A hybrid solar array for simultaneous electrical energy harvesting (photovoltaic effect) AND high-speed optical data communication (quantum-confined Stark effect) for free-space optical (FSO) links up to GHz rates in a single integrated device is proposed. Further, the device can be used for small satellite orbit determination via laser ranging. In addition, attitude control requirements are largely reduced which prohibited the integration of FSO links into smaller satellites in the past. The proposed FSO technology is highly modular and can be integrated into existing “large aperture” solar arrays at virtually no additional weight. This can replace and/or complement otherwise power consuming and heavy RF communication equipment. The proposed technology will also enable direct FSO communications with a small lunar lander and Earth ground control for the first time.
Free Space Optical Cubesat Communication.
Satellite Orbit Determination
Department of Defense: FSO for ground, UAS, underwater and space applications.
Internet of Things