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Design and implementation of an on-campus free-space laser datalink: a photonics case-study for electrical and photonic engineering students

Publication date 2004
B-Phot Authors Michael Vervaeke, Jurgen Van Erps, Hugo Thienpont
DOI 10.1117/12.567401
Citation
L. Desmet, M. Vervaeke, J. Van Erps, S. Brantegem, and H. Thienpont, “Design and implementation of an on-campus free-space laser datalink: a photonics case-study for electrical and photonic engineering students,” presented at the Photonics North, Photonics/Optics Education and Training, 2004, vol. 5578, p. 5578E.
Abstract We present the latest results of a students case-study on the design, implementation and testing of an on-campus free-space laser datalink. Although the concept of such a laserlink dates from the sixties, the technology has gained much attention lately because it provides a powerful alternative for high bandwidth short-distance datalinks in dense urban areas, university campuses, disaster zones; where line-of-sight is available, and construction with buried cables is costly. From an educational point of view, the multidisciplinary topic of free-space optical communication is particular suited to illustrate several photonics courses to Electrotechnical Engineering students. The topic not only involves the study of opto-electronics, optical system design and optical datacommunications, but also covers selected topics in the domains of automation, modulating electronics, opto- and electromechanics. By imparting our first-year master students with this practical hands-on project experience, we provide them with the necessary practical and theoretical skills for their future photonics career. After completion this year the optical link will serve a threefold goal. At first instance it will be used in the practical classes for future photonics students. The demonstrator will also promote photonics to the general public during our university info days and will serve as a basic platform for new future students projects, where we intend to extend the link in the direction of coarse WDM.
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