EARS: A Wideband Frequency-Agile Silicon Photonic mm-Wave Receiver with Automatic Jammer Suppression via Rapidly Reconfigurable Optical Notch Filters
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Future multi-function radios with ultra-wide instantaneous bandwidth and rapid dynamic tuning have great potential to enable increases in wireless broadband communications, and co-existence of radar, radio astronomy, and sensing systems. However, there are fundamental limitations to achieving the required level of frequency selectivity, tuning range and speed using conventional electronic filters within the size, weight, and power targets of radio systems with small form factors. Radio frequency (RF) photonics technology is a promising candidate to enable these widely tunable receivers with wide bandwidth over a broad spectral range with rapid dynamic tuning. Silicon RF photonic filters provide very high selectivity, multi-GHz tuning ranges, and rapid dynamic tuning for radio systems at a chip-scale. However, lack of automatic calibration and adjustment of the initial filter response with very high accuracy, the non-linear effect of the photonic modulator on the receiver performance, and overall front-end sensitivity are major drawbacks of existing silicon RF photonics receivers. This proposal addresses these important issues by employing nano-scale complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) electronics, along with the silicon photonic filtering and modulator, for automatic filter response calibration, jammer suppression, modulator adaptive linearization, and low-noise front-end circuitry. The receiver architectures developed in this research will allow the realization of transformative radios with small form factors for wireless communications, radar, and sensing applications.This proposal''s research goal is to develop novel chip-scale silicon photonic mm-wave receiver front-end architectures, with high-performance photonic filtering and modulation implemented in a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) optical chip intelligently controlled by a nanometer CMOS chip to allow for rapid filter reconfiguration and jammer rejection. To accomplish this goal, a silicon photonic mm-wave receiver with automatic jammer suppression will be developed. Novel silicon photonic optical filters capable of rapid electronic reconfiguration will be designed and algorithms and hardware for optical band-definition bandpass filter tuning and dynamic notch filter placement for jammer rejection will be developed. Novel CMOS prototypes will include filter tuning loops, modulator drivers with adaptive linearization, and front-end circuitry for testing with the proposed silicon photonic chips. Applying the proposed technology into future wideband multi-function radios with small form factors would yield large instantaneous bandwidth and rapid dynamic filtering, currently not available in state-of-the-art integrated electronic wideband multi-function radios. This project will include an interdisciplinary educational program involving 6 students (3 graduate and 3 undergraduate), with extensive faculty commitment in engaging outreach activities. These activities include involvement in programs such as Electrical and Computer Engineering Unplugged and The Society of Women Engineers one-week summer camps to attract high school students, and on-going interactions with high school teachers via the Enrichment Experiences in Engineering (E3) program. Project results will be broadly disseminated by inclusion in the syllabi and website of a new graduate course entitled "RF Silicon Photonics" and through publication in national and international journals and conferences.