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Free-space to single-mode collection efficiency enhancement using photonic lanterns

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Abstract

We demonstrate single-mode collection efficiency enhancement for free space optical systems using a photonic lantern to collect scattered infrared light from diffuse objects at far- and near-field distances. A single-mode collection efficiency improvement of 8dB is demonstrated in the near-field region relative to standard single-mode fiber. The insertion loss properties of the photonic lantern are also analyzed, and an additional insertion loss penalty is observed for near-field distances when the transmitted beam is collimated. The photonic lantern can be used for coherent detection systems such as light detection and ranging and free-space optical communication with improved collection efficiency and nearly perfect mode matching.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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