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A Silicon Modulator Enabling RF Over Fiber for 802.11 OFDM Signals

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7 Author(s)
Francesco Vacondio ; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Center for Optics Photonics and Lasers, Université Laval, Québec, Canada ; Mehrdad Mirshafiei ; Juthika Basak ; Ansheng Liu
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We investigate the linearity properties of silicon modulators and show that, contrary to the traditional lithium niobate Mach-Zehnder modulators (MZMs), the third-order intermodulation distortion (IMD3) for silicon modulators is a function of the modulator bias point. The bias point for silicon modulators can be chosen to reduce the IMD3 well below that of standard lithium niobate MZMs. Given the cost and integration advantages of the silicon photonics technology, silicon modulators offer significant advantages for emerging radio over fiber applications. As an example, we examine, for the first time to our knowledge, a silicon modulator for converting analog 802.11 RF signals to the optical domain, achieving an error vector magnitude of -30 dB.

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IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics  (Volume:16 ,  Issue: 1 )