Miniature, Light Weight, Coherent Optical Receiver System for Space Platforms (2007)

Abhay Joshi, Don Becker, Christoph Wree, and Dan Mohr
Discovery Semiconductors, Inc.
119 Silvia Street
Ewing, New Jersey, 08628, USA


We have manufactured a miniaturized, light weight, high data rate, optical coherent receiver system with weight less than 37 lbs and power consumption less than 70 W. By using a coherent heterodyne method, the bench-top receiver has achieved a link rate of 2.5 Gb/s at a Bit Error Ratio of 1e-9 with a sensitivity of -40 dBm. This receiver could be used as a critical component of a free-space optical link, where the large distances and power limitations necessitate a high sensitivity. Optical communications links provide tremendous bandwidth and can achieve data rates two orders of magnitude higher that an RF communications link. Potential mass and power savings that go with using an optical system over an RF, along with the significantly higher bandwidth and reduced susceptibility to interference make them very attractive in the further development of the space environment.

* Paper presented at Defense and Security Symposium, Orlando, Florida, USA, 2007, Proc. SPIE Vol. 6555.

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