Abstract

We propose a new technique to realize photonic time stretching of radio-frequency (RF) signals by using a time-gated (pulsed) incoherent-light source. The proposed system provides similar performance specifications (stretch factor, temporal aperture, and resolution) to those of a conventional coherent system but using a temporal gating process that is significantly longer than the transform-limited pulse duration of the equivalent coherent configuration. We experimentally demonstrate temporal magnification and compression of high-speed RF signals, with time-stretch factors ranging from 0.65 to 8.66, using a broadband (11.6 nm) incoherent-light source temporally gated over 163ps. In one of the reported experiments, we achieve a resolution of 67.5ps over a temporal aperture of 23ns, representing a time–bandwidth product of >340.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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