In this paper, we demonstrate how a single semiconductor optical amplifier can serve as a simultaneous variable optical weight and tunable optical delay for microwave photonics. The device weight, or power transmission, and delay can be controlled simultaneously and independently from each other by varying the input optical power and the semiconductor bias current. The dual functionality is achieved by combining the effects of slow and fast light with cross-gain modulation in the semiconductor. We experimentally demonstrate a tunable delay range of 100 ps and RF gain range of -6 to +3 dB for a 600-MHz microwave signal and show how the weight and delay of the device can be separately tuned. The delay range and bandwidth of the device are limited by the semiconductor carrier lifetime and characteristic of slow and fast light. As a simultaneous optical weight and delay, as well as a wavelength converter, a semiconductor optical amplifier operating in this manner can be a compact and versatile element in microwave photonics, radio-over-fiber, and general analog optical signal processing.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics