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11 June 2021 Miniaturised photonic front-end for the next generation of space SAR applications
T. Mengual, Vanessa C. Duarte, V. Polo, M. A. Piqueras, P. Sanchis, A. Brimont, D. Zurita, B. Chmielak, S. Suckow, A. Giesecke, E. Matarazzo, L. DiPalma, D. Maiarelli, H. Wang, P. G. Huggard
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Proceedings Volume 11852, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2020; 1185255 (2021) https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2599928
Event: International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2021, 2021, Online Only
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Abstract
There is a natural trade-off between spacecraft size and functionality in all current satellite applications, independently of orbit and mission. Therefore, advances in both miniaturization and integration technologies are required to increase satellites’ lifetime and performance, simultaneously reducing their cost. In case of the next generation of Earth Observation satellites, one of the key development areas is synthetic aperture radar (SAR) antennas, where expected progress will be to increase the operating bandwidth - requiring, for instance wideband true-time delay (TTD) beamformers - and miniaturization, drastically reducing the mass and volume compared to current implementations. In this scenario, the use of photonic integrated circuits (PIC) technology in the beamforming network, in combination with an optical fibre harness, are obvious key enabling technologies for future SAR instruments. Optically implemented TTD beamforming structures achieve orders-of-magnitude improvements in size and mass compared with coaxial cable and RF switch based alternatives. Photonic technology also brings easy routing thanks to wavelength-division multiplexing, antenna and RF system integration due to the EMI -free characteristic of the optical fibre and a reduction of the risks associated with the in-orbit antenna deployment. Additionally, the inherent broadband characteristic of photonic technology, related to the transport and processing of RF signals, simplifies the beamforming network and signal distribution design for different frequencies, applications and missions. In the H2020 RETINA project (H2020-SPACE-2018-821943) a consortium formed by DAS Photonics, Airbus Italia, AMO GmbH, STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and Universitat Politècnica de València is developing a miniaturised photonic front-end for next-generation X-band space SAR applications. In this article we present advances in design and fabrication of PIC for TTD, the design and predicted performance of multi element, dual polarisation antenna building blocks and photoreceivers for phase and amplitude controlled optical to RF conversion.
Conference Presentation
© (2021) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
T. Mengual, Vanessa C. Duarte, V. Polo, M. A. Piqueras, P. Sanchis, A. Brimont, D. Zurita, B. Chmielak, S. Suckow, A. Giesecke, E. Matarazzo, L. DiPalma, D. Maiarelli, H. Wang, and P. G. Huggard "Miniaturised photonic front-end for the next generation of space SAR applications", Proc. SPIE 11852, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2020, 1185255 (11 June 2021); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2599928
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