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MOEMS-based Lens-Assisted Beam Steering for Free-Space Optical Communications
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  • Daniel Goldman ,
  • Paul Serra ,
  • Shreeyam Kacker ,
  • Lucas Benney ,
  • Daniel Vresilovic ,
  • Steven Spector ,
  • Kerri Cahoy ,
  • Jordan Wachs
Daniel Goldman
The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Paul Serra
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Shreeyam Kacker
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Lucas Benney
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Daniel Vresilovic
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Steven Spector
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Kerri Cahoy
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Jordan Wachs
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Free-space optical communication (FSOC) systems require precise pointing, acquisition, and tracking to send and receive optical beams for effective operation. In a lens-assisted beam steering (LABS) system, light is steered by controlling the emission location in a focal plane. The emitted light is directed into the scene by a lens, like a camera but operating in reverse. In this paper, we demonstrate a novel free-space optical communication link using a micro-opto-electro-mechanical-system (MOEMS) based photonic integrated circuit (PIC) for LABS between multiple receive locations. The MOEMS PIC operates via selective electrical actuation of an array of small grating switches (30 μm x 30 μm footprint, 100 μm pitch). Data rates up to 10 Gbps and a 3 dB optical bandwidth covering the infrared C and L bands (1530 nm to 1625 nm) are measured over a 1 m free-space link distance. Eye diagrams indicate a quality communication link for data rates up to 10 Gbps and bit-error-rates < 10-10 are measured for on-off keying (OOK) modulation. A measured beam profile is propagated into the far-field via simulation, and used to calculate link budgets for example CubeSat crosslink and downlink scenarios. Link budget calculations indicate potential > 1 Gbps CubeSat FSOC crosslinks for link lengths > 1000 km and 1 W of input optical power, using identical 90 mm transmit and receive apertures and a commercially-available fiber-coupled InGaAs avalanche photodiode (APD) receive detector.
2023Published in Journal of Lightwave Technology on pages 1-16. 10.1109/JLT.2023.3235937