A new detector for optical code-division multiple-access (CDMA) communication systems is proposed. This detector is called the chip-level receiver. Both ON-OFF keying (OOK) and pulse-position modulation (PPM) schemes, that utilize this receiver, are investigated in this paper. For OOK, an exact bit error rate is evaluated taking into account the effect of both multiple-user interference and receiver shot noise. An upper bound on the bit error probability for pulse-position modulation (PPM)-CDMA system is derived under the above considerations. The effect of both dark current and thermal noises is neglected in our analysis. Performance comparisons between chip-level, correlation, and optimum receivers are also presented. Both correlation receivers with and without an optical hardlimiter are considered. Our results demonstrate that significant improvement in the performance is gained when using the chip-level receiver in place of the correlation one. Moreover the performance of the chip-level receiver is asymptotically close to the optimum one. Nevertheless, the complexity of this receiver is independent of the number of users, and therefore, much more practical than the optimum receiver.
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