Optical fibre is an excellent transmission medium – it has very low loss and very large bandwidth (especially when compared with microwave transmission media). In addition, it is possible to modulate light at several tens of GHz and then recover that modulation. Hence there has been much interest in the use of optical fibre for the transmission and processing of RF signals.
In the first part of the talk, some of the basic design issues for analogue links will be discussed. In particular, the effect of component-to-component interaction on small-signal, large-signal and noise performance will be considered. It will be seen that it is useful to be able to model and measure the “microwave characteristics” of optoelectronic and optical components. In the second part of the talk, various techniques for the measurement of high-speed lightwave components will be outlined. The emphasis will be on extending microwave network analyser techniques to these devices. Issues associated with polarization effects, optical cavity resonances and nonlinearity will be discussed in some detail.