17 October 2014 Assessment of laser tracking and data transfer for underwater optical communications
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Abstract
We report on an investigation into optical alignment and tracking for high bandwidth, laser-based underwater optical communication links. Link acquisition approaches (including scanning of narrow laser beams versus a wide-angle ‘beacon’ approach) for different underwater laser-based communications scenarios are discussed. An underwater laserbased tracking system was tested in a large water flume facility using water whose scattering properties resembled that of a turbid coastal or harbour region. The lasers used were state-of-the-art, temperature-controlled, high modulation bandwidth gallium nitride (GaN) devices. These operate at blue wavelengths and can achieve powers up to ~100 mW. The tracking performance and characteristics of the system were studied as the light-scattering properties of the water were increased using commercial antacid (Maalox) solution, and the results are reported here. Optical tracking is expected to be possible even in high scattering water environments, assuming better components are developed commercially; in particular, more sensitive detector arrays. High speed data transmission using underwater optical links, based on blue light sources, is also reported.
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Malcolm A. Watson, Paul M Blanchard, Chris Stace, Priya K. Bhogul, Henry J. White, Anthony E. Kelly, Scott Watson, Manousos Valyrakis, Stephen P. Najda, Lucja Marona, Piotr Perlin, "Assessment of laser tracking and data transfer for underwater optical communications", Proc. SPIE 9248, Unmanned/Unattended Sensors and Sensor Networks X, 92480T (17 October 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2073675; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2073675
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