An opto-electronic oscillator is a microwave oscillator in which the resonator is replaced with an optical fiber delay-line carrying an intensity-modulated laser beam. We consider the frequency and power fluctuations of a standard DFB telecom laser, and we investigate their effect on the phase noise of microwaves generated with opto-electronic oscillators. We propose a theoretical study showing how these two laser fluctuations are converted into phase noise in the output microwave. This theory predicts that the power noise should have a minor contribution to microwave phase noise, while the wavelength fluctuations should strongly contribute to phase noise via the chromatic dispersion of the few kilometers long optical fiber delay line. We have experimentally confirmed the validity of this theory by measuring the relative intensity noise and the optical frequency noise of a semiconductor laser, which has later been used for microwave generation. We show that the use of a zero-dispersion fiber delay-line can lead to a 10 dB improvement of the phase noise performance, relatively to the case were a standard single mode fiber is used.
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