We study the propagation of the two lowest-order Gaussian laser beams with different wavelengths in weak atmospheric turbulence. Using the Rytov approximation and assuming a slow detector, we calculate the longitudinal and radial components of the scintillation index for a typical free-space laser communication setup. We find the optimal configuration of the two laser beams with respect to the longitudinal scintillation index. We show that the value of the longitudinal scintillation for the optimal two-beam configuration is smaller by more than 50% compared with the value for a single lowest-order Gaussian beam with the same total power. Furthermore, the radial scintillation for the optimal two-beam system is smaller by 35%–40% compared with the radial scintillation in the single-beam case. Further insight into the reduction of intensity fluctuations is gained by analyzing the self- and cross-intensity contributions to the scintillation index.
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