A novel optical spatial quantized analog-to-digital converter (ADC) is presented and the performance enhancements through employing this architecture are analyzed theoretically. A high-speed low-jitter ADC sampling clock is provided by a mode-locked laser. A high sampling rate is maintained by avoiding any speed-limiting conversion from optical to electrical domain in an all-optical quantization technique. A high quantization bandwidth is achieved by employing the all-optical quantization technique, benefiting from the high bandwidth characteristics of optical modulation. A high ADC resolution is obtained by using a single-channel quantization configuration and detecting a single image at each sampling step. A high power efficiency is achieved by extracting some portions of the required power from the analog electrical signal and optical sampling clock, directly. Various ADC-resolution limiting factors including the ambiguity of photodetectors, jitter of the optical sampling-clock, the limited beam deflector bandwidth, dispersion, phase modulator nonlinearity/mismatch, noise, and crosstalk have been identified and the contribution of each effect has been discussed.
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