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2 June 2005 Comparison of active beam steering elements and analysis of platform vibrations for various long-range FSO links
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An important consideration when deploying free-space optical (FSO) communication links over ultra long distances is the ability to actively steer the laser beam. FSO links are currently being researched as an attractive option for deep-space communication links or as a link to provide broadband communications to aircraft in-flight. In order to establish ultra long FSO links or to actively track FSO links between moving platforms, an active tracking system based on hybrid technology is essential. These hybrid systems are usually a combination of a mechanical gimbal and some array of active optical components. The presence of active optical components in a beam steering device is necessary to provide a high bandwidth while offsetting vibrations present on the mounting platform. This study compares three active beam steering elements that can be used in FSO transmitters and receivers. Performance characteristics of MEMS-based micro mirror arrays, acousto-optic modulators and steerable mirrors are analyzed and compared. A comparison of aperture size, range of motion, resolution and scanning speed is performed. Simulations in order to show the effects of vibration on various different length FSO links are run. A simulation in order to verify the ability of a fast steering mirror to offset vibration effects in a ground-to-UAV link is performed.
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Alan Harris, James J. Sluss Jr., Hazem H. Refai, and Peter G. LoPresti "Comparison of active beam steering elements and analysis of platform vibrations for various long-range FSO links", Proc. SPIE 5819, Digital Wireless Communications VII and Space Communication Technologies, (2 June 2005);

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