A Boston Micromachines Kilo-DM is being used in an adaptive optics system for the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) project (see figure below) to improve data transmission rates on board the ISS. As the amount of data gathered by instruments on board the station has increased over the years the ability to trasmit the data has not kept pace. Without advancement in free space communications technology some of the data gathered may have to be tossed out or stored for long periods of time before it can be analyzed.
Original figure from Nasa JPL website for OPALS. DM, magnification shapes, and supporting text added by Boston Micromachines.
Adaptive optics is a key part of these systems as without it, the turbulence in the atmosphere would lead to increased noise causing high numbers of bit errors drastically slowing down the data transfer rate. Boston Micromachines deformable mirrors are fast enough to correct for atmospheric aberrations that corrupt the laser beam on its way back to the surface. You can find out more about this space based optical communications technology on NASA JPL’s web page for OPALS. Or get a more in depth description of the system by reading the OSA article on OPALS. Our deformable mirror is mentioned in section 3.2.
The project, as well as the Boston Micromachines Deformable Mirror being used, was mentioned recently in an article on the Sentinel Satellite, another space based instrument employing the use of optical data transmission technology. Missions like these show how practical the use of laser transmission systems is to drastically increase the bandwidth in communication channels sending information back to Earth. This technology is being considered for use on the ISS as well as deep space probes and Mars rovers.
Defense TechConnect Conference and Expo: Fun in the Sun with the MRR
Last week I was fortunate enough to be able to parade BMC’s Modulating RetroReflector (MRR) in front of multiple audiences affiliated with the Defense community at the Defense TechConnect (DTC) Conference and Expo in Tampa, Florida.
# Applied Adaptive Optics 11.01.2018Read more
MiFoBio 2018: AO Microscopy in Action
Recently, Boston Micromachines sponsored MiFoBio (Functional Microscopy in Biology), an event that brought together the microscopy community, academics and professionals alike, to attend courses and workshops that explored the understanding and current trends of biological imaging.
# Applied Adaptive Optics 10.16.2018Read more