Abstract

The feasibility of an optical phased array antenna applicable for spaceborne laser communications was experimentally demonstrated. Heterodyne optical phase-locked loops provide for a defined phase relationship between the collimated output beams of three single-mode fibers. In the far field the beams interfere with a measured efficiency of 99%. The main lobe of the interference pattern can be moved by phase shifting the subaperture output beams. The setup permitted agile beam steering within an angular range of 1 mr and a response time of 0.7 ms. We propose an operational optical phased array antenna fed by seven lasers, featuring high transmit power and redundance.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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