Adaptive optics for free-space optical communications

The Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics have been developing adaptive optics (AO) for free-space optical communications. A compact demonstrator system has been designed, built and tested over short horizontal propagation distances. The next step is to fully characterise the AO system and further develop techniques and methods of applying AO to laser communications. 

The successful applicant will join the ANU team and will assist with the development of AO for laser communications. The AO for Free-Space Optical Communications system (AOFSOC) may be used to perform experiments and measurements of the AO system performance, to assist in the further development and characterisation of AO specifically designed for communications. 

The AOFSOC system uses a high-speed camera and deformable mirror to measure and correct for atmospheric turbulence. A laser communication system is transmitted to a retro-reflector, and the reflection received by the instrument. 

The applicant will support the operation of the system, data analysis, and assess future upgrades to increase the system performance. 

The project deliverables will be defined at the beginning of the internship to match the successful candidate’s skill suit and may include all or part of the following: 

• Develop advanced communications protocols suited to communications with an AO system • Perform experiments with existing hardware, gather and analyse data

Required skills

Undergraduate/Honours in Optical, Electrical or Mechanical Engineering, Photonics or Physics, with past experience and/or a demonstrated interest in optics, photonics, and/or communications. Basic understanding of all, and past experience preferably in more than one of the following disciplines:  Optics, photonics, imaging systems, image analysis, instrumentation, system and signal theory, communications and signal processing.

Self-motivated, independent, good communicator, at ease working in a multi-disciplinary projects. Willing to learn new concepts and tools, fluent in English. 

For more information about this potential research topic or activity, or to discuss any related research area, please contact the supervisor.