'l/O'[-- (1/4)(u/ D) a
+ (/8)(u/D)]} cos 0
-- 211 -- (u/D)2l'/[--(1/3)(u/D) 0'
+ 1/3l(u/D) cos' 0 + 1(1/8) cos - (u/D)
q- [1 -- (u/D)"I'/[(1 / 12)(u/D) a
-- (5/24)(u/D)]} sin' 0)) (20)
This can be rewritten as
g(u, D)= (1/4)D4(((1/8)cos - (u/D)
+ [1 -- (u/D)O']'/o'{[(1/12)(u/D) a -- (5/24)(u/D)]
q- [(1/3)(u/D) a -- (1/3)(u/D)] cos' 0})) (21)
If we now combine (13) and (21 ), we obtain
((a, - a)") = (4/a')4(X/D ) f ,/8) cos-.
+ [1 - (u/D)2]/o'{[(1/12)(u/D) -- (5/24)(u/D)]
+ [(l/3)(u/D) - (1/3)(u/D)l cos' 0}))
[(1/2)53(S q- u) q- (1/2)53(S -- u) -- 53(u)]
It will simplify our results if we now make the
S = S/D (23)
and after .bringing in a factor of D -2 from outside
the integral in (22) make a change of variables, re-
placing u/D by u. This allows us to rewrite (22) as
((a, -- a,.)") = (4/r)(X/O) 0' f du(((1/8) cos-' (u)
+ (1 -- uO'f/{[(1/12)u -- (5/24)u1
q- (ua/3 -- u/3) cos O})){(1/2)[D( q- u)l
q- (1/2)[D(S -- u)] -- ,(Du)} (24)
At this point, we recall that we defined 0 as the
angle between u and the x axis. Operationally, the
x axis is defined by the fact that the component of
angle-of-arrival that we are measuring lies in the x, z
plane. We will pick this component so that the x
axis makes an angle with the aperture separation
vector S (and with ). This means that the angle
between u and is 0 q- , so that we can write
IS+ul= {[s4-ucos(0+
'-I-' [u sin (0 --I-- )]0'} ,/2
= [S ' 4- 2Su cos (0 --I-- ) q- u"] '/0' (25)
Taking note of the fact that the phase-structure func-
tion, , is dependent on only the magnitude of its
argument, we see that we can rewrite (24) as
((c, -- c)") = (4/r)(X/O)"
ao u clu{(1/8) cos-' (u)
-3- (1 -- uO')/2(ua/12- 5u/24)
q-(ua/3- u/3)cos ' 01}(((1/2){ 0[S 2
q- 2Su cos (0 q- ) q-
+ (/2)a){ DIS' -- 2Su cos (0 +
q- u2] '/0'} -- 5)(Du))) (26)
(26) is the most general expression we can write for
the mean-square angle-of-arrival difference. Its further
evaluation can be carried out numerically as soon as
we have an expression for the phase structure function,
To proceed further in our evaluation, we introduce
the approximation that the phase structure function
can be accurately represented by the wave structure
function. This allows us to write
5)(x) 6.88(x/ro) 5/a (27)
where r0 is a length representative of the magnitude
of the wavefront distortion [Fried, 1967]. If we use
this approximation in (26), we obtain
((c -- co.) ') = 3.44(4/r)4(X/D)/a(X/ro) 5/a
f0-- f01
aO u clu{(1/8) cos-' (u)
q-(1 -- uO')'/o'[(ua/12- 5u/24)
q- (ua/3 -- u/3)cos' 01}
{IS ' -+- 2Su cos (0 -+- ,) -+- u"] '/
+ [S o'-- 2Su cos (0 2u 'wa } (28)
At this point, it is appropriate to seek normalization
of our results. This is most conveniently accom-
plished by making reference to the mean-square
angle-of-arrival variation seen by a single aperture
of diameter D.
We note here that the mean-square angle-of-
arrival adds the contributions of the x tilt and the
y tilt, and so should be twice as large as either
separately. For large enough values of S, the separa-
tion of the two apertures, the tilt at the two aper-
tures should be entirely uncorrelated and ((a -
,.) ) should reduce to ((,) ) + ((,) ), i.e., to
twice the mean-square single-axis tilt at a single
aperture. Thus the two-axis mean-square ,flit,
which we intend to use to normalize ((a - ,))
is equal to the asymptotic value of ((, -.,)').
If we write
((a -- a.) ') = (a ') I(S, ) (29)
then I(S, ) should have an asymptotic value of
unity for S large enough.
The calculation of (,) can be developed directly
from the work of Fried [1965] without any great
amount of mathematical effort. If we let a and au
denote the x and y components of tilt corresponding
to a,zt defined in (2), then from Equation 7.8a of
Fried [1965], we have
((a) -[- (a) ) = 0.883[(1/4)'xD](D/ro) /s (30)
(There is a factor of (1/4)rD missing from the
right-hand side of Equations 7.8a, b, and c of
Fried [1965]. This can be traced back to a failure
to pick up a factor of rR in solving (4.4') to
obtain (4.6a, b, and c) in that paper.)
As pointed out in the discussion just after (4)
in this paper, a factor of (X/2)(,rD/64) -/ is
required to convert the at, tt coefficient to an angle-
of-arrival coefficient ,. Thus the mean-square angle-
of-arrival fluctuation for a single aperture of diam-
eter D, summing the two components, should be
= (X/2-)(64/-D)((a)' q- (a,,) ')
= 1.027(3.44/r')(X/D)'/a(X/ro) /a (31)
Comparing the coefficients in (28) and (31)
(and treating the factor of 1.027 as though it were
exactly unity), we see that I(S, ), as defined by
(29), can be written as
fO 2r fo 1
I($, ) = (16/) ' dO du u{(1/8) cos -1 (u)
+ (1 -- u2)/'[(ua/12 -- 5u/24)
q- (ua/3 -- u/3) cos ' 01}
{[$' + 25u cos (0 + ,)+ u] /
+ [$'-- 2$ucos(0+ )+ u] /-- 2u /} (32)
(29), (31), and (32) represent our basic results.
The evaluation of I(S, ) from (32) has been
carried out on a digital computer for choices of
the x axis, i.e., of the tilt direction, parallel ( = 0)
and perpendicular (,p .= ,/2) to the direction of
separation of the centers of the two apertures. These
results are listed in Table 1. (It is obvious that the
data in Table 1 do not manifest the asymptotic be-
havior, i.e., approaching unity value for large S,
that we expect. Expansion of the 5/6-power terms
in the integrand in (32) for large S makes it clear
that the approach to the asymptotic region is only
as fast as S -/. It is thus clear that for values of S
up to 10, as listed in Table 1, we should not expect
the asymptotic behavior to be manifested.) The
significance of these results in terms of the design/
feasibility of an atmospheric wavefront distortion
monitoring device based on differential angle of
arrival, as suggested in the introduction, is discussed
in the next section.
TABLE 1. Calculated values for/($, k).
$ I($, 0) I($, r/2)
1.0 o. 460 o. 228
1.5 0.545 0.320
2.0 0.593 0.382
2.5 o. 625 o. 425
3.0 o. 648 o. 458
3.5 o. 665 o. 484
4.0 o. 678 o. 504
4.5 o. 688 o. 521
5.0 o. 696 o. 535
5.5 o. 703 o. 546
6.0 0.708 0.555
6.5 o. 712 o. 564
7.0 0.717 0.573
7.5 , 0.721 0.579
8.0 0.720 0.582
8.5 o. 720 o. 585
9.0 0.719 0.586
9.5 o. 718 o. 588
10.0 0.717 0.588
Our basic interest in all of this work has been in
assessing the practicality of using mean-square dif-
ference in angle-of-arrival measurements to determine
the optical strength of turbulence along the propaga-
tion path, or more succinctly put, to determine ro.
The critical question is how much larger ((a -- a) )
is expected to be than our measurement precision.
From (29) and the fact that I($, k) has a value of the
order of 0.5, we see that the mean-square measure-
ment value, which we call the signal squared, should be
(Sig) (1.72/r)(X/ D)l/S(X/ro) '5/s (33)
Our'equipment will make measurements of single-
axis angle-of-arrival with some rms uncertainty, 80.
The mean-square variability in measurement of
((,.x -.)), which is our noise squared, is just
the sum of the error for m and for ,.. Thus we can
write for the noise,
(Noise)" 2(0)"(34)
The rms error in determination of r0, which we
denote by 8r0, can be determined from the equation
(Sig + Noise)
(1.72/71'2)(X/D)l/a[X/(ro -Jr- ro)] '5/a (35)
Solving for 8r0 from (33), (34), and (35), using
the presumption that 8r0 << r0, we find that the
rms value is
&o/ro 4.07 O/(X/ o)l/(X/ro) 5/ (36)
We see, for example, that if we work at X - 0.633
tm, use aperture diameters of D = 0.1 m, and if
ro 0.1 m (for which the rms angle-of-arrival
variation is (3.44/2)/2(X/D)/(Z/ro) 5/ = 3.74
trad), then we can achieve a measurement precision
8ro/ro 4.53 x 105 80. To get a 10% accuracy,
the rms error 80 would have to be no greater than
0.16 ,trad = 0.032 arc sec. If .80 0.1 arc sec,
then .Sro/ro would be of the order of 31%. If the
propagation path were such that ro were 0.05 rn
(for which the rms angle of arrival variation is
6.66 vrad), then we would have .Sr0/ro 3.59 x
105 .80. To get a 10% accuracy, the rms error in
80 would have to be no greater than 0.28 trad --
0.057 arc sec.
The feasibility of the experiment obviously de-
pends critically on our ability to select propagation
paths for which r0 will be reasonably small, and on
our ability to achieve a small enough value of .80.
The required angular measurement precision, i.e.,
80 0.2 vrad or better, is difficult to achieve but
not an impractical objective. Considering the dif-
ficulty of making a measurement in any other way
of wavefront distortion for a propagation path be-
tween an aircraft and the ground, we believe the
differential angle-of-arrival measurement has much
to recommend it and the instrumentation precision
requirement should be viewed as a practical matter.
Acknowledgments. The work reported here was sup-
ported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency of the Department of Defense, and was moni-
tored by D. Greenwood, RADC (OCSE), Griffiss Air
Force Base, New York 13441, under contract F30602-74-C-
0115, Job Order 26460102.
Dwight, H. B. (1957), Tables o[ Integrals and Other Mathe-
matical Data, p. 67, Macmillan, New York.
Fried, D. L. (1965), Statistics of a geometric representa-
tion of wavefront distortion, J. Opt. Soc. Amer., 55(11),
Fried, D. L. (1967), Optical heterodyne detection of an
atmospherically distorted signal wave front, Proc. IEEE,
55(1), 57-67.