NEXT-GENERATION ULTRA-HIGH-SPEED MICROWAVE
Photonic integrATed circuiTs using advancEd hybRid iNtegration
Revolutionizing LiDAR Technology: PATTERN Project’s Breakthroughs in Low-Energy, High-Reliability FMCW LiDAR Development
Within the PATTERN project, University of Cyprus will demonstrate an FMCW (Frequency Modulation Continuous Waveform) LIDAR based on the microwave photonics integration platform being developed by other project partners. FMCW LiDAR allows both the speed and range of a target to be measured. LiDAR technology is critical to the: (1) automotive sector (for enhanced sensing, especially for autonomous vehicles); (2) for Earth Observation, which is especially relevant to the climate change crisis, where better performing sensors are key to enhanced monitoring and (3) for NewSpace, where applications in docking and rendezvous, and altimetry and ranging for planetary landers are enabled. In most of these applications, reliability and low SWaP (size, weight and power) is essential, and UCY has already performed studies to show the feasibility of photonic integrated circuit technology for the implementation of LiDAR with low SWaP.
The building blocks of the PATTERN platform (including, in particular, fast tuneable lasers) will enable the development of low-cost, low power consumption, reliable and highly compact chip-scale LiDARs. In particular, the reduced footprint of the LNOI modulator from CSEM and tenfold reduction in power consumption will lead potentially to the realisation of optical phased arrays (OPA). In PATTERN, we will integrate the key building blocks of the FMCW LiDAR, including a fast-tuneable laser, an optical circulator (to separate transmitted and received signals), and a balanced photodiode to implement heterodyne detection between the received signal and a sample of the transmitted signal. In addition, we will investigate how the LNOI platform is compatible with optical phased array implementations. Note that that the optical beam forming network after the laser might not be developed in PATTERN.
Photonic integrated circuit implementation of FMCW LIDAR – Copyright University of Cyprus