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Real-time adaptive optics testbed to investigate point-ahead angle in pre-compensation of Earth-to-GEO optical communication

: Leonhard, Nina; Berlich, René; Minardi, Stefano; Barth, Alexander; Mauch, Steffen; Mocci, Jacopo; Goy, Matthias; Appelfelder, Michael; Beckert, Erik; Reinlein, Claudia

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Optics Express 24 (2016), No.12, pp.13157-13172
ISSN: 1094-4087
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IOF ()

We explore adaptive optics (AO) pre-compensation for optical communication between Earth and geostationary (GEO) satellites in a laboratory experiment. Thus, we built a rapid control prototyping breadboard with an adjustable point-ahead angle where downlink and uplink can operate both at 1064 nm and 1550 nm wavelength. With our real-time system, beam wander resulting from artificial turbulence was reduced such that the beam hits the satellite at least 66% of the time as compared to merely 3% without correction. A seven-fold increase of the average Strehl ratio to (28 ± 15)% at 18 μrad point-ahead angle leads to a considerable reduction of the calculated fading probability. These results make AO pre-compensation a viable technique to enhance Earth-to-GEO optical communication.