Discovery Semiconductors' multimode optical receivers enable space-to-ground laser communication links

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Discovery Semiconductors’ multimode optical receivers up to 10Gb/s are being used for space-to-ground laser communication by Germany's Tesat Spacecom, as well as the European Space Agency (ESA).

‘Using a multimode optical receiver in conjunction with a self-referencing DPSK interferometer allows for the collection of photons of up to 36 times that of a single mode fibre. These low noise, multimode optical receivers are intended to be used at data rate of 1.8Gb/s for ESA’s Geostationary to ground station laser communication links,’ commented Dr Zoran Sodnik, ESA’s head of Opto-Electronics Section.

Furthermore, Tesat Spacecom is using the balanced optical receivers as reference devices in their system test bed for Laser Communication Terminals (LCTs). The LCTs are working at 1,064nm with a 1.8Gbps coherent BPSK communication system, and the balanced receivers from Discovery Semiconductors provide a low noise, high bandwidth standard.

According to Dr Frank Heine, Tesat Spacecom’s chief scientist and head of LCT Laser System Engineering: ‘The receivers are used in Tesat’s Transportable optical ground station (T-AOGS) that is currently located in Teneriffe, Spain, where recently the first high speed  laser communication with a geostationary spacecraft (Alphasat) has been achieved.'

‘We have been working with Tesat and ESA for 12 years on multiple space related projects and are honoured to be part of their team. We have built the infrastructure and technical skill sets for over two decades, which enable us to execute these challenging projects,' commented Abhay M Joshi, president and CEO, Discovery Semiconductors.