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Free-space communication allows one to use spatial mode encoding, which is susceptible to the effects of diffraction and turbulence. Here, we discuss the optimum communication modes of a system while taking such effects into account. We construct a free-space communication system that encodes information onto the plane-wave (PW) modes of light. We study the performance of this system in the presence of atmospheric turbulence, and compare it with previous results for a system employingdoi:10.1080/09500340.2013.834084 fatcat:wxpegzdc4zbk5cvwk2jo2bxiuq