Sunday, August 19, 2018

MIT: Lincoln Lab looks to narrow-beam lasers for underwater comms

Researchers at Lincoln Laboratory are investigating laser technology for underwater communications. The work builds on the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) project conducted with NASA, which successfully transmitted data from a satellite orbiting the moon to Earth at 622 Mbps.

Researchers are using narrow-beam optics to help overcome the significant absorption and scattering effects of water.

This technique contrasts with the more common undersea communication approach that sends the transmit beam over a wide angle but reduces the achievable range and data rate. “By demonstrating that we can successfully acquire and track narrow optical beams between two mobile vehicles, we have taken an important step toward proving the feasibility of the laboratory’s approach to achieving undersea communication that is 10,000 times more efficient than other modern approaches,” says Scott Hamilton, leader of the Optical Communications Technology Group, which is directing this R&D into undersea communication.