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All-dielectric photonic-assisted radio front-end technology


The threats to civil society posed by high-power electromagnetic weapons are viewed as a grim but real possibility in the world after 11 September 2001 (refs 1–3). These weapons produce a power surge capable of destroying or damaging sensitive circuitry in electronic systems. Unfortunately, the trend towards circuits with smaller sizes and voltages renders modern electronics highly susceptible to such damage. Radiofrequency communication systems are particularly vulnerable, because the antenna provides a direct port of entry for electromagnetic radiation. Here, we report a type of radiofrequency receiver front end featuring a complete absence of electronic circuitry and metal interconnects, the traditional ‘soft spots’ of a conventional radiofrequency receiver. The device exploits a dielectric resonator antenna to capture and deliver the radiofrequency signal onto an electro–optic field sensor. The dielectric approach has an added benefit in that it reduces the physical size of the front end, an important benefit in mobile applications.

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Figure 1: Concept of the photonic-assisted all-dielectric RF front-end technology.
Figure 2: Details of the receiver front-end design and the resonance spectrum of the electro–optic (EO) resonator.
Figure 3: Receiver sensitivity.
Figure 4: Detection of the free-space RF signal by the prototype receiver.
Figure 5: Measured sensitivity of the prototype receiver.

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This work was supported by DARPA and the U.S. Army. We are grateful to L. Maleki of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for providing the LiNbO3 microdisk resonator, and to W. Steier of USC, Tatsuo Itoh and D. Solli of UCLA for helpful discussions.

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Correspondence to Bahram Jalali.

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Hsu, R., Ayazi, A., Houshmand, B. et al. All-dielectric photonic-assisted radio front-end technology. Nature Photon 1, 535–538 (2007).

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