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6 May 2013 The application of single photon detector technique in laser time transfer for Chinese navigation satellites
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The first Chinese mission of Laser Time Transfer (LTT) between ground and Chinese Navigation Satellites was successfully implemented by Shanghai Astronomical Observatory of Chinese Academy of Sciences. Because of LTT payloads onboard the High Earth Orbiting (HEO) satellites with orbit altitude of 21,500 to 36,000 km, the photon counting technology was adopted to increase the success rate of laser signal detection on satellites. The detection chip operates in a Geiger Mode with single photon sensitivity. It has a diameter of 40 um, it is produced by Czech Technical University. In order to reduce the background noise in space, the gated mode and two separated channels with different Field Of View (FOV) were used for the detector. The improvements for the next version of the LTT detector resulted in a lower background noise and better laser detection rate. It is also been demonstrated in the onboard experiments that the photon counting detector works well after sunlight directly entered into its optical window. Finally the LTT experiments result on Chinese Navigation Satellites are present in this paper. The clock and relative frequency difference were obtained with the single shot measuring resolution of about 300ps and 30 ps precision.
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Wendong Meng, Haifeng Zhang, Zhongping Zhang, and Ivan Prochazka "The application of single photon detector technique in laser time transfer for Chinese navigation satellites", Proc. SPIE 8773, Photon Counting Applications IV; and Quantum Optics and Quantum Information Transfer and Processing, 87730E (6 May 2013);

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