Opto-Electronic Oscillator

OEwaves’ patented Opto-Electronic Oscillator (OEO) is a fundamentally distinct approach for generating signals, both with RF and optical outputs. This technology circumvents the inherent limitations of conventional electronics for realization of extremely high oscillator quality factor (Q) without phase noise degradation penalty at higher frequencies. An OEO with an optical fiber loop can have an equivalent RF Q greater than 106 to significantly reduce the phase noise of the generated microwave signal. Conventional RF electronic devices cannot reach such a high Q level. With this technique, a 10 GHz signal with a performance of –163 dBc/Hz at 10 kHz offset from the carrier was demonstrated. This level of performance is unmatched by any other oscillator. The unique design of a variant of the OEO, called the coupled OEO (COEO), also generates picosecond optical pulses at its optical output. The pulses generated exhibit the same extremely low phase noise of the OEO available at its RF output, hence exhibiting exceptionally low jitter. The OEO technology represents a generic architecture that can also be configured to achieve wideband tuning capabilities. The COEO is configured in small form factors suitable for radar applications requiring low phase noise with sensitivity to size, weight, and power (SWAP).

To reduce the size of the oscillator further, OEwaves developed a new generation of OEO architectures. The recently developed high finesse, high Q whispering gallery mode (WGM) optical micro-resonator featuring mm-scale size, is significantly smaller as compared to the fiber-based OEO. Opto-electronic oscillators utilizing these elements in place of fiber are currently being produced. These oscillators exhibit exceptionally high performance (phase noise at -123 dBc/Hz at 100 kHz offset) at Ka-band, in a miniature form factor, that is the size of a dime (US 10 cent coin).