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Proceedings Paper

Detector channel combining results from a high photon efficiency optical communications link test bed
Author(s): Jennifer N. Downey; Brian E. Vyhnalek; Sarah A. Tedder; Nicholas C. Lantz
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Paper Abstract

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Glenn Research Center (GRC) is developing a low cost, scalable, photon-counting receiver prototype for space-to-ground optical communications links. The receiver is being tested in a test bed that emulates photon-starved space-to-ground optical communication links. The receiver uses an array of single-pixel fiber-coupled superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors. The receiver is designed to receive the high photon efficiency serially concatenated pulse position modulation (SCPPM) waveform specified in the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) Optical Communications Coding and Synchronization Blue Book Standard. The optical receiver consists of an array of single-pixel superconducting nanowire detectors, analog phase shifters for channel alignment, digitizers for each detector channel, and digital processing of the received signal. An overview of the test bed and arrayed receiver system is given. Simulation and system characterization results are presented. The data rate increase of using a four-channel arrayed detector system over using one single pixel nanowire detector is characterized. Results indicate that a single-pixel detector is capable of receiving data at a rate of 40 Mbps and a four-channel arrayed detector system is capable of receiving data at a rate of 130 Mbps.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 March 2020
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 11272, Free-Space Laser Communications XXXII, 112720R (2 March 2020); doi: 10.1117/12.2546394
Show Author Affiliations
Jennifer N. Downey, NASA Glenn Research Ctr. (United States)
Brian E. Vyhnalek, NASA Glenn Research Ctr. (United States)
Sarah A. Tedder, NASA Glenn Research Ctr. (United States)
Nicholas C. Lantz, NASA Glenn Research Ctr. (United States)

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

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