Optical Networks & Systems › Optical processing and THz Photonics

Optical microwave processing and THz Photonics

Activity areas

At the NTC we are researching on the photonic generation, distribution and processing of radio waves in a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum (from L-band to the THz region).

Fiber-optic THz Spectroscopy

THz spectroscopy based on photoconductive antennas is a unique sensing tool. The spectrum gap between 100 GHz and 10 THz hosts a wide range of complex interactions between radiation and matter that can be used to achieve innovative imaging and sensing systems. Terahertz waves can handle ultra-broadband signals, are non-ionizing and transparent through many materials that are opaque in visible and IR light while many other materials present characteristic spectroscopic fingerprints in this regime. These capabilities are useful in fields such as biology and medical sciences, industrial monitoring, security, communications, non-destructive evaluation, etc.

Optical beamfoming for antenna arrays

The high time-bandwidth product of optical technology allows the control of antenna arrays avoiding the limitations of pure microwave implementations. Photonic schemes offer true time delay (preventing beam squint degradation as in phased-arrays which limits broadband operation), integration of remote antenna feeding schemes, and flexibility in deployable antenas. The NTC has been working with various European, national, and ESA-funded projects.

Optical signal processing of microwave signals

The large bandwidth of photonic components can be employed to generate, filter and shape microwave signals avoiding the limitations of electronic devices. Additionally, these schemes can be combined with radio-over-fiber distribution networks.

Photonic techniques for microwave measurement

Microwave instrumentation can be integrated with photonic components to take advantage of the capabilities of photonic technology and expand instrument’s performance in terms of bandwidth, measurement speed, etc.