Gallium arsenide (GaAs) metal–semiconductor–metal (MSM) photodetectors have unique properties including high-bandwidth, linearity, and biphase response that make them suitable as mixers and programmable weights for microwave and communications applications. An optical technique for microwave single-sideband modulation that uses GaAs MSM photodiodes as mixers is reported. It uses MSM Schottky photodiodes formed in a GaAs/Al0.3Ga0.7As materials system to detect microwave in-phase and quadrature signals on optical carriers. Modulation of the photodetector bias voltages results in a single-sideband modulation of the microwave signal. Radio frequency and undesired-sideband suppression of 36 and 27 dB, respectively, were achieved. The optical wavelength was 850 nm, and the bandwidth of the photodetectors was ≥29 GHz.
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