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Proceedings Paper

Compact lightweight payload for covert datalink using a multiple quantum well modulating retroreflector on a small rotary-wing unmanned airborne vehicle
Author(s): G. Charmaine Gilbreath; William S. Rabinovich; Timothy J. Meehan; Michael J. Vilcheck; Rita Mahon; Ray Burris; Mena F. Stell; Ilene Sokolsky; John A. Vasquez; Chris S. Bovais; Kerry Cochrell; Kim C. Goins; Robin Barbehenn; D. Scott Katzer; Kiki Ikossi-Anastasiou; Marcos J. Montes
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Paper Abstract

In this paper, we describe progress in the development of the NRL Multiple Quantum Well modulating retro-reflector including a description of recent demonstrations of an infrared data link between a small rotary-wing unmanned airborne vehicle and a ground based laser interrogator using the NRL multiple quantum well modulating retro-reflector. Modulating retro-reflector 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 pointer-tracker on only one platform. The NRL modulating retro-reflector uses a semiconductor based multiple quantum well shutter capable of modulation rates up to 10 Mbps, depending on link characteristics. The technology enable the use of near-infrared frequencies, which is well known to provide covert communications immune to frequency allocation problems. The multiple quantum well modulating retro-reflector has the added advantage of being compact, lightweight, covert, and requires 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 Radio Frequency equivalent. In the described demonstration, a Mbps optical link to an unmanned aerial vehicle in flight at a range of 100-200 feet is shown. Near real-time compressed video is also demonstrated at the Mbps level.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 November 2000
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 4127, Airborne Reconnaissance XXIV, (29 November 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.408692
Show Author Affiliations
G. Charmaine Gilbreath, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
William S. Rabinovich, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Timothy J. Meehan, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Michael J. Vilcheck, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Rita Mahon, Jaycor, Inc. (United States)
Ray Burris, Research Support Instruments, Inc. (United States)
Mena F. Stell, Research Support Instruments, Inc. (United States)
Ilene Sokolsky, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
John A. Vasquez, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Chris S. Bovais, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Kerry Cochrell, ITT Industries (United States)
Kim C. Goins, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Robin Barbehenn, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
D. Scott Katzer, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Kiki Ikossi-Anastasiou, Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Marcos J. Montes, Naval Research Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4127:
Airborne Reconnaissance XXIV
Wallace G. Fishell, Editor(s)

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