High Dynamic Range and Low Noise Figure (NA) Integrated Microwave Photonic Transceiver for 6G mmWave Radio

Navy SBIR 21.1 - Topic N211-055
NAVSEA - Naval Sea Systems Command - Mr. Dean Putnam - dean.r.putnam@navy.mil
Opens: January 14, 2021 - Closes: February 18, 2021 (12:00pm EDT)

N211-055 TITLE: High Dynamic Range and Low Noise Figure (NA) Integrated Microwave Photonic Transceiver for 6G mmWave Radio

RT&L FOCUS AREA(S): Directed energy

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Battlespace Environments

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 3.5 of the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a compact high dynamic range and low noise figure integrated optical amplifier microwave photonic transceiver module for DoD 6G mmWave radio.

DESCRIPTION: The Navy seeks technologies that are oriented toward a deeper understanding of the upcoming 5G and future 6G communication systems which impose stringent requirements and challenges for hardware systems. The commercial state of the art consists of the 5G systems that are under development and will be deployed soon. These 5G systems utilize the lower millimeter-wave frequency low band (e.g., <6 GHz), while the high band (6-24 GHz) region has not yet being considered due to the lower transmission ranges and higher equipment density in a given area for the same coverage. 6G will operate above 24GHz and will have the similar challenges as 5G but on a higher scale. At present significant efforts have been devoted to developing low to mid band millimeter-wave circuit systems. The challenge is to develop a low-cost photonic integration of high speed active optical modulator, high speed photodetectors, and mmWave electronics. The benefit of this approach is to improve performance of the Navyís optical wireless communication throughput, security, and reliability.

To meet the Navy challenges, this topic shall be able to address Spectrum Supremacy as stealth communication for battle space supremacy; the Navy Focus Area for Expand the Advantage through increased capability; and a number of objectives within increased capability to have Navy battlespace supremacy and water-space management.

To overcome the transmission range of the standard microwave 5G network, the Navy is interested in an innovative hybrid approach of integrated optical and mm wave transmission. The new System architecture will support future 6G hybrid network systems, that will have significant bandwidth and data-rate improvements (x100-time improvement) over current 5G technology. This demand necessitates significant developments and investigations of different techniques that will enable the required data-rate and bandwidth capacities. Correspondingly, an innovative integrated microwave photonic 6G mm Wave radio transceiver features great advantages to address these issues when compared to traditional microwave/millimeter-wave approaches. Optical fiber enables large operating frequency and bandwidth for 6G networks (operating frequency from 100 GHz to 1000 GHz). However, the field of 6G is still a nascent area. To have 6G hybrid high data rate optical network, the integrated microwave photonic transceiver must overcome the crucial technical challenges in the receiver (RX) modulatorís efficiency by achieving an ultra-low Vpi < 1 volt (where Vpi is the voltage drop needed to cause a 180 degree phase change) and the Transmitter (TX) photodetectorís poor optical-to-mmWave power conversion efficiency. The company and the research institution should use the Open model base engineering environment, open source software such as C++, for the product development and documentation. The goal of this program is to develop hybrid microwave photonic transceiver modules that can operate from 60GHz (5G) up to 200GHz (for future 6G). The transceiver should demonstrate greater than 10 percent fractional bandwidth. For 5G operation, the transceiver should enable a base station to demonstrate >10Gbps up/down link throughputs. For future 6G operation, the transceiver should enable >1Tbps throughputs.

PHASE I: Develop a concept for mmWave wide dynamic range and low noise figure integrated amplified Photonic system based on model-based engineering (MBE) as outlined in the Description. Demonstrate the feasibility of developing a compact size, weight, area, power, and efficiency (SWaPe) mmWave 6G radio transceiver that enables ultra-high efficiency conversion between mmWave and optical signals using integration microwave photonic implementation as discussed in the Description through simulation and identify the primary technical risks of the concept. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description for the ground fault detection and localization system; and develop a test plan and test procedures for the prototype to be developed in Phase II.

PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I efforts and the Phase II Statement of Work (SOW), develop, demonstrate, and deliver a prototype low SWaPe mmWave 6G radio transceiver using integrated microwave photonics. The working prototype must address technical risks, validate the draft specifications, and demonstrate the functionality of the overall design. Develop, demonstrate, and deliver a prototype low SWaPe mmWave 6G radio transceiver using integrated microwave photonics at 60GHz or higher. The transceiver should demonstrate greater than 10 percent fractional bandwidth. The working prototype must address technical risks in developing integrated high speed linear optical modulators and high speed photodetectors, and their integration with millimeter electronics and swap antenna. The working prototype must demonstrate 6G base-station operation with >10Gbps up/down link throughputs. The Phase II work should also demonstrate a clear path for achieving future 6G operation at 200GHz band.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the Navy in transitioning of the technology to Navy 6G platform mmWave communication link into subsurface and surface platform. Document the design and capabilities of the modulator prototype developed under Phase II. Work with the Government to develop specifications. Provide support by finalizing and validating the compact low Vpi wide dynamic range, low noise figure, optical modulator based on needs of the Navy Electronic Warfare analog fiber optic links. Integrate and test the modulator with high dynamic range fiber optic links. Private Sector Commercial Potential: The development of compact, low Vpi wide dynamic range modulator has commercial potential for telecom applications such as cable TV, radio over fiber, etc.


  1. Strinati, E. C.; Barbarossa, S.; Gonzalez-Jimenez, J.L.; Ktenas, D.; Cassiau, N.; Maret, L. and Dehos, C. "6G: The next frontier: From holographic messaging to artificial intelligence using subterahertz and visible light communication." IEEE Vehicular Technology Magazine, vol. 13, no. 3, 2019, pp. 42-50. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8792135
  2. Kumar, Puneet; Sharma, J.K. and Singh, Er. Manwinder."5G Technology of Mobile Communication." International Journal of Electronics and Computer Science Engineering 1265. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/328e/121d173a57a6976013feb562f99557760eab.pdf
  3. Tripathi, Purnendu, S. M. and Prasad, Ramjee. "Spectrum Trading in India and 5G." Journal of ICT Standardization, Vol. 1, Issue 2, November 2013, pp. 159-174. https://www.riverpublishers.com/journal_read_html_article.php?j=jicts/1/2/3
  4. Prasad, Ramjee, "Global ICT Standardisation Forum for India (GISFI) and 5G Standardization." Journal of ICT Standardization, Vol. 1, 2013, pp. 123-136. https://www.riverpublishers.com/journal_read_html_article.php?j=jicts/1/2/1
  5. Farooq, Muhammad; Ishtiaq, Muhammad Ahmed; M Al., Usman. ""Future Generations of Mobile Communication Networks." Academy of Contemporary Research Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2013, pp. 24-30. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=

KEYWORDS: Compact size, weight, area, power and efficiency; SWaPe; microwave photonic; mmWave; Dynamic range; Vpi; 6G communications systems


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the overall DoD 21.1 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at rt.cto.mil/rtl-small-business-resources/sbir-sttr/ for any updates.

The DoD issued its 21.1 SBIR BAA pre-release on December 8, 2020, which opens to receive proposals on January 14, 2021, and closes February 18, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. ET.

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