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Optical beam tracking based on nonlinear lens mechanism
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Paper Abstract

Optical free-space communications involving moving parties require precise beam pointing and mutual tracking of communicating transceivers. The existing variety of tracking techniques is still the major limiting factor in free-space laser communications. Here we propose a technique for optical beam tracking and shaping that utilize nonlinear optical properties of materials. In our proof-of-concept experiment a thin layer of a nematic liquid crystal (NLC) with high thermal nonlinearity was used to produce a thermal lens induced by the incoming optical beam. That beam modulated the NLC refractive index. As the transmitted optical beam passed through the same layer the beam intensity was modulated in the far field. A sharp intensity maximum was formed at the distant communicating party position proving the device's tracking capability. Numerical modeling showed very good agreement with the experiment. The technique offers - many advantages and is simple to implement.

Paper Details

Date Published: 25 September 2007
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6708, Atmospheric Optics: Models, Measurements, and Target-in-the-Loop Propagation, 67080V (25 September 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.734343
Show Author Affiliations
Alexander S. Koujelev, Canadian Space Agency (Canada)
Alexander E. Dudelzak, Canadian Space Agency (Canada)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6708:
Atmospheric Optics: Models, Measurements, and Target-in-the-Loop Propagation
Stephen M. Hammel; Alexander M. J. van Eijk; Michael T. Valley; Mikhail A. Vorontsov, Editor(s)

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