Adaptive Optics for Laser Communication: iLaunch Trailblazer

The successful applicant will join the ANU team and will assist with the development of instrumentation for the optical communication team

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This project is open for Bachelor, Honours and PhD students.
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Research themes

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Contact name
Francis Bennet

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The RSAA Laser Communication Program is a translational research program using cutting edge optics and photonics translated from astronomy for space and communication applications. We use adaptive optics, quantum communication, high power laser systems, single photon detectors, and advanced telescope systems to research the next generation of communication technology. The program has several large funded projects with opportunities for students to get involved and participate in cutting edge and exciting space research. These along with smaller projects are exciting ways for students to be involved in a fast-paced and dedicated research team.

The Laser Communication projects are:

  • A Deep-Space and Lunar Optical Communication System: Optical ground station to support Artemis II

  • Adaptive Optics for Laser Communication: iLaunch Trailblazer

  • Laser Communications Site Testing and Analysis

The iLaunch trailblazer program is a four year funded program to enhance the technology readiness level of space research in Australia. The Laser Communication project within this program has three areas of active research:

  • Developing an optical ground station for quantum communication from a satellite

  • Demonstrating a new kind of detector system for high-speed optical communication with satellites

  • Developing a network of optical ground stations to enhance connectivity across Australia and New Zealand

Activities in this project will include:

  • The development of an adaptive optics system to receive quantum communication from a satellite. This system will need to interface an advanced adaptive optics system to a detector capable of receiving and decoding the quantum signal with the telescope and systems required to track the satellite.

  • Demonstrating a detector based on a cutting edge technology will be tested on-sky for both signal acquisition and high-speed optical communication. The detector will need an optical design to interface it with the telescope, as well as electronics to read out and process the signals from the acquisition and communication systems.

  • Development of a network of optical ground stations. This will include analysis of site suitability including atmospheric characteristics, cloud cover, local infrastructure, network architecture, and other practicalities required for implementation.

  • Working on the ANU Optical Ground Station to test its tracking capabilities and enhance our software for operations



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Instrumentation Scientist

Instrumentation Scientist

Instrument scientist
Associate Dean, College of Science