SIlicon Optomechanical optoelectronic Microwave Oscillator





High-quality microwave sources are required in multiple applications (radar, wireless networks, satellites, etc.). Typically, low-noise microwave oscillators are made by applying frequency multiplication to an electronic source. This requires a cascade of frequency-doubling stages, which strongly reduces the power of the final signal. Recently, different techniques to produce microwave tones via optical means have been proposed. The resulting device is an optoelectronic oscillator (OEO), with many advantages with respect to its electronic counterparts (immunity to EM interference, low weight, compactness, long-distance transport, etc).

In the FET-Open project PHENOMEN, partner UPV designed and demonstrated a novel optomechanical cavity on a silicon chip displaying, for the first time, a localized mechanical mode at frequencies around 4 GHz within a full phononic bandgap and with a large OM coupling rate.

By pumping the cavity with a blue-detuned laser, a high-Q microwave tone at f = 3.874 GHz is created at driving power of the order of 1mW. The noise figure of this OEO becomes as low as -101 dBc/Hz at 100 kHz, which is a remarkable good value for an OEO oscillating at GHz frequencies without any feedback mechanism. In addition, stronger pumping of the cavity enables the generation of multiple harmonics, thus reaching microwave frequencies above 10 GHz. Therefore, with the advantages of extreme compactness and Silicon-technology compatibility, this approach is a very promising candidate to build ultraweight OEOs, highly appropriate for space applications. Notably, the use of photonic technologies in space is one of the main activities of partner DAS.

SIOMO aims at turning a silicon-photonics optoelectronic oscillator based on cavity optomechanics – recently demonstrated in the FET-Open project PHENOMEN by partner UPV – into a genuine economic innovation by addressing its technological transfer to the space sector via partner DAS.


The main objectives of SIOMO are:

  1. Silicon-chip OEO performance assessment and application requirements
  2. Validation of the OEO in the DAS SATCOM testbed.
  3. Benchmarking against competitors and elaboration of a technology transfer and exploitation plan.

In short, the device performance will be assessed to establish the application requirements (OBJ1). Then, we will test the OEO using parameters established for operation in SATCOM environments (OBJ2). This will enable to benchmark this technology against competing devices in the market so that, finally, an industrialization roadmap towards exploitation and commercialization (OBJ3) can be elaborated.


In order to achieve the previous objectives, SIOMO follows a stepwise approach with well-defined intermediate targets. The approach, methodology (Fig. 3) and associated work plan will ensure effective transfer of technologies and know-how generated in FET PHENOMEN by UPV to DAS during the execution the SIOMO project, and will involve the following steps:

System and application-driven specifications
This step involves the provision of system-level and application-level specifications by DAS, gathering their expertise in SATCOM applications following a top-down approach. These specifications will be translated into subsystem parameters by DAS and then further to component and integration parameters by UPV.
Performance assessment
This step aims at the assessment of the achievable performance in terms of phase-noise, output power, frequency stability, power consumption and so on. Simulations will be done at photonic-integrated circuit (PIC) level by UPV and at module and system-levels by DAS, using already developed libraries and commercial software. The results will allow to establish performance limits which will define the possible application of the new technology in Space applications.
Laboratory experiments in DAS SATCOM testbed
This step involves the adaptation of the PIC OEO to the SATCOM lab set-up available at DAS facilities, equipped with the necessary test and measurement equipment required to assess the performances of the OEO at device, module and system levels
Industrialisation and product roadmap
This step runs in parallel to the previous activities and gathers inputs from all of them. The integration of the PIC OEO into a suitable package, requires a careful assessment of the fabrication technologies and its limitations, the environmental requirements (vibration, EMC, shock, radiation, temperature at vacuum, etc), the required interfaces and standards. This assessment will be done by DAS in cooperation with UPV, including an analysis of the supply chain necessary to establish a product roadmap
Commercialisation and business plan
Gathering inputs from previous steps, a commercialisation and business plan will be elaborated, taking into account the industrialisation roadmap, the IPR protection strategy and the targeted products and applications.


Coming soon

Coming soon

Coming soon


SIOMO web released

The new siomo project website has been successfully launched in July 2020

Next steps in SIOMO

Today (10/03/2021), we held a virtual meeting on Teams to plan the next steps in SIOMO. After overcoming some issues, the UPV OM oscillator will be tested in the DAS Photonics testbed. The measurements will start tomorrow. Exciting times ahead!!