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Proceedings Paper

Demonstration of free-space optical communication link incorporating a closed-loop tracking system for mobile platforms
Author(s): Henry J. White; David W. Gough; Richard Merry; Stephen Patrick
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Paper Abstract

This paper investigates some of the issues involved in creating viable free-space optical (FSO) communication links for mobile platforms. Within the aerospace industry much of the work to-date has been theoretical, entailing very sophisticated and expensive technology. In contrast, the work here focused on adding tracking and alignment technology to commercially available FSO equipment to create a practical technology demonstrator. The technology demonstration successfully took commercial FSO units designed for fixed static links and added a tracking system. A closed-loop tracking system to sense the infrared beam and actuate pan and tilt heads was developed. The results of a series of individual tests into the viability of the tracking and control technology are reported. The developed tracking system actively tracked each end of the link and remained continuously aligned while the mobile platform travelled a random 100m route, and also while the mobile unit rotated on the spot. The tracking system was independent of the main FSO link or the vehicle, requiring no knowledge of the absolute or relative location, speed or rotation of either end of the link.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 December 2004
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 5614, Advanced Free-Space Optical Communications Techniques and Technologies, (8 December 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.578257
Show Author Affiliations
Henry J. White, BAE Systems (United Kingdom)
David W. Gough, BAE Systems (United Kingdom)
Richard Merry, BAE Systems (United Kingdom)
Stephen Patrick, Cablefree Solutions, Ltd. (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5614:
Advanced Free-Space Optical Communications Techniques and Technologies
Monte Ross; Andrew M. Scott, Editor(s)

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