This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will adapt a photonics based signal processor to propel applications in extreme bandwidth spread-spectrum wireless communications. The signal processor prototype known as the spatial spectral holographic (S2H) extreme bandwidth analyzer / correlator (EBAC) will function as a correlating receiver for low probability of intercept (covert) and interference immune spread-spectrum communications in any radio frequency/millimeter wave (RF/MMW) band. The Phase I effort proof of concept demonstrations showed correlation and demodulation of >4 GHz bandwidth signals with processing gain exceeding 40 dB. The Phase II project will demonstrate continuous transmission signal generation and receiver processing prototype hardware with the ability to demodulate extreme instantaneous bandwidth up to 20 GHz spread-spectrum communications signals with long duration spreading waveforms up to 1 ms, with high data rates (1-1,000 Mb/s), and flexible frequency coverage exceeding 40 GHz. For particular intensive signal processing functions such as spectral analysis and correlation the S2H EBAC analog signal processor demonstrates higher performance and power efficiency than traditional digital signal processing. The intellectual merit of this project is in the advancement of the core technology and application to new real-world applications.
The broader impact/commercial potential of this project include opportunities for major academic and commercial developments in communication technology, spectrum analysis, and spectrum enforcement with wide operating bandwidths from 0.5-40 GHz IBW. Initial commercial market would be for spectrum analysis systems with a customer base in electro-magnetic environment testing, tactical DoD next-generation wideband passive surveillance systems, law enforcement surveillance, and intelligence community spectrum sensing. In wireless communications, this technology has the potential extend the reach of spread spectrum communications to new operational paradigms. Beyond communications, commercial applications include test and measurement systems, magnetic resonance imaging, weather radar, earth mapping, navigation, and spectrum use enforcement (the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the U.S.). The enabling technology has commercial, military and intelligence community benefits in the form of geo-location, direction finding, data selection and filtering, navigation, and imaging. With the collaboration with our university partner on this project, we will also support unique applications focused research experience opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students in STEM fields.