1 March 2006 Bit error rate optimization of an acousto-optic tracking system for free-space laser communications
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Abstract
Optical communications systems have been gaining momentum with the increasing demand for transmission bandwidth in the last several years. Optical cable based solutions have become an attractive alternative to copper based system in the most bandwidth demanding applications due to increased bandwidth and longer inter-repeater distances. The promise of similar benefits over radio communications systems is driving the research into free space laser communications. Along with increased communications bandwidth, a free space laser communications system offers lower power consumption and the possibility for covert data links due to the concentration of the energy of the laser into a narrow beam. A narrow beam, however, results in a requirement for much more accurate and agile steering, so that a data link can be maintained in a scenario of communication platforms in relative motion or in the presence of vibrations. This paper presents a laser beam tracking system employing an acousto-optic cell capable of deflecting a laser beam at a very high rate (order of tens of kHz). The tracking system is subjected to vibrations to simulate a realistic implementation, resulting in the increase of BER. The performance of the system can be significantly improved through digital control. A constant gain controller is complemented by a Kalman filter the parameters of which are optimized to achieve the lowest possible BER for a given vibrations spectrum.
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J. Sofka, V. Nikulin, "Bit error rate optimization of an acousto-optic tracking system for free-space laser communications", Proc. SPIE 6105, Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies XVIII, 61050L (1 March 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.645988; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.645988
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