OFC: NeoPhotonics shows ultra-narrow linewidth laser for LEO apps

Created March 7, 2022
Technologies and Products

NeoPhotonics Corporation has launched a new radiation tolerant version of its Nano ultra-pure light tuneable laser which has been designed for use in low earth orbit satellite communications applications. The company’s current Nano-ITLA laser is in high volume production for terrestrial fibre optics applications and is used by many of the leading optical networking companies in their most advanced coherent pluggable modules and high-speed embedded systems. This new laser introduces enhancements including an adaptive approach to achieve extended lifetime operation of the proven Nano laser hardware in a radiation flux environment to enable reliable operation in space without compromise to performance and stability.

NeoPhotonics says while coherent communications technology is now highly advanced, space is a hostile environment for the electronics and related hardware used in telecommunications, largely due to radiation impacts from galactic cosmic rays, high-energy particles from the sun, and particles trapped by the earth’s magnetic field. Special ‘radiation hardened’ electronic devices, which are more robust than those typically used on the ground, are often used to mitigate these issues, but they can add significantly to cost. For the lasers used in coherent communication, the control electronics are often more vulnerable to these radiation effects than the laser itself.

Multiple companies are now deploying or developing constellations of low earth orbit satellites to bring high bandwidth communications to areas not currently served by wireless infrastructure. The constellations consist of thousands of satellites which must have high bandwidth connections between them to avoid service drop-outs. The satellite-to-satellite communications links are now shifting from microwave to coherent optical technology, taking advantage of the vast increase in transmission capacity developed for terrestrial fibre optic communications, where 800Gbps is now regularly transmitted on a single wavelength.

“NeoPhotonics has been a leader in the design, development and high-volume production of ultra-narrow linewidth tuneable lasers for coherent communications over the last decade, and we are excited to offer our high performance to the exciting new application of satellite communications” said Tim Jenks, chairman and CEO of NeoPhotonics (pictured). “We have used our long experience and deep understanding of lasers technology to develop an innovative software-centric approach to radiation tolerance that speeds time to market, while maintaining performance and limiting costs,” concluded Jenks.

For more information visit www.neophotonics.com.

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This article was written
by Peter Dykes

Peter Dykes is a independent telecoms and technology journalist who has over that last 30 years written for a wide range of B2B publications and companies. A former BT engineer, he specialises in networks and associated support systems. He is currently Editor of Optical Connections.