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RETINA – Four-quadrant InGaAs avalanche photodiodes for LEO direct-to-Earth optical ground station

ESA ScyLight project “RETINA” launched

Albis Optoelectronics announces the launch of RETINA – Four-quadrant InGaAs avalanche photodiodes for LEO direct-to-Earth optical ground station, an ESA funded R&D project that started in May 2023 under the framework of the ScyLight programme.

The objective of the project is to build an optical receiver for high-speed free-space optical (FSO) communications which combines the two functions of 1) data receiver and 2) optical beam tracker in a single detector. It is based on a specifically developed high-speed, low noise, long wavelength avalanche photodiode together with commercially available electronics. An evaluation board is developed as part of the project, containing all the input/output connectors needed to easily test the receiver functionalities in a laboratory environment.

The primary application of the receiver is in the Optical Ground Stations (OGS) used for LEO direct-to-Earth connections. However, given the similarity of the requirements, the receiver developed here could be also used for inter-satellite and terrestrial FSO communications. FSO links transmit information from point to point using a narrow beam of light. This type of networks is becoming more and more widespread because of some unique advantages compared to conventional radio frequency wireless networks and fibre connections. These include immunity to spectrum congestion and interference, improved security, lower power consumption and rapid deployment in difficult-to-reach areas.

Visit the project website at https://connectivity.esa.int/projects/aoretina

Further questions related to this project or the developed optical receiver? click here