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Multibeam Integrated Optical Antenna Array Design for Free-Space Communication
Funder: European CommissionProject code: 101065845 Call for proposal: HORIZON-MSCA-2021-PF-01
Funded under: HE | HORIZON-TMA-MSCA-PF-EF\HORIZON-AG-UN Funder Contribution: 191,858 EUR

Humanity envisions the future world with cars driving themselves, the holograms in video conferences, augmented reality used everywhere to assist our daily life, and the list continues. The previous generation of mobile networks could not support such applications, and so the redesign of the network was decided with the 5th generation (5G) network standardization. In the redesigned network topology the signal processing previously occurred on the antenna site was moved to a central location and virtualized. This disaggregation allowed advanced functionalities and reduce the cost of antenna sites. On the other hand, it generated the need for a very fast and low latency connection between these disaggregated units (fronthaul) which cannot be supported with current wireless technologies and so only the fiber can be used. The MIMOSA aims to combine concepts from the RF world with integrated photonics for producing and demonstrating a compact electronically reconfigurable optical MIMO radiating system. The multibeam feeding network and the radiating elements, antennas, will be designed as a single monolithic photonic chip, which will reduce significantly the cost and form factor of the system. A system with at least 8 controllable beams will be designed. With the researcher’s background lying in the field of RF and wireless communications, his close collaboration with a host institute with strong expertise in the field of photonics provides the optimal framework for translating wireless needs into optically-enabled realities. Such a multibeam steerable MIMO system is expected to offer high availability links operating in real-life atmospheric conditions offering capacities higher than 50Gbps for up to 1000m link distance. The project will generate a framework for the implementation of high data rate optical wireless links capable to support 5G and beyond fronthaul requirements while reducing the cost, mass, form factor, and power consumption of the links.

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