Advancement of photonic integration technology for space applications: A x-band scan-on-receive synthetic aperture radar receiver with electro-photonic beamforming and frequency downconversion capability
van Dijk, P.
Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) is a well-known technique for remote sensing applications with great advantages like uninterrupted imaging capabilities even at night or in presence of cloud cover. However, spaceborne SAR sensors face major challenges like cost and size, which are among the great barriers against their applicability for future constellations of low-Earth observation applications. SAR sensors are not compact and require large or medium-sized satellites weighting hundred kilograms or more, which cost hundreds million dollars. To solve these challenges, the recently started SPACEBEAM project, funded by the European Commission, aims at developing a novel SAR receiver approach, i.e., the Scan-on-Receive (SCORE), exploiting a hybrid integrated optical beamforming network (iOBFN) that also realizes the electro-photonic down-conversion of RF signals. The compactness and frequency flexibility of the proposed photonic solution complies with the requirements of future constellations of low-Earth orbit satellites in terms of size, weight, power consumption, and cost. A high-level representation of the SCORE SAR receiver module based on the multi-functional hybrid photonic integrated circuit (PIC), with 12 input RF channels and 3 output beam-formed IF channels, is shown in the submitted PDF document. For this design, we target the development of an X-band SCORE-SAR receiver having a swath width of 50 km (5 times wider than state-of-art spaceborne SAR systems), and enabling 1.5 m spatial resolution in both along-track and across-track directions. During the conference, we will present the design and specifications of the SCORE-SAR receiver at equipment level, where we aim at a hermetically packaged PIC that is also designed for space compliance. We target a flight-design for the RF front-end and control electronics, enabling the electro-photonic frequency down-conversion of the RF signals and the fast control of the PZT-driven iOBFN with <300 ns switching time.
Optical beam forming , Scan-on-Receive , Synthetic Aperture Radar
Mohammadhoseini, H., Ghelfi, P., Desoete, B., Gabrielli, S., Otto, T., Mohammad, A. W., Roeloffzen, C., van Dijk, P., Reza, M., Serafino, G. and Floris, F. (2021) 'Advancement of photonic integration technology for space applications: A x-band scan-on-receive synthetic aperture radar receiver with electro-photonic beamforming and frequency down-conversion capability', International Conference on Space Optics - ICSO 2020, Online, 30 March - 2 April 2021. Proceedings of SPIE, 11852, 118522W (8pp). doi: 10.1117/12.2601247
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