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12 September 2005 Performance of free-space laser communication systems as a function of the sampling rate in the tracking loop
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Laser technology plays an ever-increasing role in aerospace and communication systems and is often viewed as a technology that has the potential for providing the material base for high-bandwidth applications. Laser provides the most logical connectivity channel for mobile systems requiring high data rates, low power consumption, covert operation, and high resistance to jamming. While advancements in modern opto-electronics have resulted in small size, reliable and power efficient lasers and modulators, successful operation of any communication technology hinges upon the ability to develop an equally advanced beam steering/positioning system. In many aerospace applications, when the transmitting optical platform is placed on board of an airplane, the ability to track the target is affected by the complex high-speed maneuvers performed by the aircraft and the resident vibration of the airframe. The tracking system must assure that in spite of the relative motion of both the transmitting and receiving stations and adverse environments, such as vibration, mutual alignment of two systems will be maintained to minimize communication errors. The work presented in this paper concentrates on the development of agile beam steering systems for laser communication terminals. Acousto-optic Bragg cells are used as deflectors while feedback information is generated by a quadrant detector. The control system is synthesized using a relatively simple constant-gain controller augmented with an adaptive Kalman filter to mitigate the effects of measurement noise in the tracking system. Laboratory experiments are conducted to investigate communication performance as a function of the sampling rate in the beam position feedback.
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V. Nikulin, J. Sofka, and R. Khandekar "Performance of free-space laser communication systems as a function of the sampling rate in the tracking loop", Proc. SPIE 5892, Free-Space Laser Communications V, 589216 (12 September 2005);

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