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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Space evaluation of optical modulators for microwave photonic on-board applications
Author(s): A. Le Kernec; M. Sotom; B. Bénazet; J. Barbero; L. Peñate; M. Maignan; I. Esquivias; F. Lopez; N. Karafolas

Paper Abstract

Since several years, perspectives and assets offered by photonic technologies compared with their traditional RF counterparts (mass and volume reduction, transparency to RF frequency, RF isolation), make them particularly attractive for space applications [1] and, in particular, telecommunication satellites [2]. However, the development of photonic payload concepts have concurrently risen and made the problem of the ability of optoelectronic components to withstand space environment more and more pressing. Indeed, photonic components used in such photonic payloads architectures come from terrestrial networks applications in order to benefit from research and development in this field.

This paper presents some results obtained in the frame of an ESA-funded project, carried out by Thales Alenia Space France, as prime contractor, and Alter Technology Group Spain (ATG) and Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (UPM), as subcontractors, one objective of which was to assess commercial high frequency optical intensity modulators for space use through a functional and environmental test campaign. Their potential applications in microwave photonic sub-systems of telecom satellite payloads are identified and related requirements are presented. Optical modulator technologies are reviewed and compared through, but not limited to, a specific figure of merit, taking into account two key features of these components : optical insertion loss and RF half-wave voltage. Some conclusions on these different technologies are given, on the basis of the test results, and their suitability for the targeted applications and environment is highlighted.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 November 2017
PDF: 5 pages
Proc. SPIE 10565, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2010, 105652I (20 November 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2309238
Show Author Affiliations
A. Le Kernec, Thales Alenia Space (France)
M. Sotom, Thales Alenia Space (France)
B. Bénazet, Thales Alenia Space (France)
J. Barbero, Alter Technology (Spain)
L. Peñate, Alter Technology (Spain)
M. Maignan, Thales Alenia Space (France)
I. Esquivias, Univ. Politécnica de Madrid (Spain)
F. Lopez, Univ. Politécnica de Madrid (Spain)
N. Karafolas, ESA-ESTEC (Netherlands)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10565:
International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2010
Errico Armandillo; Bruno Cugny; Nikos Karafolas, Editor(s)

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