Simulating the effects of atmospheric turbulence on optical imaging systems is an important aspect of understanding the performance of these systems. Simulations are particularly important for understanding the statistics of some adaptive-optics system performance measures, such as the mean and variance of the compensated optical transfer function, and for understanding the statistics of estimators used to reconstruct intensity distributions from turbulence-corrupted image measurements. Current methods of simulating the performance of these systems typically make use of random phase screens placed in the system pupil. Methods exist for making random draws of phase screens that have the correct spatial statistics. However, simulating temporal effects and anisoplanatism requires one or more phase screens at different distances from the aperture, possibly moving with different velocities. We describe and demonstrate a method for creating random draws of phase screens with the correct space–time statistics for arbitrary turbulence and wind-velocity profiles, which can be placed in the telescope pupil in simulations. Results are provided for both the von Kármán and the Kolmogorov turbulence spectra. We also show how to simulate anisoplanatic effects with this technique.
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