A novel approach to simplify optical beamforming networks based on wavelength-division-multiplexing (WDM) optical sources and a dispersive medium is proposed. The technique relies on the combination of dispersive and nondispersive time delays to allow the reuse of optical carriers. Thus, the number of required optical sources, which is one of the main limitations of WDM-based beamforming architectures, can be drastically reduced. The approach eases the implementation of these architectures in large antenna arrays, reducing the cost, size, and complexity of the beamformer. Preliminary experimental results are provided to validate the concept.
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