UBC Faculty Research and Publications

All-optical retro-modulation for free-space optical communication Born, Brandon; Hristovski, Ilija; Geoffroy-Gagnon, Simon; Holzman, Jonathan


This work presents device and system architectures for free-space optical and optical wireless communication at high data rates over multidirectional links. This is particularly important for all-optical networks, with high data rates, low latencies, and network protocol transparency, and for asymmetrical networks, with multidirectional links from one transceiver to multiple distributed transceivers. These two goals can be met by implementing a passive uplink via all-optical retro-modulation (AORM), which harnesses the optical power from an active downlink to form a passive uplink through retroreflection. The retroreflected optical power is modulated all-optically to ideally achieve terabit-per-second data rates. The proposed AORM architecture, for passive uplinks, uses high-refractive-index S-LAH79 hemispheres to realize effective retroreflection and an interior semiconductor thin film of CuO nanocrystals to realize ultrafast all-optical modulation on a timescale of approximately 770 fs. The AORM architecture is fabricated and tested, and ultimately shown to be capable of enabling multidirectional free-space optical communication with terabit-per-second aggregate data rates.

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