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Published May 2019 | metadata_only
Journal Article

A Nonuniform Sparse 2-D Large-FOV Optical Phased Array With a Low-Power PWM Drive


Integrated optical phased arrays (OPAs) capable of adaptive beamforming and beam steering enable a wide range of applications. For many of these applications, a large scale 2-D OPA with full phase control for each radiating element is essential to achieve a functional low-cost solution. However, the scalability of such OPAs has been hampered by the optical feed distribution difficulties in a planar photonics process, as well as the high power consumption associated with having a large number of phase control units. In this paper, we present a two-chip solution low-power scalable OPA with a nonuniform sparse aperture, providing radiation pattern adjustment and feed distribution feasibility in a CMOS compatible silicon photonics process. The demonstrated OPA with a 128-element aperture achieves the highest reported grating-lobe-free field-of-view (FOV)-to-beamwidth ratio of 16°/0.8°, which is equivalent to a 484-element uniform array. This translates to at least 400 resolvable spots, 30 times more than the state-of-the-art 2-D OPAs. Moreover, by utilizing compact phase shifters in a row–column power delivery grid, we reduce the number of required drivers from 144 to 37. A high-swing pulsewidth modulation (PWM) driving circuit featuring breakdown voltage multipliers and soft turn-on activation significantly reduces the power consumption of the system. The electronic driver chip and the integrated photonic chip are fabricated on a 65-nm CMOS process and a thick silicon-on-insulator (SOI) silicon photonics process, occupying 1.7 mm^2 and 2.08 mm^2 of active area, respectively.

Additional Information

© 2019 IEEE. Manuscript received September 10, 2018; revised December 24, 2018 and January 24, 2019; accepted January 26, 2019. This work was supported by Caltech Innovation Initiative.

Additional details

August 19, 2023
August 19, 2023