15 March 2016 Photon counting detector array algorithms for deep space optical communications
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Abstract
For deep-space optical communications systems utilizing an uplink optical beacon, a single-photon-counting detector array on the flight terminal can be used to simultaneously perform uplink tracking and communications as well as accurate downlink pointing at photon-starved (pW=m2) power levels. In this paper, we discuss concepts and algorithms for uplink signal acquisition, tracking, and parameter estimation using a photon-counting camera. Statistical models of detector output data and signal processing algorithms are presented, incorporating realistic effects such as Earth background and detector/readout blocking. Analysis and simulation results are validated against measured laboratory data using state-of-the-art commercial photon-counting detector arrays, demonstrating sub-microradian tracking errors under channel conditions representative of deep space optical links.
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Meera Srinivasan, Kenneth S. Andrews, William H. Farr, Andre Wong, "Photon counting detector array algorithms for deep space optical communications", Proc. SPIE 9739, Free-Space Laser Communication and Atmospheric Propagation XXVIII, 97390X (15 March 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2217971; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2217971
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