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 contribution


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
CountryUnited States

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    Arora, A., & Edwards, P. (2004). Software-Based Photon Counting Telemetry Receiver for an Infrared Communications Satellite. In D. G. Voelz, & J. C. Ricklin (Eds.), Proceedings of SPIE VOL. 5160, 5161-12A (pp. 311-318). SPIE.