Infrared Data Link using a Multiple Quantum Well Modulating Retro-reflector on a Small Rotary-Wing UAV
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC
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This paper describes a recent demonstration of an optical data link between a small rotary-wing unmanned airborne vehicle UAV and a ground based laser interrogator using the NRL multiple quantum well modulating retro-reflector MRR. MRR systems couple an optical retro-reflector, such as a corner-cube, and an electro-optic shutter to allow two-way optical communications using a laser, telescope and pointertracker on only one platform. The NRL MRR uses a semiconductor based multiple quantum well MQW shutter capable of modulation rates above 1 Mbps. The MQW modulating retro-reflector has the advantages of being compact, lightweight, and very low power. Up to an order of magnitude in onboard power can be saved using a small array of these devices instead of the RF equivalent. In the demonstration a 400 Kbps optical link to a flying UAV at a range of 100-200 feet was shown. The device itself is capable of over 6 Mbps.
- Pilotless Aircraft
- Quantum Theory and Relativity