Abstract

The performance of wavelength-based photonic analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) is theoretically analyzed in terms of resolution and bandwidth as well as of noise tolerance. The analysis applies to any photonic ADC in which the analog input signal is converted into the wavelength of an optical carrier, but special emphasis is put on the spectrometerlike setup in which the wavelength is mapped to a spatial spot position. The binary output signals are then retrieved by an array of fan-out diffractive optical elements that redirect the beam onto the correct detectors. In particular, the case when the input signal controls the wavelength directly such that it will chirp in frequency during each sampling pulse or interval is studied. This chirping obviously broadens the spot on the diffractive optical element array; the effect of this broadening on noise tolerance and comparator accuracy is analytically analyzed, and accurate numerical calculations of the probability of error are presented.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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