Attochron, LLC, is a United States company based in of Lexington, Virginia, that specializes in the development of ultrashort pulse laser (USPL) systems for FSO telecommunications, LIDAR and remote sensing, collectively called USPL FSO™. Attochron has developed USPL-based FSO technologies to overcome atmospheric attenuation and scintillation, two conditions that have historically kept continuous-wave (CW) FSO systems from widespread commercial use. Attochron’s intellectual property and patents position for USPL FSO systems is comprehensive and global.

Attochron will scale the communications capacity throughput to well above 1 Gbit/s by using data modulation techniques, such as WDM, to take advantage of the broad spectrum inherent to USPL pulses. Attochron is predicting overall throughput to reach 1 Tbit/s and beyond.


USPL Tests and Link Improvement

In 2013, Attochron’s testing at the US Army’s Picatinny Arsenal showed that an Attochron-specification USPL exhibited a 25dB+ increase in link margin in extreme fog versus wavelength- and average power-matched CW FSO systems. This test proved that Attochron-spec USPLs can overcome the serious fog attenuation experienced by CW systems enough to bring FSO communications to mass markets. Furthermore, Attochron’s testing, partially funded by Lockheed-Martin Corporation, included clear and windy conditions and indicated that Attochron-specification USPL can overcome scintillation. The test showcased a 15dB+ increase in power received from Attochron’s USPL compared to traditional CW FSO systems. [1]

What sets Attochron’s USPL device apart from traditional CW systems is that the USPL signal remained available at distances where the CW signal was fully attenuated. The USPL afforded around 20dB additional margin after CW attenuation before hitting the optical power meter’s noise floor. This resulted in a total of 40dB or more in link margin gains in both water aerosols and clear air scintillation. Attochron has since reported link margin gains of 45 to 60dB using USPL over CW lasers.

Attochron’s USPL was able to reduce peak-to-fade swings to only 1 to 2dB. In the past, CW lasers were experiencing peak-to-fade swings of nearly 45dB within fractions of a second, adversely affecting detectors and clock and data recovery schemes. This reduction in peak-to-fade swings improves link margin and performance while lowering costs for post-conditioning and other processing.



Attochron’s primary product is the carrier-grade i-AIR™ fiberless backhaul and satellite communications system. Its secondary product is the utility-class power beaming system FSO Power™. Both products are designed to transmit signal from four different apertures, allowing for redundancy in transmission.

i-AIR™, the USPL FSO telecommunications solution is currently in trials in Attochron’s real-world testbed in Lexington, VA ahead of carrier demonstrations. i-AIR is being developed for various use cases including high-capacity terrestrial point-to-point backhaul and satellite telecommunications links.

Attochron acquired sensitive sky-viewing terminals from the now-defunct Terabeam Corporation and also from the Lucent OpticAir™ program which they plan to outfit with their USPL technology for precision beam-steering satcom uplink purposes.


Related Links

Website: Attochron Homepage

Website: Overview of the Terabeam Corporation (defunct)

Website: Wavestar OpticAir Products (defunct)