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Opt Express. 2006 Apr 3;14(7):3073-82.

Coherent Fourier transform electrical pulse shaping.


Fourier synthesis pulse shaping methods allowing generation of programmable, user defined femtosecond optical waveforms have been widely applied in ultrafast optical science and technology. In the electrical domain, arbitrary waveform generation is well established at frequencies below approximately 1 GHz, but is difficult at higher frequencies due to limitations in digital-to-analog converter technology. In this paper we demonstrate a method for electrical waveform synthesis at substantially higher frequencies (approximately 20 GHz electrical bandwidth) by combining Fourier optical pulse shaping (extended to hyperfine frequency resolution) and heterodyne optical to electrical conversion. Our scheme relies on coherent manipulation of fields and phases at all stages, both for processing in the optical domain and for conversion from the optical to the electrical domain. We illustrate this technique through a number of examples, including programmable retardation or advancement of short electrical pulses in time over a range exceeding ten pulse durations. Such optically implemented, coherent Fourier transform electrical pulse shaping should open new prospects in ultrawideband electromagnetics.

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