Integrated microwave photonics (IMWP) is a novel field in which the fast-paced progress in integrated, on-chip, optics is harnessed to provide breakthrough performances in well-established microwave photonic processing functions, which are traditionally realized using discrete optoelectronic components. A field where IMWP can have a strong impact is the one of Antenna Arrays for 5G networks. Such arrays offer a number of attractive characteristics, electronic beamforming (beam shaping and beam steering), interference nulling and the capability to generate multiple antenna beams simultaneously. In many cases, however, the performance of a phased array is limited by the characteristics of the beamforming network (BFN) used. It is generally desired to realize beamformers with broad instantaneous bandwidth, continuous amplitude, and delay tunability and, at the same time, capable of feeding large arrays. This, however, is very challenging to achieve using only electronics. For this reason, the last few years, an increasing amount of research has been directed to beamforming in the optical domain using, integrated microwave photonics solutions. This presentation discusses the challenges towards the realization of the integrated microwave photonic platform.
Chris Roeloffzen, Lionix on behalf of Microlease – Livingston