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Acousto-optic liquid-crystal analog beam former for phased-array antennas

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Abstract

A compact phased-array antenna acousto-optic beam former with element-level analog phase (0–2π) and amplitude control using nematic-liquid-crystal display-type technology is experimentally demonstrated. Measurements indicate >6-bit phase control and 52.6 dB of amplitude-attenuation control. High-quality error calibration and antenna sidelobe-levelcontrol is possible with this low-control-power analog beam former. Optical system options using rf Bragg cells or wideband Bragg cells are discussed, with the rf design being the current preferred approach. Transmit–receive beam forming based on frequency upconversion–downconversion by electronic mixing is introduced for the rf Bragg-cell beam former, and comparisons with digital beam forming are highlighted. A millimeter-wave signal generation and control optical architecture is described.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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