Understanding the behavior of our planet’s atmosphere and its interaction with the surface (i.e. the planetary boundary layer) is key to developing accurate weather and climate models, which impacts many sectors of global society, including agriculture, transportation/logistics, health/medical, financial, and manufacturing/technology. Hyperspectral microwave sounding is a powerful method for analyzing the vertical temperature and moisture profiles of the lower atmosphere, with high precision. Current hyperspectral microwave sounding implementations on satellite systems include bulky, heavy, and inefficient radio frequency instruments, which impacts the science mission in terms of duration, global coverage, accuracy / resolution, and cost. By utilizing advanced photonic integrated circuit technology many of the traditional radio frequency components formulating the spectrometer architecture can be replaced by smaller, lighter, and higher functioning photonic components, which can be integrated into a small chip and packaged into a relatively small module. Such a photonic integrated microwave spectrometer (PIMS) can reduce the size, weight and consumed power (SWaP) by a factor >100X, while simultaneously providing increased center frequency range and narrower frequency channel spacing, for increased sounding resolution and accuracy. Freedom Photonics LLC and Purdue University intend to develop and demonstrate the critical photonic elements of a PIMS device, to enable the NASA science mission for hyperspectral microwave sounding and investigation of Earths planetary boundary layer.
RF / Microwave spectrometers on a chip, for Earth, planetary, and astrophysics science missions on the ground and in space; RF / Microwave signal processing; antenna remoting; ultra-stable and tunable RF / microwave local oscillator generation
High-speed optical data communications; electronic warfare (EW); signals intelligence (SIGINT); antenna remoting