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1 September 2006 45 Mbps cat's eye modulating retro-reflector link over 7 Km
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Modulating retro-reflectors (MRR) allow free space optical links with no need for pointing, tracking or a laser on one end of the link. They work by coupling a passive optical retro-reflector with an optical modulator. The most common kind of MRR uses a corner cube retro-reflector. These devices must have a modulator whose active area is as large as the area of the corner cube. This limits the ability to close longer range high speed links because the large aperture need to return sufficient light implies a large modulator capacitance. To overcome this limitation we developed the concept of a cat's eye MRR. Cat's eye MRRs place the modulator in the focal plane of a lens system designed to passively retro-reflect light. Because the light focuses onto the modulator, a small, low capacitance, modulator can be used with a large optical aperture. However, the position of the focal spot varies with the angle of incidence so an array of modulators must be placed in the focal plane, In addition, to avoid having to drive all the modulator pixels, an angle of arrival sensor must be used. We discuss several cat's eye MRR systems with near diffraction limited performance and bandwidths of 45 Mbps. We also discuss a link to a cat's eye MRR over a 7 Km range.
© (2006) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
W. S. Rabinovich, R. Mahon, P. G. Goetz, L. Swingen, J. Murphy, M. Ferraro, R. Burris, M. Suite, C. I. Moore, G. C. Gilbreath, and S. Binari "45 Mbps cat's eye modulating retro-reflector link over 7 Km", Proc. SPIE 6304, Free-Space Laser Communications VI, 63040Q (1 September 2006);

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