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Measurements of few-mode fiber photonic lanterns in emulated atmospheric conditions for a low earth orbit space to ground optical communication receiver applicationPhotonic lanterns are being evaluated as a component of a scalable photon counting real-time optical ground receiver for space-to-ground photon-starved communication applications. The function of the lantern as a component of a receiver is to efficiently couple and deliver light from the atmospherically distorted focal spot formed behind a telescope to multiple small-core fiber-coupled single-element super-conducting nanowire detectors. This architecture solution is being compared to a multimode fiber coupled to a multi-element detector array. This paper presents a set of measurements that begins this comparison. This first set of measurements are a comparison of the throughput coupling loss at emulated atmospheric conditions for the case of a 60 cm diameter telescope receiving light from a low earth orbit satellite. The atmospheric conditions are numerically simulated at a range of turbulence levels using a beam propagation method and are physically emulated with a spatial light modulator. The results show that for the same number of output legs as the single-mode fiber lantern, the few-mode fiber lantern increases the power throughput up to 3.92 dB at the worst emulated atmospheric conditions tested of D/r(sub 0)=8.6. Furthermore, the coupling loss of the few-mode fiber lantern approaches the capability of a 30 micron graded index multimode fiber chosen for coupling to a 16 element detector array.

Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Tedder, Sarah A.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Floyd, Bertram
(HX5 Sierra, LLC Cleveland, OH, United States)
Chahine, Yousef K.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Croop, Benjamin
(University of Central Florida Orlando, FL, United States)
Vyhnalek, Brian E.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Betters, Christopher
(University of Sydney Sydney, Australia)
Leon-Saval, Sergio G.
(University of Sydney Sydney, Australia)
Date Acquired
February 20, 2020
Publication Date
February 2, 2020
Subject Category
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: SPIE. Photonics West
Location: San Francisco, CA
Country: United States
Start Date: February 1, 2020
End Date: February 6, 2020
Sponsors: International Society for Optical Engineering
Funding Number(s)
WBS: 405034.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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