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500 GHz plasmonic Mach-Zehnder modulator enabling sub-THz microwave photonics

: Burla, Maurizio; Hoessbacher, Claudia; Heni, Wolfgang; Haffner, Christian; Fedoryshyn, Yuriy; Werner, Dominik; Watanabe, Tatsuhiko; Massler, Hermann; Elder, Delwin; Dalton, Larry; Leuthold, Juerg

Fulltext urn:nbn:de:0011-n-5550531 (2.9 MByte PDF)
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Created on: 13.8.2019

APL photonics 4 (2019), No.5, Art. 056106, 11 pp.
ISSN: 2378-0967
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IAF ()

Broadband electro-optic intensity modulators are essential to convert electrical signals to the optical domain. The growing interest in terahertz wireless applications demands modulators with frequency responses to the sub-terahertz range, high power handling, and very low nonlinear distortions, simultaneously. However, a modulator with all those characteristics has not been demonstrated to date. Here, we experimentally demonstrate that plasmonic modulators do not trade-off any performance parameter, featuring—at the same time—a short length of tens of micrometers, record-high flat frequency response beyond 500 GHz, high power handling, and high linearity, and we use them to create a sub-terahertz radio-over-fiber analog optical link. These devices have the potential to become a new tool in the general field of microwave photonics, making the sub-terahertz range accessible to, e.g., 5G wireless communications, antenna remoting, Internet of Things, sensing, and more.