1 September 2006 An end-to-end demonstration of a receiver array based free-space photon counting communications link
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Abstract
NASA anticipates a significant demand for long-haul communications service from deep-space to Earth in the near future. To address this need, a substantial effort has been invested in developing a free-space laser communications system that can be operated at data rates that are 10-1000 times higher than current RF systems. We have built an end-to-end free-space photon counting testbed to demonstrate many of the key technologies required for a deep space optical receiver. The testbed consists of two independent receivers, each using a Geiger-mode avalanche photodiode detector array. A hardware aggregator combines the photon arrivals from the two receivers and the aggregated photon stream is decoded in real time with a hardware turbo decoder. We have demonstrated signal acquisition, clock synchronization, and error free communications at data rates up to 14 million bits per second while operating within 1 dB of the channel capacity with an efficiency of greater than 1 bit per incident photon.
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P. I. Hopman, P. I. Hopman, P. W. Boettcher, P. W. Boettcher, L. M. Candell, L. M. Candell, J. B. Glettler, J. B. Glettler, R. Shoup, R. Shoup, G. Zogbi, G. Zogbi, } "An end-to-end demonstration of a receiver array based free-space photon counting communications link", Proc. SPIE 6304, Free-Space Laser Communications VI, 63040H (1 September 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.682845; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.682845
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