Fast Speed Diffraction Limited Multi-Beam Multi-Band Transceivers For Multi-Gb/s Inter-Satellite Laser Communications

Period of Performance: 08/31/2004 - 11/30/2006

$745K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Kent Optronics, Inc.
275 Martinel Dr. Suite W
Kent, OH 44240
Principal Investigator

Abstract

This SBIR Phase II proposal proposes to develop multi-beam multi-band optical transceivers for the inter-satellite wireless communication network involving one master beacon on Geosynchronous orbit and five flying slave beacons. The transceivers feature 1-2 G/bit data rate, +/- 10o steering field of view (FOV), 1-Rad detection FOV, less than 7 m-Rad beam width, microsecond steering speed, continuous & random pointing, and sub-m-Rad pointing accuracy. Other advantages include excellent thermal stability, improved mechanical impact resistance, lightweight, compact size, and low cost. They are capable of performing wavelength "hopping" during communication. The key components are a large aperture beam steering device (BSD) made from novel holographic liquid crystal based optical phased array (H-LCOPA) and electrically switchable color filters. In addition to military, other applications include commercial optical wireless communication, high-speed multi/hyperspectral laser RADAR, and high-speed multispectral optical correlators. This Phase II program starts with the large aperture H-LCOPA BSD development along with its fabrication and characterization. Meanwhile, liquid crystal material and fabrication procedures for the H-LCOPA will be optimized. The transceivers will be field-tested either within the military primary contractor or Kent Optronics' partner facility. Eventually, it will be implemented into the communication network for a real communication test.