Microwave Photonics is an emerging field in which high frequency electronic signals are generated, distributed, processed and analyzed using the strength of photonic techniques. Both the low-propagation-loss properties of silicon nitride waveguides (Si3N4, TriPleX™) and our hybrid assembly approach are enablers for our Microwave Photonics modules, such as the Optical Beam Forming Networks (OBFN). This hybrid microwave photonics platform enables high-frequency (1-100 GHz) signal processing and provides significant benefits over conventional free-space optics systems and RF-circuitry. For example, in the optical domain the signals do not suffer from cross-talk or electromagnetic interference (EMI). Moreover, on-chip integration provides enhanced performance, improved stability, reduced Size, Weight and Power consumption and Cost. The unique properties of our proprietary integrated photonics platform are imperative in beamforming applications in 5G wireless mobile networks, Satellite communication, Aerospace communication and Quantum processing.
Beamforming and Beam steering in Phased Array Antennas
The integrated OBFN and its Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) convert high-frequency radio signals from the active phased-array antenna into individual microwave photonic signals on a chip. These signals are processed using for ample tunable time delays (TTD), phase shifters and tunable splitters, to coherently combine those and achieve proper beam shaping and beam steering. Considered beamformer architectures are:
Multi-Beam system, applied in high capacity areas that allow frequency reuse
Single-Beam applications that require accurate and high gain beam pointing
Filtering in Satellite Payloads
On chip filtering and phase-shifting can be applied
Switch Matrices for Beamforming Networks and Quantum processors
Manipulating different broadband RF signals in the optical domain, in fact at very high (THz) frequency, requires the state of the art concept developed in our hybrid assembly approach combined with the low-loss silicon nitride waveguide platform. Utilizing our novel high speed [µs] low-power [µW] stress-optics PZT (Lead-Zirconium Tantalate) actuators completes a technological base to create different functions needed a suite of applications.