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Photon-Counting Ground-based Optical Communications Detector

Mon, 11/13/2023 - 13:00
Start Date: 
2017
Programme: 
TDE
End Date: 
2023
Programme Reference: 
T212-002GS
Country: 
France
Prime Contractor: 
CEA - Commissariat a l Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives
Status: 
Closed
Objectives: 

The objective is the development of a European very high-bandwidth, single photon-counting detector for deep-space optical communications at 1550nm.

Description: 

Future missions are currently being proposed / designed with existing (or moderately inproved) Space-to-Earth communication capabilities in mind. Optical communications technology offers the potential of a dramatic increase in data-rates, specifically in the down-link of science data, thereby allowing for a substantial increase in science return.Direct detection technology using pulse position modulation (PPM) is regarded as the preferred solution for "deep space" optical links. The two primary wavelengths being considered are 1064nm and 1550nm.Among the challenges to be addressed prior to any implementation of an operational Deep-Space optical terminal is a highly sensitive, high-bandwidth optical detector. Single-photon counting detection capability is required for distances of several AU, and offers the best link efficiency even for much shorter distances (e.g. Moon). Such a detector reduces the resource (power) requirements of the on-board terminal making it an attractive alternative to its RF counter-part.The aim of this actvity is to develop such a detector based on super-conducting nano-wire technology for optical communications at 1550 nm with a bandwidth of at least 2 GHz (10 GHz goal, TBC).Critical areas to address are:- stable production process and reproducibility- electro-optical and electrical performance (QE / detection probability, false-alarm probability / dark counts, high band-width etc.)- operational and life-time considerations (operating temperature, stability, etc.)

Application Domain: 
Space Science
Technology Domain: 
12 - Ground Station Systems and Networks
Competence Domain: 
8-Ground Systems and Mission Operations
Keywords: 
15-Technologies applicable to several Cosmic Vision Missions
Initial TRL: 
TRL 2
Target TRL: 
TRL 4
Achieved TRL: 
TRL 4
Public Document: