1550 nm modulating retroreflector based on coated nanoparticles for free-space optical communication

Etai Rosenkrantz, Shlomi Arnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nowadays, there is a renaissance in the field of space exploration. Current and future missions depend on astronauts and a swarm of robots for reconnaissance. In order to reduce the power consumption, weight, and size of the robots, an asymmetric communication system may be used. This is achieved by installing modulating retroreflectors (MRRs) on one side of the link and an interrogating laser on the other side. In this paper, we theoretically study an innovative device that can serve as an MRR in the infrared range of the spectrum. The device is based on a ferroelectric PZT thin film containing TiO2 coated Ag nanoparticles, which exhibit strong plasmonic resonance in the infrared range. After intensive analyses, which included calculations and simulations, we were able to design the device to operate at the 1550 nm wavelength. This is of great importance since the design of devices operating at 1550 nm as this wavelength is a mature technology widely used in free-space optics. Hence, this MRR can serve in asymmetric communication links relying on 1550 nm transmissions, which are also eye-safe. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time coated metal nanoparticles have been proposed to modulate light in the infrared region. The performance of this device is unique, reaching a 17.5 dB modulation contrast with only a ±2 V operating voltage. This modulator may also be used for terrestrial communication such as fiber optics and optical interconnects in future data centers.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)5309-5313
Number of pages5
Issue number17
StatePublished - 10 Jun 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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