Mechanism for Aiming Lasers with High Precision Anti-jamming Applications
Among the critical challenges facing optical communications network developers is the security of very high bandwidth optical data links. Desired capabilities include essentially global access to multi-satellite, multi-site terminals that must be allocated and managed to insure quality of service, multi-level security, and virtual private networks, thereby necessitating authentication in an internet protocol networking environment. Therefore, apart from the degrading effects of weather, effective utilization of free-space optical communications requires the solution of two significant challenges: highly stable laser pointing to/from moving platforms and a robust authentication capability.
Current systems have used gimbaled optical components for pointing and tracking. On the other hand, small micro mirrors have much less mass and size, and lower cost than traditional bulk optical components, and such mirrors effectively provide multi-channel capabilities. Furthermore, the use of such mirrors provides the capability of scaling to large numbers of independent communications channels. The JHU/APL invention is an optical architecture that would enable secure communications via multiple narrow laser beam transmission and reception using MEMS technology in conjunction with classic post-detection signal processing logic for beacon authentication. This concept would very precisely aim multiple laser transmitter beams to reduce the chance of interception, very precisely control multiple receiver fields-of-view to reduce susceptibility to (or suppress) jamming lasers, and isolate individual beacons for authentication. The invention thus enables a more effective and robust means of securing optical links. In summary, the invention provides secure multi-channel free-space transmission and reception from a single platform; independently controllable optical channels; and selective denial of interference from adjacent channels or unintended sources (jammers).
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