Lithium Niobate Optical Modulator for Microwave Filtering Applications

Period of Performance: 04/22/2009 - 12/22/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Srico, Inc.
Columbus, OH 43235
Principal Investigator


This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project develops novel materials processing and device design that extract the maximum possible performance out of the lithium niobate electro-optic material. For microwave analog fiber optic links, such as for antenna remoting and RF filtering applications, the optical link performance requirements place stringent demands on the optical modulator component. An optical modulator is desired that is capable of handling several watts of optical power that has a low optical loss and a switching voltage less than 1 Volt and that operate efficiently with low RF electrode loss over a wide bandwidth of 2 to 20 GHz. In addition, an optical modulator that could offer the added capability to shape the frequency response would greatly benefit microwave filtering applications. SRICO proposes significant efficiency improvements to lithium niobate electro-optic modulators that are crucial to achieve practical applications of fiber optic links for microwave transmission and signal processing functions. We propose an architecture and novel optical modulator design for the realization of high gain fiber optic that concurrently provides programmable photonic RF filtering over the 2 to 20 GHz regime. Multiple optical modulators simultaneously fed by a single RF input are proposed to create advanced RF filtering functions.