Abstract

The PolyOculus technology produces large-area-equivalent telescopes by using fiber optics to link modules of multiple semi-autonomous, small, inexpensive, commercial-off-the-shelf telescopes. Crucially, this scalable design has construction costs that are ${\gt}\!10 \times$ lower than equivalent traditional large-area telescopes. We have developed a novel, to the best of our knowledge, photonic lantern approach for the PolyOculus fiber optic linkages that potentially offers substantial advantages over previously considered free-space optical linkages, including much higher coupling efficiencies. We have carried out the first laboratory tests of a photonic lantern prototype developed for PolyOculus, and demonstrated broadband efficiencies of ${\sim}91\%$, confirming the outstanding performance of this technology.

© 2021 Optical Society of America

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