Programmable photonic signal processor chip for radiofrequency applications

Leimeng Zhuang, Chris G H Roeloffzen, Marcel Hoekman, Klaus J Boller, Arthur Lowery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

329 Citations (Scopus)


Integrated microwave photonics, an emerging technology combining radio frequency (RF) engineering and integrated photonics, has great potential to be adopted for wideband analog processing applications. However, it has been a challenge to provide photonic integrated circuits with equal levels of function flexibility as compared with their electronic counterparts. Here, we introduce a disruptive approach to tackle this need, which is analogous to an electronic field programmable gate array. We use a grid of tunable Mach–Zehnder couplers interconnected in a two-dimensional mesh network, each working as a photonic processing unit. Such a device is able to be programmed into many different circuit topologies and thereby provide a diversity of functions. This paper provides, to the best of our knowledge, the first ever demonstration of this concept and shows that a programmable chip with a free spectral range of 14 GHz enables RF filters featuring continuous, over-two-octave frequency coverage, i.e., 1.6–6 GHz, and variable passband shaping ranging from a 55 dB extinction notch filter to a 1.6 GHz bandwidth flat-top filter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)854 - 859
Number of pages6
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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