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Center Innovation Fund: GRC CIF

Optical Transmitter Terminal for Selective RF High Frequency Bans

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Recent improvements in multiplexing systems and tunable laser semiconductor diodes make the use of Wavelength Division Multiplexing to combine multiple frequency bands possible.

The objective of the proposal work is to investigate the highly innovative conceptual design of an optical communication selective frequency transmitter terminal that enables the selection of multiple high-frequency microwave bands (L, S, X, Ku, Ka, V, W Bands ranging from 1 GHz to 100 GHz), while still maintaining the high-data-rate transmission of more than several tens of Giga bits per second. The primary technical objective to be achieved will be a demonstration of a functional optical selective frequency transmitter terminal for multiple microwave frequencies, specifically the X and Ka frequency bands, which are presently used for NASA space communications. We will show the feasibility of transmitting multiple high-frequency bands with the wavelength-division-multiplexing (WDM) technique over a fiber optical network by utilizing a wideband electro-optic modulator and tunable laser semiconductor diode. An important technical merit of this concept, which is based on a WDM technique, is the fact that it does not need complex protocols to handle data and can thereby greatly simplify the structure of the transmitter. This configuration of a WDM system at the transmitter end only requires a few components such as a multiplexing module, electro-optic modulator, control electronics terminal, tunable laser, and telescope. At the receiver end, the terminal has an optical filter (de-multiplexer) to select the transmitted frequency. After the filter, the optical signal is converted to an electrical signal by a photodiode and amplified by a pre-amplifier.

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