PhD Defense: "Monolithically Integrated Reconfigurable Filters for Microwave Photonic Links"

Erik Norberg

October 17th (Monday), 1:00pm
Engineering Science Building (ESB), Rm 2001

For the purposes of commercial communication and military electronic warfare and radar alike, there is an increasing interest in RF systems that can handle very wide instantaneous bandwidths at high center frequencies. Optical signal processing has the capability to reduce latency, improve size, weight and power (SwAP) performance, and overcome the inherent bandwidth limitations of electronic counterparts. By rapidly pre-filtering wide bandwidth microwave signals in the optical domain, the analog-to-digital conversion (ADC) and subsequent digital signal processing (DSP) can be significantly relieved. Compared to channelizing and add/drop filters for wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) applications, the microwave filter application is much more challenging as it requires a more versatile filter, ideally with tunability in both frequency and bandwidth. In this work such a filter was developed using integrated photonics.

By integrating the filter on a single InP chip, the stability required for coherent filtering is met, while the active integration platform offers a flexible filter design and higher tolerance in the coupler and fabrication specifications. Using an entirely deep etched fabrication with a single blanket regrowth, a simple fabrication with high yield is achieved. The reconfigurable filter is designed as an array of uncoupled filter stages with each filter stage reconfigurable as a filter pole or zero with arbitrary magnitude and phase. This give rise to a flexible filter synthesis, much like an optical version of DSP filters. Flat-topped bandpass filters are demonstrated with frequency tunability over 30 GHz, bandwidth adjustable between 1.9 and 5.4 GHz, and stopband rejection >32 dB.

In order to meet the stringent spurious-free dynamic range (SFDR) requirements of the microwave application, a novel epitaxial layer integration platform is developed. Optimized for high optical saturation power and low propagation loss, it produces SOAs with low distortion and noise. Utilizing a novel characterization method of SFDR for photonic devices, SOAs with state-of-the art SFDR in the range of 115 dB-Hz2/3 for 6 dB gain, is demonstrated. It is projected that this platform could ultimately provide integration for photonic microwave filter applications.

Hosted by: Professor Larry Coldren