In the past few years there has been significant progress in fiber-optic components and technology applicable to microwave (analog) systems. Notable advances include high-power lasers and amplifiers, low-V 1/4 modulators, and high-power photodetectors, all well-suited for >16 GHz operation. The corresponding order-of-magnitude increase in capability has strengthened interest in fiber optics as a viable alternative to conventional electrical techniques (e.g., coaxial cable). This paper presents some of the current capabilities and limitations of fiber optics (primarily for wideband applications) as divided into four areas: sources/generation, receivers/detection, transmission, and microwave signal processing (including beamforming, filtering, switching, variable delay, and microwave circuit control).

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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