The area activities can be divided in two main topics: optical remote sensing and signal processing and microwave photonics. Optical remote sensing and signal processing concerns the development of new solutions, subsystems and devices for optical signal processing and communications and for optical remote sensing as lidar systems. New architectures, new light properties as the orbital angular momentum and new functionalities as the optical beamforming are under investigation for fiber enhanced solutions to be exploited on chip for several applications from space to 5G, from environmental monitoring to biophotonics.
Microwave photonics concerns the development of photonics-assisted subsystems and devices for RF applications as coherent radars and 5G, in addition to millimeter waves and THz applications. Photonics techniques are used for the RF signal generation, reception, elaboration and distribution for ensuring extremely high signal stability, and extremely high frequency flexibility. Moreover, RF signal detection based on photonic ADCs assures high resolution in a fully digital approach, flexibility and wide bandwidth. Integrated architecture of microwave subsystems as radar transceiver of electro-optical oscillator have also been investigated for applications with low SWaP requirements. Innovative integrated components as tunable ultra-narrowband filters are under development for meeting the microwave photonics specifications Field trials of microwave photonics systems on chip are under demonstration as the photonics-based multiband radar transceiver. Related activities included in the microwave photonics topics are:
- Optical beamforming for phased array radars
- optical RF scanning for electronic countermeasures
- Photonic-assisted hybrid active and passive radars
- Fiber-based antenna remoting
- Photonic-assisted RF transceiver for radio over fiber
- Electro-optical multi-frequency oscillator
Key Recent Projects
- “COSMOS: Photonics-based COherent SAR constellation for Multistatic and multispectral satellite Earth ObServation” funded by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research-FISR program (special supplementary fund for research)
- “SPACEBEAM: SPACE SAR system with reconfigurable integrated photonic BEAMforming”, funded by European Community (H2020-SPACE-14-TEC-2018-2019).
- PIOTS: Packaged integrated photonics-based RF/optical hybrid transceiver key-elements for sensing and communication” funded by the European Space Agency.