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Demonstration of high-efficiency photonic lantern couplers for PolyOculus
preprintposted on 2023-01-11, 23:15 authored by Christina D. Moraitis, Juan Carlos Alvarado-Zacarias, Rodrigo Amezcua-Correa, Sarik Jeram, Stephen S. Eikenberry
The PolyOculus technology produces large-area-equivalent telescopes by using fiber optics to link modules of multiple semi-autonomous, small, inexpensive, commercial-off-the-shelf telescopes. Crucially, this scalable design has construction costs which are > 10x lower than equivalent traditional large-area telescopes. We have developed a novel photonic lantern approach for the PolyOculus fiber optic linkages which potentially offers substantial advantages over previously considered free-space optical linkages, including much higher coupling efficiencies. We have carried out the first laboratory tests of a photonic lantern prototype developed for PolyOculus, and demonstrate broadband efficiencies of ~91%, confirming the outstanding performance of this technology.