Saturday, March 5, 2016

Abstract-Terabit-per-Second Satellite Links: a Path Toward Ubiquitous Terahertz Communication

Jonathan Y. Suen

Due to the demand for high-speed wireless communications, carrier frequencies have increased in the search for both available and wider bands. The millimeter-wave and terahertz bands (0.1–3 THz) are commonly believed to be impractical for all but short-range links due to severe attenuation by atmospheric water vapor. However, the field of submillimeter radio astronomy has demonstrated that this can be effectively mitigated by the construction of large aperture telescopes in very dry high-altitude locations, such as the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in the Chilean Andes. Modeling has shown that Earth-satellite links in excess of 1 Tb per second can be achieved with a system patterned off observatories, since the loss of a satellite link from a dry location equals a sea-level path of only several kilometers. Despite advantages over optical satellite links, THz links have not been an area of active study. We review the technology and science necessary to develop a terabit-per-second THz satellite link and argue that a satellite link offers a good first step toward the development of ubiquitous THz communications.

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