OSA's Digital Library

Journal of Lightwave Technology

Journal of Lightwave Technology


  • Vol. 29, Iss. 9 — May. 1, 2011
  • pp: 1343–1353

Hardware Demonstration of Extremely Compact Optical True Time Delay Device for Wideband Electronically Steered Antennas

Betty Lise Anderson, James G. Ho, William D. Cowan, Olga Blum-Spahn, Allen Y. Yi, Delton J. Rowe, Martin R. Flannery, David L. McCray, Peter Chen, and David J. Rabb

Journal of Lightwave Technology, Vol. 29, Issue 9, pp. 1343-1353 (2011)

View Full Text Article

Acrobat PDF (3095 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools

  • Export Citation/Save Click for help


An optical true time delay device is demonstrated that is capable of supporting 112 antennas with 81 different delays (${>}6$ bits) in a volume $16' \times 5' \times 4'$ including the box with electronics. It uses a free-space design based on the White cell, and alignment is made simple, fast, and robust by the use of slow-tool diamond turning of many optics on a single substrate. Pointing accuracy of the 12 objective mirrors is better than 10 $\mu$rad, and surface roughness is ${\approx}45$ nm RMS. Delays vary from 0 to 25 ns in 312.5 ps increments. Short delays are implemented using delay rods of high refractive index, and long delays using folded mirror trains. Total insertion loss from fiber to detector was 7.82 dB for the no-delay path, and 10.22 dB for the longest lens train. A three-state tip-style MEMS micromirror array is used to select among the delays, with tilt angles ${\pm}1.4^{\circ}$ plus flat, and switching time ${<}100\ \mu$s for the entire array. An InP wideband optical combiner photodetector array converts the optical signal to RF with 20 GHz bandwidth. The unit survived temperature cycling 0 to 50 C and random vibration on three axes (9.84 g RMS) with no degradation of signal.

© 2011 IEEE

Betty Lise Anderson, James G. Ho, William D. Cowan, Olga Blum-Spahn, Allen Y. Yi, Delton J. Rowe, Martin R. Flannery, David L. McCray, Peter Chen, and David J. Rabb, "Hardware Demonstration of Extremely Compact Optical True Time Delay Device for Wideband Electronically Steered Antennas," J. Lightwave Technol. 29, 1343-1353 (2011)

Sort:  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset


  1. Photonic Aspects of Modern Radar (Artech House, 1994).
  2. A. P. Goutzoulis, D. K. Davies, "Hardware-compressive 2-D fiber optic delay line architecture for time steering of phased-array antennas," Appl. Opt. 29, 5353-5359 (1990).
  3. O. Raz, "Submicrosecond scan-angle switching photonic beamformer with falt RF response in the C and X bands," J. Lightw. Technol. 26, 2774-2781 (2008).
  4. R. Taylor, S. Forrest, "Steering of an optically-driven true-time delay phased-array antenna based on a broadband coherent WDM architecture," IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 10, 144-146 (1998).
  5. N. Madamopoulos, N. Riza, "All-fiber connectorized compact fiber optic delay line modules using three-dimenstional polarization optics," Opt. Eng. 39, 2338-2344 (2000).
  6. J.-D. Shin, "Optical true time delay feeder for X-band phased array antennas composed of 2$\,\times\,$2 optical MEMS switches and fiber delay lines," IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 16, 1364-1366 (2004).
  7. O. Raz, "Implementation of photonic true-time delay using high-order-mode dispaersion compensating fibers," IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 16, 1367-1369 (2004).
  8. R. D. Esman, "Two optical-control techniques for phased array: Interferometric and dispersive-fiber true time delay," Trans. Opt. Process. Into Syst. 133-143 (1993).
  9. M. Y. Frankel, R. D. Esman, "Dynamic null steering in an ultrawideband time-steered array antenna," Appl. Opt. 37, 5488-5494 (1998).
  10. H. Zmuda, "A photonic implementation of a wideband nulling system for phased arrays," IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 10, 725-727 (1998).
  11. B. Kanack, "Optical time delay network for phased arrays," Trans. Opt. Process. Into Syst. 114-132 (1993).
  12. J. Yang, "Continuous true-time-delay beamforming employing a tunable multiwavelength fiber ring laser source with euqally increased or decreased spacing," Opt. Eng. 42, 239-244 (2003).
  13. P. Q. Thai, "A novel simploified dual beam-former using multichannel chirped fiber grating and tunable optical delay lines," J. Lightw. Technol. 26, 2629-2634 (2008).
  14. D. A. Cohen, "Optically controlled serially fed phased array sensor," IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 8, 1683-1685 (1996).
  15. J. Medberry, P. Matthews, "Investigations of linearly chirped fiber Bragg gratings for time-steered array antennas," Fiber and Integrated Optics 19, 469-482 (2000).
  16. Y. Liu, "Continuous true-time-delay bemaforming for phased array antenna using a tunable chirped fiber grating delay line," IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 14, 1172-1174 (2002).
  17. D. B. Hunter, "Demonstration of a continously variable true-time delay beamformer using a multichannel chirped fiber grating," IEEE Trans. Microw. Theory Tech. 54, 861-867 (2006).
  18. N. A. Riza, "Liquid crystal-based optical control of phased array antennas," J. Lightw. Technol. 10, 1974-1984 (1992).
  19. H. R. Fetterman, "Optically controlled phased array radar receiver using SLM switched real time delays," IEEE Microw. Guided Wave Lett. 5, 414-416 (1995).
  20. D. Dolfi, P. Joffre, "Experimental demonstration of a phased-array antenna optically controlled with phase and time delays," Appl. Opt. 8, 1824-1828 (1996).
  21. K. Wagner, Wide-band all-optical BEAMTAP (2001).
  22. R. J. Berinato, "Acousto-optic tapped delay line filter," Appl. Opt. 32, 5797-5809 (1993).
  23. B. L. Anderson, R. Mital, "Polynomial-based optical true-time delay devices using MEMs," Appl. Opt. 41, 5449-5461 (2002).
  24. C. M. Warnky, "Demonstration of a quartic cell, a free-space true-time-delay device based on the white cell," J. Lightw. Technol. 24, 3849-3855 (2006).
  25. R. Mital, "Design and demonstration of a higher-order polynomial cell-Octic cell," J. Lightw. Technol. 24, 982-990 (2006).
  26. B. L. Anderson, "Binary optical true tieme delay based on the white cell: Design and demonstration," J. Lightw. Technol. 24, 1886-1895 (2006).
  27. J. U. White, "Very long optical paths in air," J. Opt. Soc. Amer. 66, 411-416 (1976).
  28. J. White, "Long optical paths of large aperture," J. Opt. Soc. Amer. 32, 285-288 (1942).
  29. B. L. Anderson, "Optical cross-connect switch based on tip/tilt micromirrors in a white cell," IEEE J. Sel. Topics Quantum Electron. 9, 579-593 (2003).
  30. B. L. Anderson, "Real-time all-optical quality of service monitoring using correlation and a network protocol to exploit it," Appl. Opt. 43, 1121-1130 (2003) Accepted.
  31. S. Kunathikom, "Design of delay elements in binary optical true-time delay device using a white cell," Appl. Opt. 42, 6984-6994 (2003).
  32. W. D. Cowan, "Integrated FET-Polysilicon micromachining process for optical MEMS," Proc. IEEE CLEO (2006) pp. 64-65.
  33. J. G. Ho, "Wideband coherent combining of photonic RF signals with photodiode array," GOMAC Tech MontereyCA (2004).
  34. B. L. Anderson, "The “Octic” white cell true-time delay device," GOMAC Government Microcircuits Applications Conf. TampaFL (2003).

Cited By

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited