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G&H Optical Fibre Amplifiers For Satellite Comms Very Robust

Following positive results of recent gamma radiation tests, on its optical fibre amplifiers, Gooch & Housego have proclaimed the robustness of both the design and components
Fibre optic systems are beginning to penetrate satellite payloads and photonic technology is expected to play a critical role in next generation space missions, enabling high-speed inter-satellite and satellite to ground laser communications.

An integral part of these laser communication terminals is the optical fibre amplifier which is used to boost the signal optical power and enable long reach in free-space. Gooch & Housego (G&H) company Constelex and the G&H (Torquay, UK) based Systems Technology Group (STG) is focused on the design and development of next generation space photonics components and systems, including optical fibre amplifiers.

These amplifiers are applicable to satellite laser communications, within the Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) program of the European Space Agency (ESA).

Optical amplifiers are built with high-reliability G&H active and passive fibre optic components. Modules with the optical circuit design and device specifications follow future mission requirements provided by satellite system vendors.

Gamma radiation tests on the optical fibre amplifiers were carried out in March by G&H to assess their performance in space conditions and under total irradiation doses found in Low-Earth and Geostationary orbit satellites.

The radiation results verified the robustness of the design and the components used, as minimal degradation was observed and the performance characteristics of the amplifier remained within the stringent End of Life specifications.

G&H space erbium doped fibre amplifier (EDFA) during radiation testing

Efstratios Kehayas, Vice President, Space Photonics comments, “G&H continues to push the performance envelope of photonics and now works towards the design and development of low noise pre-amplifiers as well as high power amplifier devices for use in long range inter-satellite laser communication links."

G&H’s STG, founded in early 2013 has a remit to design, develop and prototype systems-level products. The objective is to build a multi-disciplinary team with expertise in mechanical, electronic and software design and to integrate these technologies with G&H’s expertise in photonics and fibre optics.

The STG is accelerating G&H’s move up the value chain by providing a strong pipeline of component and sub-systems development, and offering customers a complete system design, development and manufacturing service. In addition to developing erbium doped fibre (EDFA) systems for satellite communication, the STG is currently focused on innovative Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) fibre systems for medical imaging.

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