23 February 2009 Hybrid microtransmitter for free-space optical spacecraft communication: design, manufacturing, and characterization
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Abstract
Optical intra-communication links are investigated by several currently operational qualification missions. Compared with RF communication systems, the optical domain obtains a wider bandwidth, enables miniaturized spacecraft and reduced power consumption. In this project, a microtransmitter is designed and manufactured for formation flying spacecraft with transmission rates of 1 Gbit/s. Simulations in Matlab and Simulink show that a BER of 10-9 can be achieved with aperture sizes of 1 cm and a transmitter output peak power of 12 mW for a distance of 10 km. The results show that the performance of the communication link decreases due to mechanical vibrations in the spacecraft together with a narrow laser beam. A dual-axis microactuator designed as a deflectable mirror has been developed for the laser beam steering where the fabrication is based on a double-sided, bulk micromachining process. The mirror actuates by joints consisting of v-grooves filled with SU-8 polymer. The deflection is controlled by integrated resistive heaters in the joints causing the polymer to expand thermally. Results show that the mirror actuates 20-30° in the temperature interval 25-250°C. Flat Fresnel lenses made of Pyrex 7740 are used to collimate the laser beam. These lenses are simulated in the Comsol software and optimized for a 670 nm red VCSEL. The lenses are manufactured using lithography and reactive ion etching. All tests are made in a normal laboratory environment, but the effect of the space environment is discussed.
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Sara Lotfi, Sara Lotfi, Kristoffer Palmer, Kristoffer Palmer, Henrik Kratz, Henrik Kratz, Greger Thornell, Greger Thornell, } "Hybrid microtransmitter for free-space optical spacecraft communication: design, manufacturing, and characterization", Proc. SPIE 7208, MOEMS and Miniaturized Systems VIII, 72080N (23 February 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.809173; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.809173
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