High Power Optical Amplifier

Period of Performance: 04/05/2006 - 04/09/2007


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Fibertek, Inc.
13605 Dulles Technology Drive Array
Herndon, VA 20171
Principal Investigator


One of the key components enabling inter-satellite optical communications is a high power amplifier operating within the optical C-band. This specification ensures that this amplifier is compatible with very highly reliable fiber based transponder components which have been developed for terrestrial and originally for trans-oceanic optical communications. In contrast to fiber optic communication where the typical channel power is below 1mW, ultra-long distance free space communications requires initial transmitted powers of the order of 1W. The power requirement for the next generation High-Power-Optical-Amplifier could be >1W with an operational lifetime of 14 years. This by itself is achievable with commercially available components. However, an additional more challenging requirement is survivability in space in the presence of natural and man-made radiation. The latter requires components and in particular Erbium and Erbium/Ytterbium doped fibers which are currently unavailable commercially. Fibertek and Nufern have decided to team up and propose to the Air-Force an effort identifying a path towards qualifying a High-Power Fiber Amplifier for space applications.