Underwater optical communication has recently become the topic of much investigation as the demands for underwater data transmission have rapidly grown in recent years. The need for reliable, high-speed, secure underwater communication has turned increasingly to blue-light optical solutions. The blue-green visible wavelength window provides an attractive solution to the problem of underwater data transmission thanks to its low attenuation, where traditional RF solutions used in free-space communications collapse. Beginning with GaN laser diodes as the optical source, this work explores the encoding and transmission of digital data across underwater environments of varying turbidities. Given the challenges present in an underwater environment, such as the mechanical and optical turbulences that make proper alignment difficult to maintain, it is desirable to achieve extremely high data rates in order to allow the time window of alignment between the transmitter and receiver to be as small as possible. In this paper, work is done to increase underwater data rates through the use of orbital angular momentum. Results are shown for a range of data rates across a variety of channel types ranging in turbidity from that of a clear ocean to a dirty harbor.
Space division multiplexing of optical beams has recently been demonstrated for improving the bandwidth of optical communication links. This paper will explore the use of space division multiplexing utilizing blue lasers for potential undersea applications. Experimental results will be shown for optical vortices utilizing a range of charge numbers corresponding to various Orbital Angular Momentum states.