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7 October 2008 FSO tracking and auto-alignment transceiver system
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Free-space optics (FSO) technology utilizes a modulated light beam to transmit information through the atmosphere. Due to reduced size and cost, and higher data rates, FSO can be more effective than wireless communication. Although atmospheric conditions can affect FSO communication, a line-of-sight connection between FSO transceivers is a necessary condition to maintain continuous exchange of data, voice, and video information. To date, the primary concentration of mobile FSO research and development has been toward accurate alignment between two transceivers. This study introduces a fully automatic, advanced alignment system that will maintain a line of sight connection for any FSO transceiver system. A complete transceiver system includes a position-sensing detector (PSD) to receive the signal, a laser to transmit the signal, a gimbal to move the transceiver to maintain alignment, and a computer to coordinate the necessary movements during motion. The FSO system was tested for mobility by employing one gimbal as a mobile unit and establishing another as a base station. Tests were performed to establish that alignment between two transceivers could be maintained during a given period of experiments and to determine the maximum speeds tolerated by the system. Implementation of the transceiver system can be realized in many ways, including vehicle-to-base station communication or vehicle-to-vehicle communication. This study is especially promising in that it suggests such a system is able to provide high-speed data in many applications where current wireless technology may not be effective. This phenomenon, coupled with the ability to maintain an autonomously realigned connection, opens the possibility of endless applications for both military and civilian use.
© (2008) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Gabriel A. Cap, Hakki H. Refai, and James J. Sluss Jr. "FSO tracking and auto-alignment transceiver system", Proc. SPIE 7112, Unmanned/Unattended Sensors and Sensor Networks V, 711209 (7 October 2008);

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