Microwave Generation with a Monolithic Mode-Locked Laser

University of Colorado Boulder Background
Low phase noise microwave signals have a variety of applications. Quartz or dielectric resonator oscillators are affordable but have limited performance. Optical frequency division approaches to photonic microwave generation produce the desired performance, but current models are large and complex, requiring a high-finesse optical cavity in a vacuum and active stabilization of the optical frequency comb.
Technology Overview
This invention is able to generate ultra-stable microwaves with a compact free-running Monolithic Mode-Locked Laser (MMLL) setup. A photodetector receives the MMLL’s pulse-trains and generates the microwave signals. The setup is able to achieve excellent noise performance without an auxiliary reference or active phase stabilization (). This approach is where simplicity meets performance and facilitates a dramatic reduction in size, weight, and power.
Further Details:
Free-running, Monolithic Laser-based 8-GHz Photonic, CLEO 2019.
Stage of Development

Lab prototype

Benefits

Ultra-low noise X-band Microwave Generation at room temperature
Phase Noise below -163 dBc/Hz at 10 kHz and -178 dBc/Hz at 100 kHz offsets
Easy integration with optical atomic frequency standards

Applications

5G Testing
Radar
Navigation
Arrayed Imaging

CU5146B

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