Abstract

This paper provides a path for the design of state-of-the-art fiber-optic delay lines for signal processing. The theoretical forms for various radio-frequency system performance metrics are derived for four modulation types: X- and Z-cut Mach–Zehnder modulators, a phase modulator with asymmetric Mach–Zehnder interferometer, and a polarization modulator with control waveplate and polarizing beam splitter. Each modulation type is considered to cover the current and future needs for ideal system designs. System gain, compression point, and third-order output intercept point are derived from the transfer matrices for each modulation type. A discussion of optical amplifier placement and fiber-effect mitigation is offered. The paper concludes by detailing two high-performance delay lines, built for unique applications, that exhibit performance levels an order of magnitude better than commercial delay lines. This paper should serve as a guide to maximizing the performance of future systems and offer a look into current and future research being done to further improve photonics technologies.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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