Abstract

This paper reviews on the latest advances in microwave photonics applied to radar systems, tracing the evolutions of functionalities in the photonic radar toward a new generation of enhanced-performance systems. Photonics is demonstrated to enable a new generation of miniaturized, heterogeneous, and distributed radars, i.e., future radars on chip with different features, working in different radio spectral regions, and organized in spatially distributed sensors for the enhanced detection of a wider range of target properties. In these systems, the use of photonics assures benefits in terms of frequency flexibility, accuracy, and computational load reduction. Innovative capabilities supported by the photonic approach are presented, such as the use of coherent sparse bands for the synthesis of ultrawide bands, the use of distributed sensors for multiple-input multiple-output detections, and the use of an ultrawide band photonics-based receiver for radio frequency spectrum scanning. The presented novel concepts will open the way to new research activities both in photonic technology and radar systems, contributing to the development of a new generation of remote sensing systems. This expanding cross fertilization will lead to exciting and challenging research activities in the years to come.

© 2019 IEEE

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