Coherent Free-Space Optical Communications

P1-01

P1-18

Project Leader: Dr Sascha Schediwy UWA

Participants: University of Western Australia, Defence Science and Technology Group, University of South Australia, Thales Australia.

The project overall plans to demonstrate a system that will enable optical fibre-like data transfer rates for atmospheric free-space communication links, including over 10 km+ ground-to-ground links, as well as space-to-ground links.  

P1-01: The precursor to this project involved the initial development and deployment of a phase-stabilised system, finally demonstrating the feasibility of coherent free-space optical communications over a horizontal 2km link. 

P1-18: Following Phase 1, in this next stage of the project we will further develop an advanced optical communications system that has been shown to support optical fibre-like data transfer rates over atmospheric free-space communication links.

This communication system is based on the combination of optical terminals using active optics technology, and a free-space coherent phase-stabilisation system. In the precursor to this project, these systems were successfully demonstrated over 2.4 km and 10 km horizontal free-space links.

This research project will focus on deploying this technology and thereby demonstrating optical fibre-like data transfer rates for free-space optical communications over a series of vertical links through Earth’s turbulent atmosphere, starting with low-altitude targets, progressing to light aircraft and stratospheric vehicles.