The authors from the University of Sydney have conducted research on photonic processors using a two-dimensional array of liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS) for years. A LCoS matrix enables the solution of the design of a compact processor with the functionalities of large bandwidth and tuneability. The current paper deals with the implementation of multiple independently controllable True Time Delays (TTDs) using a liquid crystal matrix. TTDs are key elements for the realization of the most common functionalities of microwave photonic processors: phased array antennas, microwave photonic filters, analog-to-digital converters, pulse shapers, radio-over-fiber sytems, etc. Particularly, the authors propose the use of TTDs in the realization of phased array antennas. Photonic TTDs are suitable to avoid the squint beam squint in wideband antennas. The paper is a proof of concept of the generation and independent programmable tuning control of multiple TTD in the microwave domain (up to 20 GHz, in the range from -32ps to +32ps delay) using a LCoS matrix. More information about the performance of LCoS in other applications of the photonic processing of microwave signals can be found in previous papers by the authors, which will help elucidate the potential of the proposed technique. These examples indicate that the realization of compact photonic processors of microwave signals featuring sophisticated functionalities maybe a reality in a not-too-distant future.
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