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Proceedings Paper

Encoding Broadband RF signals onto a femtosecond laser frequency comb using an AOTF for RF photonic signal processing
Author(s): Sandrine Herriot; Lu Gao; Kelvin Wagner
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Paper Abstract

In this paper, we present a novel approach for broadband RF photonic signal processing using a femtosecond laser and an Acousto-Optic Tunable Filter (AOTF). We demonstrate that by using spectral filtering in the AOTF, we are able to map each frequency component of the broadband RF signal onto a corresponding set of frequency comb lines of a femtosecond pulse train. The time domain interpretation of this RF to optical frequency mapping yields a femtosecond pulse shaping operation, which is in distinct contrast to the conventional double sideband amplitude modulation of a CW carrier used in RF photonic links. The interaction with a traveling acoustic wave in the AOTF leads to Doppler shift of each frequency comb line by its corresponding RF conterpart, which allows the recovery of the encoded RF signal by heterodyne detection with an unmodulated reference pulse train. As a proof of concept, we experimentally demonstrated mapping of 10 MHz bandwidth RF signals onto 65 nm FWHM optical bandwidth of a 2 GHz repetition rate femtosecond laser using a commercial AOTF and a 40 MHz bandwidth RF signal mapping using a supercontinuum source. Optical processing functions such as RF bandpass/notch filtering can be achieved in the optical domain using optical filters, thereby avoiding the limitations of RF analog filters. Down-conversion naturally occurs based on the laser repetition rate.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 October 2005
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 5971, Photonic Applications in Nonlinear Optics, Nanophotonics, and Microwave Photonics, 59711Z (5 October 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.648237
Show Author Affiliations
Sandrine Herriot, Univ. of Colorado at Boulder (United States)
Lu Gao, Univ. of Colorado at Boulder (United States)
Kelvin Wagner, Univ. of Colorado at Boulder (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5971:
Photonic Applications in Nonlinear Optics, Nanophotonics, and Microwave Photonics

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