Abstract

A gimbal-free wide field-of-regard (FOR) optical receiver has been built in a laboratory setting for proof-of-concept testing. Multiple datasets are presented that examine the overall FOR of the system and the receiver’s ability to track and collect a signal from a moving source. The design is not intended to compete with traditional free space optical communication systems, but rather offer an alternative design that minimizes the number and complexity of mechanical components required at the surface of a small mobile platform. The receiver is composed of a micro-lens array and hexagonal bundles of large core optical fibers that route the optical signal to remote detectors and electronics. Each fiber in the bundle collects power from a distinct solid angle of space and a piezo-electric transducer is used to translate the micro-lens array and optimize coupling into a given fiber core in the bundle. The micro-lens to fiber bundle design is scalable, modular, and can be replicated in an array to increase aperture size.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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