A novel ring-resonator-based integrated photonic chip with ultrafine frequency resolution, providing programmable, stable, and accurate optical-phase control is demonstrated. The ability to manipulate the optical phase of the individual frequency components of a signal is a powerful tool for optical communications, signal processing, and RF photonics applications. As a demonstration of the power of these components, we report their use as programmable spectral-phase encoders (SPEs) and decoders for wavelength-division-multiplexing (WDM)-compatible optical code-division multiple access (OCDMA). Most important for the application here, the high resolution of these ring-resonator circuits makes possible the independent control of the optical phase of the individual tightly spaced frequency lines of a mode-locked laser (MLL). This unique approach allows us to limit the coded signal's spectral bandwidth, thereby allowing for high spectral efficiency (compared to other OCDMA systems) and compatibility with existing WDM systems with a rapidly reconfigurable set of codes. A four-user OCDMA system using polarization multiplexing is shown to operate at data rates of 2.5 Gb/s within a 40-GHz transparent optical window with a bit error rate (BER) better than 10-9 and a spectral efficiency of 25%.
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