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Prototyping a Tunable Millimeter-Wave Synthesizer using Photonics Technology

Funding Agency: KACST Annual Funding Program

Status: Completed (May 2016)

Millimeter wave (mm-wave) technology is believed to become a cornerstone in future wireless communication networks. This promises to provide up-to multi Gb/sec wireless connectivity for short distances. Two frequency bands are attractive, i.e., 60 GHz and 110 GHz. This is almost 1000 times higher than those of FM radio. Moreover, the emergence of the internet of things, future smart homes, cars, cities and environments will require multiple breakthroughs in telecoms infrastructure worldwide. Recent advances in research and industry arenas showed potential seamless integration of photonics/optical-fiber technologies with wireless communications systems. This project called tunable millimeter wave optical synthesizer (TUMWOS)' aims to develop the state-of-the-art prototype equipment that can generate a large range of tunable mm-wave frequencies tunable in steps with respect to the free spectrum range of the semiconductor ring laser (SRL). The research proposes an original approach that exploits optical injection locking and four-wave mixing (FWM) in optical bistable semiconductor ring laser (SRL). SRL is a device that has unique properties, including optical bistability, optical injection locking capability, and cavity enhanced FWM (CE-FWM). Additionally, this research work proposes a high speed photonics based RF switch capable of optically switching micro- and mm-carriers using semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA). In particular, the demonstrated system uses the nonlinear phenomenon of four wave mixing (FWM), inside the SOA, between pump and signal wavelengths in order to optically switch up to 40GHz modulated RF signals.