FSO-based communication systems experience difficulty with receiving and separating signals arising from multiple transmitters, a capability that would facilitate implementation of MIMO systems. Current implementations require multiple, distinct optical antennas, each tracking a single user, which proves bulky and costly, especially if the transmitters are moving and must be tracked. A fiber-bundle receiver has the potential to use multiple pathways, corresponding to the individual fibers within the receiver, to capture different combinations of the incoming optical signals. If the bundle provides linear combining of the optical signals from both the individual fibers in the bundle and amongst the incoming optical signals, signal processing could extract the individual signals from the combinations. In this paper, we experimentally investigate whether the fiber-bundle receiver possesses sufficient linearity of operation to allow the separation of two signals by simple processing algorithms, for both turbulent and non-turbulent conditions. Data from two distinct sources enters a single-bundle, single field of view receiver, and a basis signal from one transmitter provides the reference for performing simple subtraction-based extraction of the unknown signal from the other transmitter. The experimental results show that the receiver does operate linearly, and that the linear operation remains sufficiently intact in the presence of turbulence to extract a recognizable copy of one signal from the other. The ability of the fiber bundle receiver to mitigate turbulence effects appears to assist in maintaining this sufficient level of linearity.
Bidirectional, high data rate, low size, weight, and power (SWaP), and low cost free space optical links are needed for space and aeronautic communication applications to send and receive large volumes of data. We are exploring design strategies for optical transceivers to reduce SWaP and cost through increased misalignment tolerance (pointing requirement reduction) and sharing the optical transmit and receive paths (imposing optical symmetry). In applications where the detector is fiber coupled, the receive fiber numerical aperture is the main driver of the pointing accuracy requirement. Increasing the numerical aperture of the receive fiber reduces the pointing requirement. In an optically symmetric design, the fibers both transmit and receive the light. Hence, increasing the receive fiber numerical aperture requires a similar increase of the transmit fiber. Unfortunately, increasing the transmit fiber numerical aperture causes instability in received power over small misalignments. Double clad fibers offer a solution. These fibers transmit from a single mode core and receive light in a larger numerical aperture. Results show that as transceiver fibers, double clad fibers have an improved misalignment tolerance and a higher stability for small changes in misalignment when compared to single mode fibers and multimode fibers. Also, double clad fibers are shown to match the performance of an asymmetrical link design with a single mode transmit fiber and a multimode receive fiber.
A 20-meter free-space optical link (FSOL) is proposed for data transmission between external ISS payload sites and the main cabin at a target rate of 10 Gbps (gigabits per second). Motion between a payload site and the main cabin is predicted to cause up to 5 cm in lateral misalignment and 0.2 degrees of angular misalignment. Due to the harsh environment of space it is advantageous to locate the optical transceivers inside the spacecraft or in a controlled environment. With the optical components and transceivers in separate locations, a fiber optic cable will be required to carry light between the two. In our past work we found that the use of large-core fibers provide an increased misalignment tolerance for such systems and could eliminate the need for active control of the optics. In that work, it was shown that a 105 μm core diameter fiber optic cable offered a viable low SWaP (size, weight, and power) solution for the ISS application; however, the effects of modal dispersion were not investigated. This paper will present bit error rate performance of the FSOL using these large-core fibers.
Free Space Optical (FSO) communication is widely recognized for its powerful features, especially when compared to other wireless technologies utilized in point-to-point communication links. Although current literature focuses primarily on point-to-point transmission, multi-user FSO systems are beginning to draw significant attention. The primary objective in a multi-user communication system is to estimate individually transmitted signals from received signals, namely Blind Source Separation (BSS). A solution to the BSS problem in an FSO multi-user communication link is proposed. A multi-point FSO system composed of two independent transmitters operating at different wavelengths and a dual path fiber bundle receiver was used. The FastICA algorithm was exploited for multi-user detection. Experimental results demonstrate that this method can separate original transmitted signals from their received mixtures. Effects of signal power, data rate, misalignment error, and turbulence severity on signal separation are also explored to define the working range for achieving best performance.