Novel Highly Scalable Adaptive Photonic Beamformer Using "Blind" Guided Accelerated Random Search

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Highly Scalable Adaptive Photonic Beamformer using “Blind” Guided Accelerated Random Search for Wireless Communication


Princeton Docket # 15-3056


Researchers in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Princeton University have developed an adaptive photonic beamformer for use in wireless communication.  Wireless communication has experienced an explosion of growth in the past decade, with smartphones, tablets, and WIFI- and Bluetooth-enabled devices becoming increasingly popular.  The proliferation of smartphones with powerful processors and graphic chips has facilitated access to information; however, this increase in mobile wireless bandwidth has stressed carrier networks.  The growth of wireless communication devices is expected to continue to increase 80% annually.


Optical signal processing methods have been developed for wireless interference cancellation methods, which are important in wireless communication.  Mobile wireless data is already aggregated and then transported through large fiber backhaul networks.  By sandwiching the signal processing stage between the receiver and the fiber backhaul, processing can be easily conducted in one location.  Furthermore, optics offer the advantages of being instantaneously broadband, able to easily handle all the bandwidth from mobile carriers, and size, weight, and power (SWAP).


A novel, highly scalable photonic beamformer will dynamically change wireless interference.  A single mode to multimode combiner allows the system to recycle the same set of wavelengths for each antenna in the array.  A maximum cancellation of 37 dB is achieved within 50 iterations in 1-3 seconds, while maintaining the presence of a signal of interest.  Cancellation across 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz bands and across a variety of spatial positions proves the broadband nature of the optical beamformer.


Key Words


Wireless communication, photonic beamformer, wireless network, anti-jammer, antenna array, adaptive array algorithm, laser, optical combiner



•       Used in existing wireless networks and mobile cell phone towers for interference cancellation

•       Enhance efficiency and manage spectrum in existing networks

•       Anti-jammer for military purposes

•       Save size, weight, and power in aviation applications



•       Scalable

•       Assemble without specialized equipment

•       Use same set of lasers for every antenna element in system

•       Cost-effective, compact system with limited number of lasers required

•       Flexible, fast algorithm developed


Related publications


Chang, J., Meister, J., and Prucnal, P.R.  Implementing a novel highly scalable adaptive photonic beamformer using “blind” guided accelerated random search.  Journal of Lightwave Technology, 2014.  32(20): pages 3623-3629.


Chang, J., Fok, M.P., Corey, R., Meister, J., and Prucnal, P.R.  Highly scalable adaptive photonic beamformer using a single mode to multimode optical combiner.  IEEE Microwave and Wireless Components Letters, 2013.  23(10): pages 563–565.




James Meister, John Chang, and Paul R. Prucnal, Ph.D.


Faculty Inventor


Paul R. Prucnal, Professor of Electrical Engineering


Paul Prucnal received the A.B. degree from Bowdoin College, Summa Cum Laude, with Highest Honors in Math and Physics, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.  He then received M.S., M.Phil., and Ph. D. degrees from Columbia University, where he was elected to the Sigma Xi honor society.  He was an Assistant and then tenured Associate Professor at Columbia from 1979 until 1988, when he joined Princeton as a Professor of Electrical Engineering.  He has held visiting faculty positions at the University of Tokyo and University of Parma.


From 1990 to 1992, Professor Prucnal served as the Founding Director of Princeton's Center for Photonics and Optoelectronic Materials, and is currently the Director of the Center for Network Science and Applications.  He is widely recognized as the inventor of the "Terahertz Optical Asymmetric Demultiplexer," an ultrafast all-optical switch, and he has conducted seminal research in the areas of all-optical networks and photonic switching.  His pioneering research on optical CDMA in the mid-1980's initiated a new research field, where more than 1000 papers have now been published worldwide.  With support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in the 1990's, his group was the first to demonstrate an all-optical 100 gigabit/sec photonic packet switching node and optical multiprocessor interconnect.  His recent work includes the investigation of linear and nonlinear optical signal processing techniques to provide high-speed data confidentiality in communications networks. 


Professor Prucnal has published over 250 archival journal papers and holds 17 patents.  He is an Area Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Communications for optical networks, and was Technical Chair and General Chair of the IEEE Topical Meeting on Photonics in Switching in 1997 and 1999, respectively.  He is a Fellow of IEEE with reference to his work on optical networks and photonic switching, a Fellow of the OSA, and a recipient of the Rudolf Kingslake Medal from the SPIE, cited for his seminal paper on photonic switching.  In 2006, Professor Prucnal was awarded the Gold Medal from the Faculty of Physics, Mathematics and Optics from Comenius University in Slovakia, for his contributions to research in photonics.  In 2004, 2006 and 2008, he received Princeton Engineering Council Awards for Excellence in Teaching, in 2006 received the University Graduate Mentoring Award, and in 2009 the Walter Curtis Johnson Prize for Teaching Excellence in Electrical Engineering, as well as the Distinguished Teacher Award from the School of Engineering and Applied Science.  He is editor of the acclaimed book, "Optical Code Division Multiple Access: Fundamentals and Applications," published by Taylor and Francis in 2006.


Intellectual Property Status


Patent applications are pending.  Princeton is seeking industrial collaborators for further development and commercialization of this technology.




Michael Tyerech

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing • (609) 258-6762•


Sarah Johnson

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing •






Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Michael Tyerech
former Princeton Sr. Licensing Associate
Princeton University
John Chang
Paul Prucnal
James Meister
big data
cyber security
data security
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