Abstract

Photonic time stretch (PTS) has been intensively investigated in recent decades due to its potential application to ultra-wideband analog-to-digital conversion. A high-speed analog signal can be captured by an electronic analog-to-digital converter (ADC) with the help of the PTS technique, which slows down the speed of signal in the photonic domain. Unfortunately, the process of the time stretch is not linear due to the nonlinear modulation of the electro-optic intensity modulator in the PTS system, which means the undesired harmonics distortion. In this paper, we present an exact analytical model to fully characterize the harmonics generation in the PTS systems for the first time, to the best of our knowledge. We obtain concise and closed-form expressions for all harmonics of the PTS system with either a single-arm Mach–Zehnder modulator (MZM) or a push-pull MZM. The presented model can largely simplify the PTS system design and the system parameters estimation, such as system bandwidth, harmonics power, time–bandwidth product, and dynamic range. The correctness of the mathematic model is verified by the numerical and experimental results.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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