Optically Synchronized Phased Arrays in CMOS

M. Gal-Katziri, C. Ives, A. Khakpour, A. Hajimiri

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Optical synchronization of large-span arrays offers significant benefits over electrical methods in terms of the weight, cost, power dissipation, and complexity of the clock distribution network. This work presents the analysis and design of the first phased array transmitter synchronized using a fully monolithic CMOS optical receiver. We demonstrate a bulk CMOS, 8-element, 28-GHz phased array building block with an on-chip photodiode (PD) that receives and processes the optical clock and uses an integrated PLL to generate eight independent phase-programmable RF outputs. The system demonstrates beam steering, data transmission, and remote synchronization of array elements at 28 GHz with fiber lengths up to 25 m, in order to show the scaling benefits of our approach. The provision of small footprint and cost-effective CMOS transceivers with integrated optoelectronic receivers enables exciting opportunities for low-cost and ultralight array systems.