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Proceedings Paper

A review of the information capacity of single-mode free-space optical communication
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Paper Abstract

We provide a summary of the classical information capacity of single-mode free-space optical communication for pure-loss channels. We compare the capacities afforded by structured transmitters and receivers to that of the ultimate communication capacity dictated by the quantum nature of light, and we draw the following conclusions. The ultimate capacity can be achieved with classical coherent states (i.e., ideal laser light), but the capacity-achieving receiver (measurement) is yet to be determined. In photon-starved pure-loss channels, binary phase modulation in combination with the optimal receiver is near-capacity achieving, and more importantly, it is superior to on-off keying with either the optimal receiver (as yet to be determined) or with a photon-counter. Heterodyne detection approaches the ultimate capacity at high mean photon numbers.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 February 2010
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7587, Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies XXII, 75870N (26 February 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.843542
Show Author Affiliations
Baris I. Erkmen, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Bruce E. Moision, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Kevin M. Birnbaum, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7587:
Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies XXII
Hamid Hemmati, Editor(s)

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