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Proceedings Paper

Integrated approach to airborne laser communication
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Paper Abstract

Lasers offer tremendous advantages over RF communication systems in bandwidth and security, due to their ultrahigh frequency and narrow spatial beamwidth. Unfortunately, atmospheric turbulence causes severe received power variations and significant bit error rates (BERs) in free-space optical communication (FSOC). Airborne optical communication systems require special considerations in size, complexity, power, and weight. We alleviate the deleterious effects of turbulence by integrating multiple techniques into an on/off keying direct detection system. Wave optics simulations show a combination of transmitter diversity, receiver and transmitter trackers, and adaptive thresholding significantly reduces the BER in air-to-air FSOC (up to 13 dB). Two transmitters alone provide a significant BER improvement over one transmitter, especially for the strong turbulence regime with up to a 9 dB improvement. Two beams also provide a reduction in fade length, indicating they will probably provide even greater improvement with interleaving and forward error correction coding.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 October 2008
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7108, Optics in Atmospheric Propagation and Adaptive Systems XI, 71080F (9 October 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.799877
Show Author Affiliations
James A. Louthain, Air Force Institute of Technology (United States)
Jason D. Schmidt, Air Force Institute of Technology (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7108:
Optics in Atmospheric Propagation and Adaptive Systems XI
Anton Kohnle; Karin Stein; John D. Gonglewski, Editor(s)

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