The intersatellite microwave photonics link with an optical preamplifier is affected by third-order intermodulation distortion under dual-tone modulation and pointing errors due to beam wander, which would greatly degrade the link performance. An exact analytical expression for signal-to-noise and distortion ratio (SNDR) is derived considering the signal fade caused by the pointing errors of transceiver. It is shown that, given the desired SNDR and the rms random pointing jitter, an optimum modulation index of Mach–Zehnder modulator exists that minimizes laser output power. Moreover, an optimized model for laser output power and modulation index is established. The effects of the optical preamplifier gain and noise figure on the optimum link performance are also examined. Numerical results show that the minimum laser output power required to achieve the desired SNDR is more sensitive to the preamplifier noise figure. For an SNDR of 20 dB, doubling the preamplifier noise figure results in an 8.95 dB increase in minimum laser output power at the rms pointing jitter of 0.5 μrad.
© 2013 Optical Society of America
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