RF signal control at sub-nanosecond time scales to drive wireless communications

April 03, 2017 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Researchers from the ARC Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS) in the University of Sydney's Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology have made a breakthrough achieving radio frequency signal control at sub-nanosecond time scales on a chip-scale optical device.

CUDOS and School of Physics PhD candidate at the University of Sydney, lead author Yang Liu, said the new research that could unlock the bandwidth bottleneck faced by wireless networks worldwide was undertaken at the headquarters of the Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology (AINST), the $150m Sydney Nanoscience Hub.

"Nowadays, there are 10 billion mobile devices connected to the wireless network (reported by Cisco last year) and all require bandwidth and capacity," Mr Liu said.

"By creating very fast tunable delay lines on chip, one eventually can provide broader bandwidth instantaneously to more users."

"The ability of rapidly controlling RF signal is a crucial performance for applications in both our daily life and defence."

"For example, to reduce power consumption and maximize reception range for future mobile communications, RF signals need to achieve directional and fast distributions to different cellular users from information centres, instead of spreading signal energy in all directions."

The lack of the high tuning speed in current RF technique in modern communications and defence, has motivated the development of solutions on a compact optical platform.


This is a schematic illustration of the fast control of RF signals. Image courtesy of University of Sydney.