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1 December 2009 Laser communication system with acousto-optic tracking and modulation: experimental study
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Laser communication systems are highly preferred for broadband applications. This technology uses higher regions of the spectrum, and offers unsurpassed throughput, information security, reduced weight and size of the components, and power savings. Unfortunately, small beam divergence requires precise positioning, which becomes very critical at high data rates. Complex motion patterns of the communicating platforms, vibrations, and atmospheric effects cause significant signal losses due to the pointing errors, beam wander, and other higher order effects. Mitigation of those effects is achieved by fast tracking, which can be successfully combined with signal modulation. In this work, we focus on the application of acousto-optic technology and its effect on communication performance. We present experimental results for a laser communication link affected by pointing distortions. These distortions are generated to emulate specific operation environments with particular spectral characteristics. The acousto-optic technology is used to build an agile tracking system combined with signal modulation in the same device to assure maximum signal reception, in spite of the harsh operational conditions. The received communication signal is recorded and statistically analyzed to calculate the bit error rates. This work presents synthesis of a tracking system and experimental results characterizing the communication performance under uncompensated pointing disturbance and with tracking.
©(2009) Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
Vladimir V. Nikulin, Rahul M. Khandekar, and Jozef Sofka "Laser communication system with acousto-optic tracking and modulation: experimental study," Optical Engineering 48(12), 125001 (1 December 2009).
Published: 1 December 2009

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