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Smart Transmitters and Receivers for Underwater Free-Space Optical Communication

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3 Author(s)
Jim A. Simpson ; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, NC State University, Raleigh, NC, 27695-7911 ; Brian L. Hughes ; John F. Muth

The number of unmanned vehicles and devices deployed underwater is increasing. New communication systems and networking protocols are required to handle this growth. Underwater free-space optical communication is poised to augment acoustic communication underwater, especially for short-range, mobile, multi-user environments in future underwater systems. Existing systems are typically point-to-point links with strict pointing and tracking requirements. In this paper we demonstrate compact smart transmitters and receivers for underwater free-space optical communications. The receivers have segmented wide field of view and are capable of estimating angle of arrival of signals. The transmitters are highly directional with individually addressable LEDs for electronic switched beamsteering, and are capable of estimating water quality from its backscattered light collected by its co-located receiver. Together they form enabling technologies for non-traditional networking schemes in swarms of unmanned vehicles underwater.

Published in:

IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications  (Volume:30 ,  Issue: 5 )