8 December 2004 Demonstration of free-space optical communication link incorporating a closed-loop tracking system for mobile platforms
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Abstract
This paper investigates some of the issues involved in creating viable free-space optical (FSO) communication links for mobile platforms. Within the aerospace industry much of the work to-date has been theoretical, entailing very sophisticated and expensive technology. In contrast, the work here focused on adding tracking and alignment technology to commercially available FSO equipment to create a practical technology demonstrator. The technology demonstration successfully took commercial FSO units designed for fixed static links and added a tracking system. A closed-loop tracking system to sense the infrared beam and actuate pan and tilt heads was developed. The results of a series of individual tests into the viability of the tracking and control technology are reported. The developed tracking system actively tracked each end of the link and remained continuously aligned while the mobile platform travelled a random 100m route, and also while the mobile unit rotated on the spot. The tracking system was independent of the main FSO link or the vehicle, requiring no knowledge of the absolute or relative location, speed or rotation of either end of the link.
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Henry J. White, David W. Gough, Richard Merry, Stephen Patrick, "Demonstration of free-space optical communication link incorporating a closed-loop tracking system for mobile platforms", Proc. SPIE 5614, Advanced Free-Space Optical Communications Techniques and Technologies, (8 December 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.578257; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.578257
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