By linking the unique capabilities of photonic devices with the signal processing power of electronics, photonically sampled analog-to-digital (A/D) conversion systems have demonstrated the potential for superior performance over all-electrical A/D conversion systems. We adopt a photonic A/D conversion scheme using low-temperature (LT)-grown GaAs metal-semiconductor-metal (MSM) photoconductive switches integrated with Si-CMOS A/D converters. The large bandwidth of the LT GaAs switches and the low timing jitter and short width of mode-locked laser pulses are combined to accurately sample input frequencies up to several tens of gigahertz. CMOS A/D converters perform back-end digitization, and time-interleaving is used to increase the total sampling rate of the system. In this paper, we outline the development of this system,from optimization of the LT GaAs material, speed and responsivity measurements of the switches, bandwidth and linearity characterization of the first-stage optoelectronic sample-and-hold, to integration of the switches with CMOS chips. As a final proof-of-principle demonstration, a two-channel system was fabricated with LT GaAs MSM switches flip-chip bonded to CMOS A/D converters. When operated at an aggregate sampling rate of 160 megasamples/s, the prototype system exhibits ~3.5 effective number of bits (ENOB) of resolution for input signals up to 40 GHz.
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