High Speed True Time Delay Photonic Beamforming for Wideband Radar

Period of Performance: 05/14/2002 - 11/14/2002


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Nuonics, Inc.
12024 Moccasin Court
Orlando, FL 32828
Principal Investigator


This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project deals with a unique true time delay photonic beamforming technology applicable to BMDO TMD and NMD radar program activities such as the PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile system, Navy Area Wide AEGIS/Standard Missile System, and the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) System. This beamformer uses solid-state optical device technology that meets the microsecond switching speed requirement for TMD. It is assembled from compact signal processing modules, leading to ease in scalability of the radar. The module features low - 100 dB RF crosstalk noise and simultaneous independent channel operations for creating multiple simultaneous independent radar beams utilized for fast search and tracking. Each module can handle watt level optical powers and can be designed for time delays from pico-seconds to tens of nanoseconds. The beamformer has the additional capability to provide high > 100 dB RF dynamic range signal amplitude control, a feature highly useful in adaptive nulling and beam shaping. Phase I research will concentrate on the basic proposed module and its proof of concept experimental demonstration. Groundwork will be laid to indicate technical concept feasibility that will lead to a Phase II plan for prototyping and development. Apart from use in TMD-mode wideband radar beamforming, the proposed high speed, high isolation module, with the additional capability of handling high optical powers, can be used in: (a) laser radar systems, (b) mobile phased array communication systems, (c) medical ultrasound, (d) optical memories, (e) space astronomical arrays, and (f) adaptive optical systems for laser communications.