TNO & VTEC Sign TKI Contract to Design New, Dual-Function Optical Receiver to Improve Optical Communication
TNO Space and VTEC Lasers & Sensors have signed a contract to develop technology for a dual-function receiver that will improve optical communication and enable higher data rates, lower latency and wider global coverage. It will enable better communication links, support high-throughput data communications between 5G antennas and enable telecommunication satellites with data in the Tbps range among other benefits. The aim is to meet the growing demand for higher bandwidth and supplement current radio frequency systems.
At the heart of all laser communication terminals is the receiver detection sub-system. This sub-system’s data detectors receive the digital data encoded in the transmitted optical beam. The sub-system’s tip-tilt sensors optimally align the laser communication terminal’s optical beam. The more precisely the beam can reach the system’s quadrant detector, the stronger and more stable the optical connection will be. For optical laser communication, even the most minor divergence in beam accuracy can create latency or reduce data rates.
Optimising for size and strength
Together, TNO and VTEC will design a new, dual-function optical receiver that combines optical beam tracking and data communication into a single component. This will not only drastically reduce the size and weight of the receiver, but will ensure the most accurate and precise receivers possible. The technology will be a giant leap forward for the communications industry, and will bring higher bandwidth data communication within reach.
‘It is a privilege to cooperate with TNO on these disruptive technologies,’ says Jan Mink, CEO of VTEC Lasers & Sensors. ‘The new receiver will open up innovation in 5G terrestrial, satellite uplink/downlink and other airborne links to enable global improvements in the quality of life.’
Combining expertise for acceleration
Contributing its long-standing expertise, TNO will define the requirements for the new technology, design the mounting concepts, and prepare the optical testing plan. VTEC will design and build the detector and its components.
‘We are very excited about improving this key component,’ says Thomas Liebig, TNO system engineer. ‘We expect it to significantly reduce link losses, and the size and complexity of our systems. It’s very promising.’
The innovation will also help establish a strong European foothold in a market that is often dominated by other countries. ‘Most quadrant detectors are manufactured in the US or Japan,’ Thomas explains. ‘Optimizing the laser beam on these significantly smaller quad cells will establish Europe’s position as a leader in optical laser communication components.’
Proving the value
At the end of their collaboration, TNO and VTEC aim to provide proof-of-concept for the new technology, as well as a detailed description of the necessary steps to realise industrialisation of the system.
This project is co-funded by Holland High Tech, with a PPP Grant for Research and Innovation in Top Sector HTSM.
Ewa KadziolkaFunctie:Business Developer
Standplaats:Delft - Stieltjesweg
Telefoon:+31 88 866 18 01
Looking for an expert?View all experts
Satellite instrument OMI orbits Earth for 100,000th time
This week, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) reaches a milestone: 100,000 orbits of Earth. This is extra special because the monitoring instrument was originally designed for a six-year mission after its launch in 2004. OMI has since been monitoring atmospheric emissions and the ozone hole for more than 18 years, which has provided a lot of useful data. This enabled TNO, for instance, to measure the effects of stricter air quality policies in European countries.
Jan Nijenhuis appointed Knight in the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands
Jan Nijenhuis Knight has been appointed Knight in the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands. This royal appointment is an acknowledgement of his ground-breaking research in the field of opto-mechatronics. Today, Jan received the decorations that go with this award from Marja van Bijsterveldt, mayor of the city of Delft.
Norwegian satellite with SmallCAT laser communication system aboard, successfully launched
Norway's NorSat Technology Demonstrator has been successfully launched by the Norwegian Space Agency from SpaceX in California. The NorSat-TD satellite carries several payloads, including the SmallCAT laser communication system, which was developed by TNO-led consortium to enhance data transmission capabilities of small satellites using direct-to-earth laser communication. SmallCAT will be tested in orbit over the next few months by connecting with the optical ground station at a TNO location in The Hague.
TNO-led Dutch consortium to develop HemiCAT laser communication terminal
TNO will begin developing a laser communication terminal with a consortium of Dutch partners. This high-efficiency miniature demonstrator called HemiCAT will increase data transmission capabilities of small satellites via direct to earth laser communication.
FSO Instruments introduces laser satellite communications to the market
The Dutch technology developers and producers, Demcon and VDL Groep, are combining their laser satellite communication activities in FSO instruments. This is the first laser satellite communication technology company to be founded in the Netherlands and builds onto the groundbreaking technology developed by the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) in cooperation with companies, including Demcon and VDL.