Final PhD Seminar: Internally sensed optical phased arrays for space debris tracking and manoeuvring
The performance of existing ground based space debris laser ranging systems can be improved by directing more light onto space debris by coherently combining multiple lasers using an optical phased array (OPA). If the power delivered to target is sufficiently high then these systems may also provide the capability to remotely maneuver space debris via radiation pressure. By stabilizing the relative output phase of multiple lasers, OPAs form a coherent optical wave-front in the far field. Since the phase of each laser can be controlled independently, they also have the ability to dynamically manipulate the distribution of optical power in the far field, potentially enabling them to compensate for atmospheric turbulence. This beam-forming functionality, combined with their inherent scalability and high power handling capabilities make OPAs a promising technology for future space debris laser ranging and manoeuvring systems.