Integrated Photonics Phased Array Antenna Architecture

Phased Array Antenna Architecture via Integrated Photonics

The US Army seeks a partner to license and commercialize a novel photonic integrated circuit (PIC) architecture for simplified true-time-delay optical control of phased array antennas

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Technology Description

Background and Technology:
The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is a leading developer of technologies for communication, sensors, electronic warfare, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance applications. This includes work on developing next-generation technologies like phased array radar based upon photonic integrated circuits.
Electronic based phased array antenna systems are bulky, power- hungry and focus on low frequency bandwidth, but they are still widely used in both military and commercial radio-frequency (RF) systems. ARL’s new RF-photonic based architecture overcomes size, weight, power and other known technical disadvantages of previous scanning antennas and is cost competitive thanks to the continual drop in the cost of commercial photonic devices.
ARL has built a fiber-based true time delay (TTD) system as a proof- of-concept demonstration of a proposed optical circuit architecture. The ultimate goal is to develop a chip-scale semiconductor based optical TTD beamforming/steering system. The optical circuit architecture would be employed in a large phased array antenna system that can perform two-dimensional beam scanning for both transmit and receive mode. Further, this will enable a miniaturized optically controlled phase array antenna system that can be used in numerous applications where reduced form factor and power consumption are a primary concern.


  • First-available architecture for true-time-delay phased array radar based upon photonic integrated circuits
  • Targeting wideband and high frequency applications; not frequency-band limited
  • Reduced size, weight, and power requirement for compact chip-based systems
  • Diverse markets in military, commercial applications such as UAV, broadcasting, radar, space communication, weather research, RFID, optics, human-machine interface, and more

Status and Opportunity:

  • Issued U.S. Patent 7,609,971 is available for license
  • Potential for collaboration with ARL inventor and laboratory

Supplemental Technical Information:

For more information, contact:
Austin Leach, PhD | | (406)-994-7707

Licensing Instructions:

In order to apply for license to federally owned technologies, regulations require that specific information be provided regarding your company and plans for commercialization. This information will be incorporated in a license agreement which will be provided for your review prior to signature. All provided information will be considered proprietary and held confidential.

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