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Postgraduate research project

Unlocking the Future of High-Capacity Ground-to-Satellite Communications

Competition funded View fees and funding
Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree
View full entry requirements
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Closing date

About the project

High-capacity ground-to-satellite communications have long relied on microwaves for data transmission, as they have since the very first communications satellites were launched. However, the surge in demand for data-intensive digital services and the evolution of sophisticated satellite-borne sensors have pushed microwave links to their limit, transforming them into a critical data transmission bottleneck.

This is where optical communications come in. Leveraging the unparalleled bandwidth of optical technologies, akin to those powering the internet’s fibre-optic backbone, represents a transformative solution to the challenges faced by ground-to-satellite communication. The potential for over 3 orders of magnitude improvement in transmission capacities stands as a scalable factor for growth, ensuring the long-term competitiveness of satellite communication against other wireless access technologies.

Yet, the transmission of light through Earth’s atmosphere introduces its own set of challenges, primarily weather effects and atmospheric turbulence. This PhD project invites you to embark on ground-breaking exploration of novel methods to overcome these challenges. Cutting-edge approaches, such as using spatial light modulators for precise phase-front correction and harnessing exotic spatial modes (such as orbital angular momentum modes), will be investigated. This endeavour capitalizes on the unique synergy of photonic fabrication facilities and world-leading expertise at the ORC. This project will require a mixture of experimental work to produce hardware solutions to these atmospheric challenges as well as numerical modelling to understand how these solutions will scale to the distances involved with ground to satellite communication.

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