High sensitivity active flat optics optical phased array receiver with a two-dimensional aperture

R. Fatemi, B. Abiri, A. Khachaturian, A. Hajimiri

Optical phased arrays (OPAs) on integrated photonic platforms provide a low-cost chip-scale solution for many applications. Despite the numerous demonstrations of OPA transmitters, the realization of a functional OPA receiver presents a challenge due to the low received signal level in the presence of noise and interference that necessitates high sensitivity of the receiver. In this paper, an integrated receiver system is presented that is capable of on-chip adaptive manipulation and processing of the captured waveform. The receiver includes an optoelectronic mixer that down-converts optical signals to radio frequencies while maintaining their phase and amplitude information. The optoelectronic mixer also provides conversion gain that enhances the system sensitivity and its robustness to noise and interference. Using this system, the first OPA receiver with a two-dimensional aperture of 8-by-8 receiving elements is demonstrated which can selectively receive light from 64 different angles. The OPA receiver can form reception beams with a beamwidth of 0.75° over an 8° grating-lobe-free field of view.