Fiber Optics and Optical Communication

Free-space optical communication link across 16 kilometers over the Chesapeake Bay to a modulated retroreflector array

[+] Author Affiliations
Mark Plett

Laboratory for the Physical Sciences, 8050 Greenmead Drive, College Park, Maryland 20901

William S. Rabinovich

Naval Research Laboratory, Code 5654, 4555 Overlook Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20375

Rita Mahon

L-3 Communications Titan Group, 11955 Freedom Drive, Reston, Virginia 20190

Mike S. Ferraro

SFA, 2200 Defense Highway, Suite 405, Crofton, Maryland 21114

Peter G. Goetz

Naval Research Laboratory, Code 5654, 4555 Overlook Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20375

Christopher I. Moore

Naval Research Laboratory, Code 8123, 4555 Overlook Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20375

Wade Freeman

Smart Logic Inc., 851 Shady Drive, Vienna, Virginia 22180

Opt. Eng. 47(4), 045001 (April 17, 2008). doi:10.1117/1.2903104
History: Received September 08, 2007; Revised November 30, 2007; Accepted December 02, 2007; Published April 17, 2008
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This paper presents the results of a successful bidirectional free-space optical link across 16km to a modulated retroreflector array. The link was implemented at the Naval Research Laboratory’s Chesapeake Bay Detachment laser test range. A 6-W cw 1550-nm class 1M interrogation beam was used to illuminate an array of three modulated cat’s-eye retroreflectors located on a tower across the Chesapeake Bay on Tilghman Island. The modulated retroreflectors had a diameter of 16mm and were arranged in a triangular pattern with a spacing of 30cm. The interrogating terminal employed a 100-μrad divergence and a high-speed pointing and tracking system to maintain link alignment. Link testing occurred over 12 days in the months of September, October, and November of 2006. Topics presented in this paper include the link scenario for the 16-km free-space optical link, the link budget, and terminal designs, as well as link acquisition and performance. Link performance results presented include data transmission throughput, scintillation data, and pointing and tracking results.

© 2008 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers

Citation

Mark Plett ; William S. Rabinovich ; Rita Mahon ; Mike S. Ferraro ; Peter G. Goetz, et al.
"Free-space optical communication link across 16 kilometers over the Chesapeake Bay to a modulated retroreflector array", Opt. Eng. 47(4), 045001 (April 17, 2008). ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.2903104


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