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19 March 2013 13 bits per incident photon optical communications demonstration
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Minimizing the mass and power burden of a laser transceiver on a spacecraft for interplanetary optical communications links drives requires operation in a “photon starved” regime. The relevant performance metric in the photon starved regime is Photon Information Efficiency (PIE) with units of bits per photon. Measuring this performance at the detector plane of an optical communications receiver, prior art has achieved performance levels around one bit per incident photon using pulse position modulation (PPM). By combining a PPM modulator with greater than 75 dB extinction ratio with a tungsten silicide (WSi) superconducting nanowire detector with greater than 83% detection efficiency we have demonstrated an optical communications link at 13 bits per incident photon.
© (2013) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
William H. Farr, John M. Choi, and Bruce Moision "13 bits per incident photon optical communications demonstration", Proc. SPIE 8610, Free-Space Laser Communication and Atmospheric Propagation XXV, 861006 (19 March 2013);

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