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1 October 1995 True-time-delay photonic beamformer for an L-band phased array radar
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The problem of obtaining a true-time-delay photonic beamformer has recently been a topic of great interest. Many interesting and novel approaches to this problem have been studied. This paper examines the design, construction, and testing of a dynamic optical processor for the control of a 20-element phased array antenna operating at L-band (1.2-1.4 GHz). The approach taken here has several distinct advantages. The actual optical control is accomplished with a class of spatial light modulator known as a segmented mirror device (SMD). This allows for the possibility of controlling an extremely large number (tens of thousands) of antenna elements using integrated circuit technology. The SMD technology is driven by the HDTV and laser printer markets so ultimate cost reduction as well as technological improvements are expected. Optical splitting is efficiently accomplished using a diffractive optical element. This again has the potential for use in antenna array systems with a large number of radiating elements. The actual time delay is achieved using a single acousto-optic device for all the array elements. Acousto-optic device technologies offer sufficient delay as needed for a time steered array. The topological configuration is an optical heterodyne system, hence high, potentially millimeter wave center frequencies are possible by mixing two lasers of slightly differing frequencies. Finally, the entire system is spatially integrated into a 3D glass substrate. The integrated system provides the ruggedness needed in most applications and essentially eliminates the drift problems associated with free space optical systems. Though the system is presently being configured as a beamformer, it has the ability to operate as a general photonic signal processing element in an adaptive (reconfigurable) transversal frequency filter configuration. Such systems are widely applicable in jammer/noise canceling systems, broadband ISDN, and for spread spectrum secure communications. This paper also serves as an update of work-in-progress at the Rome Laboratory Photonics Center Optical Beamforming Lab. The multi-faceted aspects of the design and construction of this state-of-the-art beamforming project will be discussed. Experimental results which demonstrate the performance of the system to-date with regard to both maximum delay and resolution over a broad bandwidth are presented.
© (1995) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Henry Zmuda, Edward N. Toughlian, Paul M. Payson, and John Edward Malowicki "True-time-delay photonic beamformer for an L-band phased array radar", Proc. SPIE 2560, Optical Technology for Microwave Applications VII, (1 October 1995);

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