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A silicon integrated microwave photonic beamformer

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posted on 2023-11-30, 20:17 authored by Chen Zhu, Liangjun Lu, Wensheng Shan, Weihan Xu, Gangqiang Zhou, Linjie Zhou, Jianping Chen
Optical beamforming networks (OBFNs) based on optical true time delay lines (OTTDLs) are well-known as the promising candidate to solve the bandwidth limitation of traditional electronic phased array antennas (PAAs) due to beam squinting. Here we report the first monolithic 1x8 microwave photonic beamformer based on switchable OTTDLs on the silicon-on-insulator platform. The chip consists of a modulator, an eight-channel OBFN, and 8 photodetectors, which includes hundreds of active and passive components in total. It has a wide operating bandwidth from 8 to 18 GHz, which is almost two orders larger than that of electronic PAAs. The beam can be steered to 31 distinguishable angles in the range of -75.51{\deg} to 75.64{\deg} based on the beam pattern calculation with the measured RF response. The response time for beam steering is 56 {\mu}s. These results represent a significant step towards the realization of integrated microwave photonic beamformers that can satisfy compact size and low power consumption requirements for the future radar and wireless communication systems.

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