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Proceedings Paper

The performance of Geiger mode avalanche photo-diodes in free space laser communication links
Author(s): Thomas C. Farrell
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Paper Abstract

Geiger mode avalanche photo-diode (APD) arrays, when used as detectors in laser communication (lasercom) receivers, promise better performance at lower signal levels than APDs operated in the linear mode.

In this paper, we describe the basic operation of the Geiger mode APD array as a lasercom detector, concentrating on aspects relevant to the link design engineer (rather than, for example, describing the details of the physics of the basic device operation itself). Equations are developed that describe the effects of defocus and hold-off time on the relation between the number of photons detected by the array and the output of photo-electron counts. We show how to incorporate these equations into a link budget. The resulting predictions are validated by comparison against simulation results.

Finally, we compare the performance of linear mode APD based receivers and Geiger mode APD array based receivers. Results show the Geiger mode receivers yield better performance, in terms of probability of bit error, at lower signal levels, except on links where there is an exceptionally large amount of background noise. Under those conditions, not surprisingly, the hold-off time degrades performance.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 May 2018
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 10641, Sensors and Systems for Space Applications XI, 106410O (2 May 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2301403
Show Author Affiliations
Thomas C. Farrell, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10641:
Sensors and Systems for Space Applications XI
Khanh D. Pham; Genshe Chen, Editor(s)

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