Discovery Semiconductors’ multimode receivers enable space-to-ground laser communications

Created May 25, 2016
Applications and Research

Discovery Semiconductors’ multimode optical receivers up to 10 Gb/s are becoming increasingly used for Space-to-Ground Laser Communication Links by Tesat Spacecom, of Germany, as well as by the European Space Agency (ESA).

“Using a multimode optical receiver in conjunction with a self-referencing DPSK interferometer allows for the collection of photons, of up to 36 times that of a single mode fibre. These low noise, multimode optical receivers are intended to be used at data rate of 1.8 Gb/s for ESA’s Geostationary to ground station laser communication links,” said Dr. Zoran Sodnik, ESA’s Head of Opto-Electronics Section.

Furthermore, Tesat Spacecom uses the balanced optical receivers as reference devices in their system test bed for Laser Communication Terminals. These LCTs operate at 1064 nm with a 1.8 Gbps coherent BPSK communication system, and the balanced receivers from Discovery Semiconductors provide a low noise, high bandwidth standard.

According to Dr. Frank Heine, Tesat Spacecom’s Chief Scientist and Head of LCT Laser System Engineering, “The receivers are used in Tesat’s Transportable optical ground station (T-AOGS) that is currently located in Tenerife, Spain, where recently the first high-speed laser communication with a geostationary spacecraft (Alphasat) has been achieved.”

Abhay Joshi, President and CEO at Discovery Semiconductors,commented, “We have been working with Tesat and ESA for 12 years on multiple space related projects and are honoured to be part of their team. We have built the infrastructure and technical skill sets for over two decades, which enable us to execute these challenging projects.”

A paper on the Tesat Transportable Adaptive Optical Ground Station, by K. Saucke et al, was first presented at SPIE Photonics West 2016, in the Free-Space Laser Communication and Atmospheric Propagation XXVIII conference.

Discovery Semiconductors, Inc., established in 1993, is an industry leader in manufacturing ultrafast, broadband (800nm-2200nm) high optical power handling InGaAs photodetectors, optical receivers, balanced optical receivers, PAM4 linear optical receivers, Coherent receivers and wideband RF amplifiers for 10G through 400G applications. In addition, Discovery offers its complete photodetector product line in its plug-and-play Lab Buddy instrumentation platform.


Matthew Peach


This article was written
by Matthew Peach

Matthew Peach is a freelance technology journalist specialising in photonics and communications. He has previously worked for several business-to-business publishers, editing a range of high-tech magazines and websites.