We propose and demonstrate a novel wideband microwave photonic polarization network for dual linear-polarized antennas. The polarization network is based on a waveguide-implemented fully-reconfigurable optical interleaver using a two-ring resonator-assisted asymmetric Mach-Zehnder structure. For microwave photonic signal processing, this structure is able to serve as a wideband 2 × 2 RF coupler with reconfigurable complex coefficients, and therefore can be used as a polarization network for wideband antennas. Such a device can equip the antennas with not only the polarization rotation capability for linear-polarization signals but also the capability to operate with and tune between two opposite circular polarizations. Operating together with a particular modulation scheme, the device is also able to serve for simultaneous feeding of dual-polarization signals. These photonic-implemented RF functionalities can be applied to wideband antenna systems to perform agile polarization manipulations and tracking operations. An example of such a interleaver has been realized in TriPleX waveguide technology, which was designed with a free spectral range of 20 GHz and a mask footprint of smaller than 1 × 1 cm. Using the realized device, the reconfigurable complex coefficients of the polarization network were demonstrated with a continuous bandwidth from 2 to 8 GHz and an in-band phase ripple of smaller than 5 degree. The waveguide structure of the device allows it to be further integrated with other functional building blocks of a photonic integrated circuit to realize on-chip, complex microwave photonic processors. Of particular interest, it can be included in an optical beamformer for phased array antennas, so that simultaneous wideband beam and polarization trackings can be achieved photonically. To our knowledge, this is the first-time on-chip demonstration of an integrated microwave photonic polarization network for dual linear-polarized antennas.
Zhuang, L., Beeker, W., Beeker, W., Leinse, A., Heideman, R., van Dijk, P., & Roeloffzen, C. (2013). Novel wideband microwave polarization network using a fully-reconfigurable photonic waveguide interleaver with a two-ring resonator-assisted asymmetric Mach-Zehnder structure. Optics express, 21(3), 3114-3124. https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.21.003114