Leveraging the orthogonality of Zernike modes for robust free-space optical communication

  • Konwar S
  • Boruah B
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Abstract

Free-space optical communication systems exploit the properties of light beams to transfer information through a free-space link. Indeed such systems provide an exciting alternative for communication. Here we introduce information transfer through free-space using a laser beam having its phase encoded with multiple orthogonal aberration modes. We use Zernike polynomials, which form a complete basis set, to represent the aberration modes. The user information is converted to co-efficients of the Zernike modes which are summed digitally to obtain the resultant phase profile. A single phase modulating device then reads the resultant phase to shape the wavefront of the beam to be transmitted. The receiving station estimates the co-efficients of all modes in the beam from a single measurement of a wavefront sensor, to retrieve the user information. We demonstrate data transfer using multiple modes, each with multiple strengths, and external perturbation compensation using the completeness property of the modes.

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Konwar, S., & Boruah, B. R. (2020). Leveraging the orthogonality of Zernike modes for robust free-space optical communication. Communications Physics, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s42005-020-00468-1

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