In addition to optoelectronic components and extensive communication know-how, mechatronic systems also play a decisive role in the functionality of such networks. The transmission of messages via bundled laser beams requires precise alignment solutions in order to keep the beam precisely on the target even over long distances, correct drift and interferences, and, if necessary, quickly re-align it. In addition to being controlled by the satellite location system, a fine, high-speed steering system is required to compensate for vibrations from the satellite, thermal fluctuations, and other causes of disturbances. In ground-based point-to-point networks, atmospheric turbulences or movements in buildings can also be a potential source of interference for the error-free signal transmission. Therefore, quickly reacting tip/tilt mirror systems are of essential importance for free space optical communication networks.
In addition to high bandwidths and sufficiently large tilt angles, maintenance-free function in 24/7 mode is of crucial importance for this application. Energy efficiency, low weight, and a compact design are also essential. Last but not least, robustness is required, because the systems not only have to withstand the high accelerations during satellite launch, but also the harsh environmental conditions such as strong temperature fluctuations or radiation exposure over the entire period of use.