Purdue University Graduate School

File(s) under embargo





until file(s) become available

Angle of Arrival Estimation Using Spectral Interferometry and a Photonic Link

posted on 2024-04-29, 14:35 authored by Andrew J PutlockAndrew J Putlock

Accurately locating a radio-frequency (RF) emitter is imperative in the defense sector, and passive direction finding systems are intriguing due to relatively low cost. This approach involves using the time difference between a signal’s impact at equispaced antennas to determine the location of the emitter, a particular challenge for wideband waveforms operating near the noise floor. Microwave photonic systems have been demonstrated for passive direction finding. These techniques possessed drawbacks, such as reliance on the incoming signal’s bandwidth, dependence on laser power, or the inability to recover an angle from wideband pulses. This thesis presents a novel approach to passive direction finding by translating the methods of spectral interferometry from the optical domain to RF. Spectral interferometry involves interfering a time-delayed reference pulse with a “signal” pulse that has passed through an unknown system. By removing the spectral phase of the reference pulse from the resulting interferogram, the spectral phase of the uncharacterized system is recovered. This enables direction-finding for many waveforms, including the wideband low peak power chirps frequently used in radar. Incorporating an analog optical delay line into both a hard-wired RF interferometer and a two-element antenna array demonstrated spectral interferometric processing of chirped signals with up to 1 GHz instantaneous bandwidth. The technique extracted accurate delays and angles to within 2$\degree$ throughout testing. This approach only requires the imposed delay be longer than the autocorrelation of the bandwidth limited pulses. With additional backend processing, this method could simultaneously determine the angle and classify the incoming signal.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering


  • Electrical and Computer Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Jason D. McKinney

Additional Committee Member 2

Mark R. Bell

Additional Committee Member 3

Thomas E. Roth

Usage metrics



    Ref. manager