Ultra-compact high-speed silicon photonic true-time delay beam-former integrated on CMOS nano-photonic platform

BEACON will integrate a novel beam-forming concept based on a tunable photonic delay line which relies on a Mach-Zehnder delay interferometer (MZDI) with a pre-set time delay between each of the interferometers arms, acting as true time delay lines. The delay can be precisely tuned by adjusting the power-coupling ratio between each of the interferometers arm. True time delay can be performed for any given number of antenna elements for a truly scalable concept.

The BEACON beamforming scheme is the most suitable option for optical communication systems with high frequency RF carriers and high bit-rate data transmission. The system is suitable for both transmission and reception modes providing ultra-fast beam steering in transmission mode and true-time delay of multidirectional wave-fronts, so all the desired signal components add up constructively and all the antenna and background noise adds up destructively.

All the components of the beamformer can be integrated on a single photonic chip and can be mass produced at low cost via CMOS-compatible integration. The technology makes use of 248nm deep UV technology for lithography. Devices will be designed and optimized for low power consumption and small footprint, which should allow for the development of a beamformer chip of about 1-2cm2 with a power consumption <1W.