Integrated Microwave Photonics for High Performance RF Receiver Frontends

A high performance RF Receiver frontend desires a large dynamic range to pick up weak signals from background noise and interference. However, inherent nonlinear distortions of electronic amplifiers and mixers often bottleneck the receiver’s dynamic range performance. In this paper, we present a solution to the RF receiver frontend that is based on integrated microwave photonics. It contains a chip-level integrated high dynamic range RF photonic link with an optical-domain frequency down-converter. The design and measurements of the integrated circuit are discussed. An approach of extending the IC chip to a fiber-optic fed RF receiver frontend is also presented.