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Miniaturized RF over Fiber


OBJECTIVE: Design and prototype a capability to use fiber optic cable to simultaneously distribute power (i.e power over fiber) while providing full duplex information flow. The capability will allow miniature microwave system components to be distributed over a relatively long distance (i.e. 30 meters or more) via fiber optics. For example, a processing node (within a microwave system) provides power over fiber optics to a remote RF node that has a Global Positioning System (GPS) and/or SATCOM capability. The capability would allow for the RF node GPS to send position information back to the processing node via the fiber optic cable. DESCRIPTION: Replacing coaxial cables with fiber optic cables for long distance remote installation of antennas from transmitters is desirable to minimize line losses, improve antenna matching and efficiency, reduce weight, reduce or eliminate electromagnetic interference (EMI), improve strength and flexibility, and allow easier deployment. Current RF over fiber optics systems are typically designed to support hardwired capability into ships, fixed buildings and laboratories. These systems utilize relatively large electronics components for transceivers and are not optimized for small portable systems. Critical war fighter capabilities utilizing microwave RF systems like GPS, satellite telephony, and satellite communications are limited to open sky areas. War fighters deployed in buildings, hardened shelters, and armored vehicles cannot easily deploy antennas (and potentially communication modules) to remote locations. Fiber optics is ideal for distributed systems due to their light weight, low transmission loss, and flexibility. Highly innovative electronics solutions are needed to allow war fighters to create distributed microwave systems using fiber optics. These devices must be small enough for tactical applications allowing dismounted war fighters to rapidly distribute GPS and RF communications into buildings, hardened facilities, or vehicles. An ideal solution would have all power to the transmission/antenna section conducted over the fiber (power-over-fiber). The antenna section should be tunable to allow the war fighter to connect RF devices of different frequencies (GPS, SATCOM, etc.). The design must be power frugal for maximum battery life and allow simultaneous connection to multiple RF devices, sharing a common antenna. A mixed cable solution will not be considered creative or innovative design. PHASE I: Conduct research on state of the art solutions for miniaturizing fiber optic transceivers and providing power-over-fiber. Design and develop an innovative approach to distribute microwave RF devices using fiber optic cables. Propose a solution and determine the technical capabilities of the proposed design. PHASE II: Build a prototype system based upon the Phase I design. Identify radios of two separate frequencies for the prototype (e.g., GPS, SATCOM, GSM). Demonstrate the prototype system in an environment with realistic test conditions. PHASE III: There may be opportunities for further development of these devices for use in a specific military or commercial application. During a Phase III program, the contractor may refine the performance of the design and produce pre-production quantities for evaluation by the Government. POTENTIAL DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The proposed system will be applicable to both commercial and military RF devices. Potential civilian applications include: GPS time adjusted clocks, cell phone and satellite phone transceivers for home use, laboratory remoting, and portable communications. REFERENCES: 1. Basanskaya, Anna,"Electricity Over Glass,"IEEE Spectrum, Oct 2005. 2. Castello, Richard, J. Fajardo, M. Ryan, and M. Ferguson,"Technical Requirements Document (TRD) for NAVSI Fiber Optic Antenna Link (FOAL),"Technical Document 3256, Jan. 2012. 3. Crane, Scott, and C. Ekstrom, P. Koppang, and W. Walls,"High-Performance RF Optical Links,"41th Annual Precise Time and Time Interval (PTTI) Meeting, Nov 2009. 4. Dickerson, Mike,"Increased Submarine RF Capacity for Sensors and Survellance (RFOF/iPON), Phase-II Final Report, 31 Aug 2012. 5. Dickerson, Mike,"RF Over Optical Fiber, Phase-II Final Report, Sep. 2011. 6. Kanter, Gregory S., and P Kumar,"Advanced Radio Frequency and Optical Connectivity To Support Network-Centric Operations, Final Report", FA8650-06-M-4408, Jan. 2007.
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