The dynamic range of an RF receiver is the key parameter for determining the performance of the receiver, relating directly to the sensitivity and ability to tolerate interference without distortion of the desired signal. The definition of the dynamic range of a receiver varies with the spectral environment of use ranging from sparsely populated Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) settings, to dense, high-power co-site interference in wireless infrastructure deployments in an urban setting. Traditional approaches to improve receiver dynamic range consist of using filters to either pass only the bands of interest or reject the source(s) of known interference; or using time-division access techniques to eliminate simultaneous operation of powerful transmitters and receivers in a co-located system. Both of these approaches tend to constrain receivers to operate within narrow, fixed frequency bands or highly controlled emplacements. With the drive of modern wireless communications and electronic warfare towards flexible, multi-mode, multi-band operation, these constraints must be mitigated by the development of new receiver technologies and architectures to increase receiver dynamic range in a flexible manner. The following review covers recent patents advancing high-dynamic range receiver development through the use of: material properties for wideband signal processing, RF photonic components, and reconfigurable RF front-end circuitry.
Keywords: Electro-optic modulator, inhomogeneously broadened absorption spectrum, minimum intensity noise, reconfigurable RF receiver, bandpass sampling, tunable RF filter, ELINT, dynamic range