Abstract

We propose a non-invasive, large-bandwidth electro-optic (EO) detection scheme for high-frequency electric fields using thin-film lithium niobate Mach–Zehnder interferometers. Our proof-of-concept device is capable of detecting high-strength electric fields, such as those present in x-ray free electron lasers and linear accelerators. The proposed detection scheme utilizes an off-the-shelf C-band fiber optic continuous-wave laser and optical spectrum analyzer, which has a lower system cost and footprint compared to bulk-crystal-based schemes. Towards this objective, fabricated devices are characterized in the 1–40 GHz frequency range to estimate the detection threshold, detection bandwidth, and EO modulation strength. The characterized device exhibits a $0.13\;{\rm{V}} \cdot {{\rm{m}}^{- 1}} \cdot {\rm{H}}{{\rm{z}}^{- 1/2}}$ normalized electric field sensitivity. By extrapolating the measured frequency response, it is expected that the characterized device will be able to detect free-space electric fields up to 150 GHz.

© 2021 Optical Society of America

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