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12 April 2021 Evaluation of asynchronous geiger-mode avalanche photodiode arrays for deep-space optical communications
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The NASA Psyche mission is set to explore an asteroid located between Mars and Jupiter with a launch date in 2022. Onboard the Psyche spacecraft is experimental demonstrator technology that will allow scientists to explore the capabilities of optical communications – a program called Deep Space Optical Communication (DSOC) led by Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). DSOC seeks to improve communications performance by developing a space-based Flight Laser Transceiver (FLT) and a ground-based transceiver to enable photon-efficient communications with equipment in deep space. An integral part to this FLT system is a high-efficiency photon-counting camera (PCC) that is able to detect both the 1064nm uplink/beacon laser photons and 1550nm downlink laser photons with low background noise, and is capable of withstanding the rigors of space-travel. The paper details the characterization of several asynchronous Geiger-Mode Avalanche Photodiode (GmAPD) arrays developed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory for use in the PCC- specifically evaluating the temperature dependence of background noise, photon detection efficiency at 1064nm and 1550nm wavelengths, pixel lifetime testing, and angle of acceptance measurements. The results of this characterization are used to determine the nominal conditions for the device to operate in while in flight to maintain an efficient link with the ground-based transceiver.
Conference Presentation
© (2021) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
N. Pestana, H. Clark, J. MacDonald, Z. Kranefeld, F. O'Donnell, H. Pretorius, K. McIntosh, and E. Duerr "Evaluation of asynchronous geiger-mode avalanche photodiode arrays for deep-space optical communications", Proc. SPIE 11721, Advanced Photon Counting Techniques XV, 117210Q (12 April 2021);

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