This study evaluates the effects of beacon-wavelength mismatch on phase-compensation performance. In general,
beacon-wavelength mismatch occurs at the system level because the beacon-illuminator laser (BIL) and high-energy
laser (HEL) are often at different wavelengths. Such is the case, for example, when using an aperture sharing element to
isolate the beam-control sensor suite from the blinding nature of the HEL. With that said, this study uses the WavePlex
Toolbox in MATLAB® to model ideal spherical wave propagation through various atmospheric-turbulence conditions.
To quantify phase-compensation performance, we also model a nominal adaptive-optics (AO) system. We achieve
correction from a Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor and continuous-face-sheet deformable mirror using a least-squares
phase reconstruction algorithm in the Fried geometry and a leaky integrator control law. To this end, we plot the power
in the bucket metric as a function of BIL-HEL wavelength difference. Our initial results show that positive BIL-HEL
wavelength differences achieve better phase compensation performance compared to negative BIL-HEL wavelength
differences (i.e., red BILs outperform blue BILs). This outcome is consistent with past results.
Wireless communication systems that employ free-space optical links in place of radio/microwave technologies carry substantial benefits in terms of data throughput, network security and design efficiency. Along with these advantages comes the challenge of counteracting signal degradation caused by atmospheric turbulence in free-space environments. A fully coherent laser source experiences random phase delays along its traversing path in turbulent conditions forming a speckle pattern and lowering the received signal-to-noise ratio upon detection. Preliminary research has shown that receiver-side speckle contrast may be significantly reduced and signal-to-noise ratio increased accordingly through the use of a partially coherent light source. While dynamic diffusers and adaptive optics solutions have been proven effective, they also add expense and complexity to a system that relies on accessibility and robustness for successful implementation. A custom Hadamard diffractive matrix design is used to statically induce partial coherence in a transmitted beam to increase signal-to-noise ratio for experimental turbulence scenarios. Atmospheric phase screens are generated using an open-source software package and subsequently loaded into a spatial light modulator using nematic liquid crystals to modulate the phase.
Waveguide (WG) photonic-bridge taper modules are designed for symmetric planar coupling between silicon WGs and single-mode fibers (SMFs) to minimize photonic chip and packaging footprint requirements with improving broadband functionality. Micromachined fabrication and evaluation of polymer WG tapers utilizing high-resolution focused ion beam (FIB) milling is performed and presented. Polymer etch rates utilizing the FIB and optimal methods for milling polymer tapers are identified for three-dimensional patterning. Polymer WG tapers with low sidewall roughness are manufactured utilizing FIB milling and optically tested for fabrication loss. FIB platforms utilize a focused beam of ions (Ga+) to etch submicron patterns into substrates. Fabricating low-loss polymer WG taper prototypes with the FIB before moving on to mass-production techniques provides theoretical understanding of the polymer taper and its feasibility for connectorization devices between silicon WGs and SMFs.
Polymer waveguides (PWGs) are used within photonic interconnects as inexpensive and versatile substitutes for traditional optical fibers. The PWGs are typically aligned to silica-based optical fibers for coupling. An epoxide elastomer is then applied and cured at the interface for index matching and rigid attachment. Self-written waveguides (SWWs) are proposed as an alternative to further reduce connection insertion loss (IL) and alleviate marginal misalignment issues. Elastomer material is deposited after the initial alignment, and SWWs are formed by injecting ultraviolet (UV) light into the fiber or waveguide. The coupled UV light cures a channel between the two differing structures. A suitable cladding layer can be applied after development. Such factors as longitudinal gap distance, UV cure time, input power level, polymer material selection and choice of solvent affect the resulting SWWs. Experimental data are compared between purely index-matched samples and those with SWWs at the fiber-PWG interface. It is shown that < 1 dB IL per connection can be achieved by either method and results indicate lowest potential losses associated with a fine-tuned self-writing process. Successfully fabricated SWWs reduce overall processing time and enable an effectively continuous low-loss rigid interconnect.