UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Integrated optical devices for free-space optical communications Jin, Xian


Optical wireless communication technologies for free-space optical (FSO) transmission, distribution, and reception have numerous potential benefits. Such systems offer incredibly high data communication rates (in the same way that fibre optic technologies have revolutionized long-haul Terabit/second data transmission) together with the distributive benefits of multi-user wireless networking. Communication devices for these FSO technologies are presented in this thesis. A macroscopic passive retroreflective structure is introduced first for signal retroreflection over the full 4π steradians solid angle. Modulation is demonstrated with this structure through the use of liquid crystal switching elements. The FSO device work is then extended with an active retroreflective structure incorporating corner-cube-based retro-detection with integrated and orthogonal photodiodes. An actively-controlled differential triangulation process is demonstrated with this novel device to optimize the optical channel alignment in the FSO communication system. The proposed integrated retroreflective structures are ideally-suited to bi-directional (uplink and downlink) multi-nodal systems and have potential to be extended to ultrafast (picosecond) optical modulation in future work.

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