Abstract

A linearized intensity modulator for pulsed light based on an injection-locked mode-locked laser (MLL) is presented here. This has been realized by introducing a monolithic Fabry–Pérot MLL into one of the arms of a conventional Mach–Zehnder interferometer (MZI) and injection-locking it to a MLL which is the input to the interferometer. By modulating the current on the gain section or the voltage of the saturable absorber (SA) section of the injection-locked laser, one can introduce an arcsine phase response on each of the injected longitudinal modes. By combining the modulated optical comb with its unmodulated counterpart one can produce a linearized intensity modulator. The linearity of this modulator is inherent in its design and no pre- or postdistortion linearization scheme is utilized. The results of the two-tone intermodulation experiment are presented here for this modulator and a spur-free dynamic range (SFDR) of ∼70 dB·Hz2/3 is achieved by modulating the voltage of the SA. The reported SFDR is limited by the noise of the MLLs. The dynamic range could be further improved by decoupling the phase modulation and amplitude modulation. The proposed and demonstrated configuration as an analog optical link with improved linearity has the potential to increase the performance and resolution of photonic analog-to-digital converters (ADCs).

© 2014 IEEE

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