Arrayed waveguide gratings (AWG) are widely used as wavelength division multiplexers (MUX) and demultiplexers (DEMUX) in optical networks. Here we propose and demonstrate that conventional AWGs can also be used as integrated spectral filters to realize a Fast Fourier transform (FFT) and its inverse form (IFFT). More specifically, we point out that the wavelength selection conditions of AWGs when used as wavelength MUX/DEMUX also enable them to perform FFT/IFFT functions. Therefore, previous research on AWGs can now be applied to optical FFT/IFFT circuit design. Compared with other FFT/IFFT optical circuits, AWGs have less structural complexity, especially for a large number of inputs and outputs. As an important application, AWGs can be used in optical OFDM systems. We propose an all-optical OFDM system with AWGs and demonstrate the simulation results. Overall, the AWG provides a feasible solution for all-optical OFDM systems, especially with a large number of optical subcarriers.
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