Integrated Photonics for Satellite Laser Communication and Sensing Applications

Gooch & Housego
Academic Supervisor: 
Prof. Walter Johnstone
Dr. Craig Michie

Photonics is expected to play a key role in space applications, as fiber-optics penetrates into satellite payloads and photonic systems become integral functional parts of telecommunication, on-board signal distribution or sensing equipment. The demand for high data rates, reduced mass/volume, lower power consumption, immunity to EMI and transmission band availability in satellite applications are the main driving forces for introducing photonic technologies for communications and remote sensing. On the other hand, the advent of monolithic and hybrid integration technologies have revolutionized modern terrestrial networks through the development of new generation of small, fast and low-cost components that exploit different or combination of semiconductor material systems, such as InP, silicon and LN. Integrated photonics has the potential to disrupt the space photonics R&D roadmap, through the development and commercialization of miniaturized, cost-effective and high-performance components, suitable for realizing key functions such as generation amplification, routing and reception of light signals within a satellite, UAV or aerial platform. The current project will focus on the design of integrated systems for communications and sensing with the view to fabricate photonic chips and develop prototype modules applicable to satellite laser communications.