Software-Based Photon Counting Telemetry Receiver for an Infrared Communications Satellite

Ashish Arora, Paul Edwards

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


Single photon per bit optical communication between ground stations and low earth orbit satellites will enable the secure global distribution of cryptographic keys. The communications satellite AO-40 contains an experimental infra-red payload consisting of a low power 835 nm laser diode transmitter coupled to a small fixed orientation telescope transmitting 400 baud Manchester encoded data [1]. The received signal levels are of the order of 10 photons/bit for an effective telescope aperture of diameter 100 mm [2]. They therefore offer a means of validating models of low photon number OOK signal propagation and detection in the presence of atmospheric turbulence, an issue relevant to free-space quantum communications. This paper describes the design, testing and implementation of a photon counting receiver for AO-40 signals using a Labview software platform to display received data, error statistics, detection and correction (using cyclic redundancy check code CRCC 32), and clock synchronization [3]. Signals are acquired with a 300 mm f/6.3 Schmidt-Cassegrain tracking telescope coupled by 100 micron multimode fibre to a silicon APD photon counting module. References 1. R. Purvinskis, Use of the fixed orientation optical transmitter on AO-40, Internal Report, Centre for Advanced Telecommunications and Quantum Electronics, University of Canberra, 2001. 2. A. Arora, Oscar 40: A Complete Link Analysis, University of Canberra BE (Hons) Report, November 2001. 3. A. Arora, Optical Modulator and Demodulator for the Oscar-40 Satellite, University of Canberra BE Project Report , November 2001
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE VOL. 5160, 5161-12A
EditorsDavid G Voelz, Jennifer C Ricklin
Place of PublicationUnited States
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9780819450333
Publication statusPublished - 2004
EventSPIE, Quantum Communications and Quantum Imaging - San Diego, California, United States
Duration: 6 Aug 20038 Aug 2003


ConferenceSPIE, Quantum Communications and Quantum Imaging
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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