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Proceedings Paper

Energy-efficient millimeter-wave generation using silicon photonics
Author(s): Martijn J. R. Heck; Hakimeh Mohammadhosseini
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Paper Abstract

Due to the exponential growth of the bandwidth requirement for wireless communication systems, new frequency bands need to be utilized. For future 5G wireless networks, frequencies of 30 GHz to 90 GHz are considered, while for satellite and aircraft communications the sub-terahertz frequencies are considered. However, with increasing millimeter-wave frequencies (30 GHz – 300 GHz), high-speed electronic solutions become energy-inefficient, and alternative solutions are required.

Photonics offers the bandwidth and a potentially seamless integration with the fiber-wireless technology (Fi-Wi) for 5G communications. Commercially available terahertz generators are often based on photonics, i.e., lasers, too. One particularly promising technique to generate the microwave or sub-terahertz signal is to use the comb generated by modulating a continuous-wave laser signal. By filtering two non-adjacent comb lines, a beat signal is generated that has a frequency that is an integer multiple of the electrical modulator driving signal. In this way, frequency multiplication is achieved using microwave photonics. Photodetectors and/or photomixers can then be used to convert the beat signal to a millimeter-wave. However, the energy-efficiency of these techniques – and how they compare to all-electronic solutions – has not been analyzed yet.

In this paper we will present this energy-efficiency analysis, based on a silicon photonics implementation. Silicon photonics has the potential to miniaturize such systems, for ubiquitous and low-cost implementation. Silicon-based modulators, however, are not ideal phase modulators, and simulation tools need to incorporate this. The regimes, in terms of signal power and frequency, where photonics compares favorably over electronics, will be discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 February 2017
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 10108, Silicon Photonics XII, 101080O (20 February 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2253014
Show Author Affiliations
Martijn J. R. Heck, Aarhus Univ. (Denmark)
Hakimeh Mohammadhosseini, Aarhus Univ. (Denmark)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10108:
Silicon Photonics XII
Graham T. Reed; Andrew P. Knights, Editor(s)

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