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Dynamic Frequency Passive Millemeter-Wave Radiometer Based on Optical Up-Conversion

Award Information
Agency: Department of Commerce
Branch: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Contract: WC-133R-14-CN-0121
Agency Tracking Number: 13-2-056
Amount: $399,979.35
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 9.4
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: N/A
Award Year: 2014
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2014-09-03
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2016-09-04
Small Business Information
51 E. Main Street Suite 201
Newark, DE 19711-4676
United States
DUNS: 805473951
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Thomas Dillon
 Senior Research Engineer
 (302) 456-9003
Business Contact
 Eric Kelmelis
Title: Chief Executive Officer
Phone: (302) 456-9003
Research Institution

Passive microwave sensors aboard satellites provide valuable information regarding weather conditions by measuring atmospheric attenuation over a broad range of frequencies from 0-200 GHz. Additional ground-based sensors are desirable to provide complementary upward looking measurements that can be used to refine existing attenuation models. Operating over such a large bandwidth, however, places significant demands on the receiver architecture; a common approach to this challenge involves channelizing the receiver for each frequency band of interest. Unfortunately, this limits the flexibility of the system and finding components that can operate at these higher frequencies is challenging. The approach is taken by Phase Sensitive Innovations involves conversion of the collected radio frequency signals to optical frequencies, where these signals are relatively narrowband and can be processed using conventional photonic components. Optical up-conversion is accomplished using our own high speed (up to 300 GHz) lithium niobate phase modulators acting as broadband mixers. Subsequently an optical heterodyne mixer is used to tune the receiver and bring the desired frequency signals to baseband for detection. Such an approach offers significant advantages in terms of overall simplicity of the receiver design and the ability to operate efficiently at high frequencies up to and exceeding 200 GHz.

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