X. Steve Yao and Lute Maleki, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.
Photonic applications are important in RF communication systems to enhance many functions including remote transfer of antenna signals, carrier frequency up or down conversion, antenna beam steering, and signal filtering. Many of these functions require reference frequency oscillators. However, traditional microwave oscillators cannot meet all the requirements of photonic communication systems that need high frequency and low phase noise signal generation. Because photonic systems involve signals in both optical and electrical domains, an ideal signal source should be able to provide electrical and optical signals. In addition, it should be possible to synchronize or control the signal source by both electrical and optical means.
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