Abstract

A method to digitize the intensity of ultrashort laser pulses for high-speed optical signal processing is described. This digitization was based on the spectral broadening of a weak probe (carrier) pulse by a more intense pump (signal) pulse through the nonlinear optical process of cross-phase modulation (XPM). The signal pulse intensity was varied to generate different spectral widths that can be encoded into digital form. Using a 50-ps time-divided multiplexing pulse train with a waveguide splitter, combiner, and an array of fibers with variable lengths, a unary XPM encoding approach is demonstrated. The spectral encoding scheme can be used to achieve a 5-GHz sampling rate at a 16-level accuracy.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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