Multi-Aperture Digital Coherent Combining for Free-Space Optical Communication Receivers
MIT Lincoln Laboratory Lexington United States
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Space-to-ground optical communication systems can benefit from reducing the size, weight, and power profiles of space terminals. One way of reducing the required power-aperture product on a space platform is to implement effective, but costly, single-aperture ground terminals with large collection areas. In contrast, we present a ground terminal receiver architecture in which many small less-expensive apertures are efficiently combined to create a large effective aperture while maintaining excellent receiver sensitivity. This is accomplished via coherent detection behind each aperture followed by digitization. The digitized signals are then combined in a digital signal processing chain. Experimental results demonstrate lossless coherent combining of four lasercom signals, at power levels below 0.1 photonsbitaperture.
- Electrical and Electronic Equipment