Two different techniques were used to extend the dynamic range of analog optical links operating at microwave frequencies. The link noise figure was reduced by adjusting the bias point of an external Mach–Zehnder intensity modulator. The link distortion was reduced by linearizing the transfer function of the intensity modulator. Frequency conversion was implemented using an additional optical modulator and electrical local oscillator rather than a conventional electronic mixer. A microwave frequency signal transport link was demonstrated with a spur-free dynamic range (SFDR) of 71 dB in a 500-MHz noise bandwidth. A link with down-conversion from a microwave frequency to an intermediate frequency was demonstrated with an SFDR of 64 dB in a 500-MHz noise bandwidth.
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