Abstract

Traditional lens-based photonic Fourier beam-forming systems can be used to steer multiple beams for narrowband radio-frequency (RF) phased-array antennas. For wideband RF phased-array antennas, such Fourier beam-forming systems suffer from frequency-dependent beam steering, known as beam squint. We present a novel squint-free Fourier-based photonic multibeam-forming system for wideband two-dimensional RF phased-array antennas using a lens and frequency-mapped modulation. In this new beam-forming system, we modulate the receiving wideband RF signals onto a broadband light source in a frequency-mapped manner by a traveling-wave tunable filter at each antenna element. These modulated signals are launched in a miniaturized topology of the RF antenna array, and the wavelength-scaling factor in the lens Fourier transform exactly compensates the frequency dependence of beam steering. Heterodyne detection at the Fourier plane between the focused modulated multicolor spots and the broadband laser reference beams from the same light source recovers the received RF signals. An analysis with numerical simulations and then demonstrated with preliminary experimental results of this beam-forming system is presented.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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