The goalis to develop and implement
a control system for ring resonator-based Optical Beam Forming Networks (OBFNs).
Beam shaping and beam steering, together called beamforming, is needed when processing
radio-frequency signals from phased array antennas. This can be achieved in
the optical domain, by tuning an OBFN. The tuning of such a network is the task of
a control system. That system is the topic of research in this assignment. It enables
thermo-optical tuning of ring resonator based OBFNs.
In this thesis, the context, design and implementation of the control system are studied.
Measurements are described to show the correct working of the implemented prototype.
The control system may be used in the future in an airborne application. It may
form part of a system that provides services such as radio, television, and internet
access to en route aircraft. It is a challenge to make this possible.
The control system consists of a controller and an interface to operate it. The controller
has hardware and software aspects. The hardware is a modular set of components that
can easily be extended when necessary. The software in the controller operates the
hardware and provides the means for tuning OBFNs. A graphical interface is provided
on a PC to operate the controller. This can easily be adapted to future needs.
Two prototypes for the control system have been delivered in this assignment. The
first prototype met the most important requirements but was not very easy to operate.
The second implemented also met the more advanced requirements, enabled tuning of
larger OBFNs, and was provided with an easy-to-use Java interface.
The system has been used extensively in the TE lab and also at the Dutch Aerospace
Laboratory (NLR). In the future, the system can be extended to provide angle and azimuth steering (to steer the beam to a certain point) and tracking and tracing functionalities
(to find and keep focussed on a source).
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