Scalable low-power silicon photonic platform for all-solid-state beam steering

You-Chia Chang, Steven A. Miller, Christopher T. Phare, Min Chul Shin, Moshe Zadka, Samantha P. Roberts, Brian Stern, Xingchen Ji, Aseema Mohanty, Oscar A. Jimenez Gordillo, Michal Lipson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Solid-state beam steering is the key to realize miniature, mass-producible LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) and freespace communication systems without using any moving parts. The huge power consumption required in solid-state beam steering, however, prevents this technology from further scaling. Here we show two different approaches to enable lowpower solid-state beam steering. In the first approach, we use spatial-mode multiplexing to reduce the power consumption of the phase shifters in a large-scale optical phased array. We show an improvement of phase shifter power consumption by nearly 9 times, without sacrificing optical bandwidth or operation speed. Using this approach, we demonstrate 2D beam steering with a silicon photonic phased array containing 512 actively controlled elements. This phased array consumes only 1.9 W of power while steering over a 70° × 6° field of view. This power consumption is at least an order of magnitude lower compared to other demonstrated large-scale active phased arrays. In the second approach, we achieve 2D beam steering with a switchable emitter array and a metalens that collimates the emitted light. The power consumption of this approach scales logarithmically with the number of emitters and therefore favors large-scale systems. This approach allows straightforward feedback control and better robustness to environmental temperature change. Our approaches demonstrate a path forward to build truly scalable beam steering devices.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMicro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications XI
EditorsM. Saif Islam, Thomas George
ISBN (Electronic)9781510626294
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019
Event2019 Micro- and Nanotechnology (MNT) Sensors, Systems, and Applications XI Conference - Baltimore, United States
Duration: 14 Apr 201918 Apr 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


Conference2019 Micro- and Nanotechnology (MNT) Sensors, Systems, and Applications XI Conference
CountryUnited States


  • Beam steering
  • Metalens
  • Metasurface
  • Optical phased array
  • Silicon photonics

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