5 September 2014 Novel space communication technology based on modulated x-ray source
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Abstract
A novel space communication method is presented in this paper based on X-ray photons. As a result of its short wavelength and great penetrability, X-ray has no attenuation for transmission in space when its photon energy is more than 10keV (λ<0.1nm). Thus a communication technology of long distance signal transmission in space can be achieved with smaller volume, lower weight and lower power. Therefore, X-ray communication (XCOM) is especially valuable to the deep space missions, which will be able to realize higher data rates, smaller SWAP than with RF and laser communications. Using X-ray photons as information carrier will not only be a good complement to laser and RF communications, but will also have unique applications when RF and laser signals are not available like the spacecraft’s re-entering to the earth. High-speed modulation and high-sensitivity detection of X-rays are two major technical issues which should be addressed in order for the X-ray communication to take place. A Grid-controlled Modulated X-ray tube (GMXT) is proposed and developed as X-ray transmitter. One or more specially designed grid electrodes are added to the traditional X-ray tube to modulate the electrons. The communication signal is coded and applied to the modulated grid electrode, and then the corresponding X-ray signals are generated and sent out. X-ray detector based on micro-channel plate(MCP) is used as communication receiver because of its high temporal resolution. An audio communication experiment system based on XCOM is setup in laboratory including the X-ray transmitter and the receiver. X-ray communication is successfully demonstrated and the communication speed reaches 64 kilobits per second in a vacuum tube of 6 meters long. As a new concept of space communication, X-ray communication will have more important scientific significance and application prospects when technologies for X-ray modulation and detection are further developed.
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Li-zhi Sheng, Bao-sheng Zhao, Yong-an Liu, "Novel space communication technology based on modulated x-ray source", Proc. SPIE 9207, Advances in X-Ray/EUV Optics and Components IX, 920716 (5 September 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2062712; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2062712
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