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Integrated Photonics Frequency Generation Unit for High Throughput Satellites



Prime contractor
Organisational Unit
Implementation progress
23 May 2022

Duration: 18 months


Microwave (MW), terahertz, and optical radiation play an important role in space-based applications such as Earth Observation, Tele-Communication, Tracking & Navigation, to name a few. In order to fulfill the increase in data demand and need for ubiquitous connectivity, technological advances are required in terms of deployment of high/very high throughput satellites (HTS/VHTS) with data transmission in higher frequency bands (Ku, Q/V, W), use of on-board digital processing and higher-order antenna beamforming. Such advances will result in a complex electronics payload with an increase in size, weight, and power consumption (SWaP). In order to achieve reduced SWaP factor and cost optimization, some of the bulky MW components and functionalities such as MW frequency generation unit (FGU), multiband frequency conversion unit (FCU), and interconnect and routing unit (IRU) can be implemented using microwave photonics (MWP) technology. MWP leverages the low loss and high bandwidth properties of optical components for the generation, distribution, and processing of microwave frequency signals. This project will demonstrate a tunable MW frequency generation unit for the K, Ka, Q/V, and W bands using the heterodyning of optical carriers obtained from a photonic integrated optical frequency comb (OFC) source. The frequency stability and phase noise characteristics of the generated MW carriers will be investigated with an aim to successfully transmit advanced modulation format signals. The generated optical frequency comb and corresponding MW carriers can be used for radar and sensing applications.

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Integrated Photonics Frequency Generation Unit for High Throughput Satellites