Projects of Free-Space Optical Systems Group

Current projects

NanoPhot, Collaborative research centre 787

Type: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Partner: Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

This project deals with the manipulation of single photons and their introduction into optical networks. Quantum key distribution (QKD) at 1550 nm using mostly telecom components. QKD demonstrations over both fiber and free-space are part of the project.


Type: ESA

Partners: DLR Airbus-DS, LOA (Laboratoire d'optique atmosphérique, Université Lille)

The first objective of this study is ro access the optical availability, due to cloud blockage and atmospheric turbulance, between a spacecraft in a variety of near-Earth orbits and ground locations distributed worldwide. The second objective is to consolidate the system architecture by dimensioning of the space-based optical terminals and of the OGS (optical ground station) network, and to establish the achievable perfomance, e.g., link availability vs number of OGS, communications link duration vs number of OGS, downloaded data volume vs number of OGS, for each of the investigated space-to-ground optical link scenarios.


Type: ESA

Topic: Validation of turbulence mitigation techniques for high-data-rate optical links

This activity is to demonstrate reliable bidirectional optical transmission (up to 100 Gbps) through the atmosphere in a scenario representative (in terms of link attenuation and optical turbulence) of an optical feeder link between a GEO telecom satellite and an Optical Ground Station. For that purpose, this activity shall design, manufacture and test an end-to-end optical communications breadboard (OCB) representative of an optical feeder link

Past projects

Terabit Free-Space Demo

Partner: DLR

In 2016, 1.7 Tb/s were transmitted over > 10 km through the atmosphere and 2 x 1.7 Tb/s were transmitted over 400 m at HHI in eye-safe conditions.

12 m-OCA 

Type: ESA 

Partner: MT Mechatronics

The objective is to reliably establish the feasibility of a
10-12 m class single-aperture optical antenna for deep-space communications within stringent financial limits and to elaborate an advanced conceptual design as a basis for its future development.