Skip to Main Content
The interaction between a strong traveling microwave signal and an optical beam in an electro-optic material is described in the limit of very high microwave dielectric constant. The interaction produces effects analogous to those produced by a moving diffraction grating. When the optical beam is wider than the wavelength of the microwave signal, the first grating order is resolved from the zero-order or main beam. Under this condition two types of devices become possible: 1) a beam deflector which can position an optical maser beam on, for example, 105distinct points with negligible crosstalk and with address times of order 10-7s, 2) a baseband light intensity modulator which is founded on the fact that light deflected into the first-order beam by the microwave signal is removed from the main beam. The amount deflected into the first-order beam is proportional to the microwave power; the intensity modulation follows the microwave envelope. The power required for a given modulation depth is inversely proportional to the seven halfs power of the dielectric Constant. As an example, for a not unrealistic choice of dielectric constant of 104, complete transfer from the zero-order to the first-order beam requires 5 watts of microwave power. The interaction length is of order one centimeter and the interaction bandwidth is essentially unlimited. As a baseband modulator the maximum instantaneous bandwidth is of order 10 percent of the subcarrier frequency. Experimental verification is provided in an earlier paper .