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Developing A Highly Accurate Pointing System for Free Space Optical Communications

Daria Stepanova 1, Valentin Pryanichnikov 2, Sergey Khandorin 3, Andrey Kulchitsky 3,and Alexey Kuznetsov 3
1. Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Moscow 141701, Russia
2. KIAM Russian Academy of Sciences, MSTU “Stankin” and IINET RSUH, Moscow 127055, Russia
3. Microproject Ltd, Moscow 117587, Russia

Abstract—Robust and accurate pointing and tracking are primary needs for establishing an optical communication link between mobile platforms because of a small laser beam divergence and the large distances. In order to provide a stable control for this system, a fast feedback loop shall be implemented. In optical communication systems, laser spot misalignment detection is the classical method to adjust the pointing direction. However, development of a real-time visual and rapid decision maker systems for laser terminal exceptionally depends on the hardware and implementation of processing algorithms. These works present a new vision of system architecture for the laser communication terminal. Highly accurate capabilities of the pointing and tracking achieved by combining the image processing technique and its implementation of the ARM-FPGA interaction and low latency control loop which is due to the fast image processing method. The current system architecture can be used for mobile robots communications, inter-satellite optical link establishment and unmanned aerial vehicles due to its low mass and low power consumption together with highly precise pointing capabilities.

Index Terms—Free space optical communications, pointing and tracking system, mobile robots, control system architecture, laser communication, communication system control, satellite links

Cite: Daria Stepanova, Valentin Pryanichnikov, Sergey Khandorin, Andrey Kulchitsky, and Alexey Kuznetsov, “Developing A Highly Accurate Pointing System for Free Space Optical Communications,”Journal of Communications vol. 14, no. 12, pp. 1127-1133, 2019. Doi: 10.12720/jcm.14.12.1127-1133