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DARPA Program Seeks to Develop Low Noise, Compact RF Oscillators; Gordon Keeler Quoted

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched a program that seeks to employ advances in integrated optical approaches to drive the development of next-generation radio frequency oscillators.

The Generating RF with Photonic Oscillators for Low Noise program’s first technical area will focus on the development of compact, frequency-agile and low-noise prototypes that can deliver outputs ranging from 1 to 40 gigahertz, DARPA said Thursday.

“Nonlinear integrated photonics provides a path to achieve incredible oscillator performance while reducing system size by orders of magnitude,” said Gordon Keeler, program manager at DARPA’s microsystem technologies office.

“Beyond the cost and size advantages, integrated optical approaches could allow tuning over multiple frequency bands and environmental robustness. There is potential for very broad impact if our teams are successful,” added Keeler.

The research teams selected to work on the program’s first technical area are Honeywell, BAE Systems, Nexus Photonics, hQphotonics and Caltech.

The second technical area of the GRYPHON program seeks to inform future architectures of oscillators by pursuing techniques that provide “even lower phase noise or ultra-wide tunability.” Groups selected for this effort were research teams from the University of Virginia and Columbia University.