Photonic-based fully Digital Radar


Project presentation (pdf)

Photonics can guarantee the generation of very stable wideband (several GHz) RF signals, as well as their precise detection, over a wide carrier frequency range, from DC to beyond 60 GHz.
The Software Defined Radar (SDR) approach can be easily guaranteed.
The flexibility given by the use of photonics also enables multi-frequency radars and allow to reconfigure each carrier frequency independently.
Moreover photonics enables phase coding, frequency hopping and noise-like techniques.
The RF signal generation is based on phase locking techniques for ensuring extremely high signal stability, while the RF signal detection is based on photonic ADCs for assuring high resolution in a fully digital approach.
The transceiver is completely compatible with established III-V and silicon integrated technologies, which ensure high reliability, high production yields, and cost reduction.
In more detail, the benefits introduced by the proposed photonic-based radar transceiver are:

  • Generation and detection of signals directly at carrier frequency: it avoids analog up- and down-conversions, which would introduce additional noise on the signal, also assuring a fully-digital approach.
  • Wide carrier frequency range, from DC to several tens of GHz: the operation at high frequency, up to the MMW, is straightforward.
  • Extremely high stability independently on the carrier frequency: improved signal purity at high carrier frequency.
  • Wide modulation bandwidth: it can manage signals bandwidth suitable for UWB and noise-like radars.
  • Flexible reconfigurable carrier frequency: the wide bandwidth of photonics devices allow to generate or detect signals over a wide frequency range with the very same setup, enabling frequency hopping techniques.
  • Possibility of simultaneous operation at different frequencies: it allows the realization of multi-frequency radars.
  • Software defined radar (SDR): both the carrier frequency and the signal modulation can be flexibly changed and managed via software.
  • It enables multifunctional radars.
  • It enables integrated RADCOM systems.