(i9) United States
(12) Patent Application Publication
Chalfant, III et al.
(io) Pub. No.: US 2006/0182448 Al (43) Pub. Date: Aug. 17, 2006
(54) APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR FREE SPACE OPTICAL COMMUNICATIONS BEAM STEERING WITHOUT GIMBALS
Charles H. Chalfant III, Fayetteville,
AR (US); Fred J. Orlando, West
Melbourne, FL (US); Jeffrey T.
Gregory, Mountainburg, AR (US);
Chad B. O'Neal, Ruston, LA (US)
J. CHARLES DOUGHERTY
200 WEST CAPITOL AVE
LITTLE ROCK, AR 72201 (US)
(21) Appl. No.: 11/224,745
Related U.S. Application Data
(60) Provisional application No. 60/609,420, filed on Sep. 13, 2004. Provisional application No. 60/609,413, filed on Sep. 13, 2004.
(51) Int. CI.
(52) U.S. CI
A beam steering apparatus and method for free space optical transceivers is disclosed. The beam steering function is performed internally by way of translating an internal optical fiber in the focal plane of the transceiver telescope using miniature micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS). The optical design of the transceiver provides a wide field of view and a pointing and tracking field of regard that is directly proportional to the translation of the optical fiber in the focal plane of the telescope. The apparatus and method can eliminate the need for external gimballing systems, and replace the gimballed free space optical beam steering function with MEMS that consumes very little power.