Short-pulse generation at extremely high repetition rates using semiconductor laser sources is an important capability for lightwave telecommunications. The most obvious approach uses direct modulation of the laser injection current. This approach is however limited by the frequency response of most lasers to a repetition rate of 20 GHz. Another approach to producing higher repetition rates, eg. 100 GHz, is to combine a high-repetition-rate semiconductor pulse laser with an optical pulse-rate multiplier which externally multiplies the laser repetition rate [1]. The pulse-rate multiplier described in this work (Fig.1) demultiplexes the laser's output pulse into an array of waveguides of uniformly-incremented length to introduce a desired differential time delay and then recombines the delayed pulses at a second splitter. The time delay is determined by the differential length between delay-line waveguides as well as their effective indices. The ability to fabricate waveguides to submicron accuracy ensures the time delay between the pulses is uniform within a fraction of a picosecond. A waveguide pulse-rate multiplier can also serve as the basis of a programmable packet encoder if a suitable electro-optical modulator is integrated with each delay-line waveguide.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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