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Proceedings Paper

Measurements of few-mode fiber photonic lanterns in emulated atmospheric conditions for a low earth orbit space to ground optical communication receiver application
Author(s): Sarah A. Tedder; Bertram Floyd; Yousef K. Chahine; Benjamin Croop; Brian E. Vyhnalek; Christopher Betters; Sergio G. Leon-Saval
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Paper Abstract

Photonic lanterns are being evaluated as a component of a scalable photon counting real-time optical ground receiver for space-to-ground photon-starved communication applications. The function of the lantern as a component of a receiver is to efficiently couple and deliver light from the atmospherically distorted focal spot formed behind a telescope to multiple small-core fiber-coupled single-element super-conducting nanowire detectors. This architecture solution is being compared to a multimode fiber coupled to a multi-element detector array. This paper presents a set of measurements that begins this comparison. This first set of measurements are a comparison of the throughput coupling loss at emulated atmospheric conditions for the case of a 60 cm diameter telescope receiving light from a low earth orbit satellite. The atmospheric conditions are numerically simulated at a range of turbulence levels using a beam propagation method and are physically emulated with a spatial light modulator. The results show that for the same number of output legs as the single-mode fiber lantern, the few-mode fiber lantern increases the power throughput up to 3.92 dB at the worst emulated atmospheric conditions tested of D/r0=8.6. Furthermore, the coupling loss of the few-mode fiber lantern approaches the capability of a 30 micron graded index multimode fiber chosen for coupling to a 16 element detector array.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 March 2020
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 11272, Free-Space Laser Communications XXXII, 112720U (2 March 2020); doi: 10.1117/12.2542848
Show Author Affiliations
Sarah A. Tedder, NASA Glenn Research Ctr. (United States)
Bertram Floyd, Hx5 Sierra (United States)
Yousef K. Chahine, NASA Glenn Research Ctr. (United States)
Benjamin Croop, CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics, Univ. of Central Florida (United States)
Brian E. Vyhnalek, NASA Glenn Research Ctr. (United States)
Christopher Betters, The Univ. of Sydney (Australia)
Sergio G. Leon-Saval, The Univ. of Sydney (Australia)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11272:
Free-Space Laser Communications XXXII
Hamid Hemmati; Don M. Boroson, Editor(s)

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