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2008 International Conference on Advanced Technologies for Communications

A New Approach for Tuning the Frequency of an Opto-Electronic Oscillator by using a SOA
Nguyn Lm Duya, Bernard Journeta, Luong Vu Hai Namb, Vu Doan Mienb, Vu Van Lucb

SATIE / d'Alembert Institute, ENS Cachan, 61 Ave Pdt Wilson, F-94230 Cachan, France Institute for Materials Science, Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology, 18 Hong Quc Vit, Qun Cu Giy, H Ni, Vit Nam
not too close spectral lines and the second one has to be long in order to get low phase noise. The resulting oscillation frequencies form a comb of oscillation modes, the free spectral range being and the linewidth determined respectively by the short loop and by the long loop. In case of a double loop OEO low phase noise as low as 140 dBc/Hz at 10 kHz from the carrier has been reported [4, 5].

AbstractIn this paper a new method for continuous tuning of the oscillation frequency is presented. The system is based on an optically tunable phase shifter obtained by controlling the current feeding a SOA. A variation of about 500 kHz has been obtained showing the feasibility of this method. An application could be a simple modulation technique in case of radio over fiber system. Index TermsOpto-electronic oscillator, semiconductor optical amplifier, frequency tuning, radio over fiber.

RF output

HE opto-electronic oscillator (OEO) which has been introduced more than ten years ago [1, 2] is known for its capacity to generate high frequency signals with a high spectral purity. The fundamental structure of the OEO associates on one hand photonic devices such as a laser source, an electro-optic modulator feeding a long fiber loop and a photodetector, and on the other hand microwave devices such as an amplifier, a coupler and a filter closing the feedback loop on the modulator as shown in the Fig. 1. The highest frequency of the oscillator is mainly limited by the bandwidth of the modulator. Inorganic electro-optic modulators (such as LiNbO3) are limited to approximately 100 GHz, but this value is already much higher than what it is possible to obtain in case of pure microwave oscillators; and the structure is really simple. Because of their low dissipation factor electro-optic polymer materials have very good microwave characteristics and modulators operating up to 110 GHz have been reported [3]. By using this kind of material an OEO at 39 GHz has been reported in 2002 [4] with phase noise of -70 to -80 dBc/Hz at 10 kHz from the carrier in case of optical fiber length bigger than 4 km. The fiber loop is acting as a resonator but also as a delay line. According to the oscillation conditions there will be different modes, depending on the length of the loop. As the phase noise is related to the quality factor it is necessary to use a long optical fiber, but in this case there will be a lot of very close oscillation frequencies and it is difficult to isolate only one with the RF filter. Multiloop structures [5] have been introduced to solve this tradeoff; the first fiber has to be short in order to have


MZ Coupler Modulator

RF Filter


Fiber G loop

Fig. 1. General structure of an opto-electronic oscillator.

The oscillation frequency f 0 is expressed by (1), depending on a mode number k and on a global delay g which is the sum of the electronic delay and of the optical delay, g = e + op [1]. The global delay could be seen as an optical equivalent delay, leading to an equivalent fiber loop length L such as g = nL / c .

978-1-4244-2680-5/08/$25.00 2008 IEEE


f0 =


The free spectral range of the oscillator is a function of the light velocity, the refractive index of the fiber, and of the length L of the loop by: 1 c (2) = FSR = nL g For example in case of a 1 km fiber loop the free spectral range will be approximately 200 kHz.

II. DESIGN OF THE OSCILLATOR A. The different components The oscillator has been constructed from the following elements in order to get a simple OEO. The optical wavelength is chosen at 1535 nm. The laser is a multiple quantum well laser diode FLD5F6CX from Fujitsu Company; its FWHM is 0.1 nm. The modulator is made of lithium-niobate with an RF bandwidth at -3 dB of 12 GHz and optical insertion losses of 3.5 dB (ref. MX-LN-10 from Photline Company); the optical attenuation is about 4 dB. The detector is a 15 GHz PIN receiver associated to a preamplifier working up to 12.5 Gbps (ref. DAL-15-OI from DA-LightCom Company). The amplifier is a DR-GA-10 also from Photline, with a 15 GHz bandwidth and a measured gain of 26.5 dB at 2 GHz. The filter has been designed with ADS software from Agilent Technologies Company. Duroid 6010 material has been chosen for the substrate in order to have a low dissipation factor, tan, for low losses, and a high value of dielectric constant for a compact design of the filter. At 10 GHz tan = 0.0032 and r = 10.1 . As the filter has been designed with coupled line technique associated to open-circuit stubs it is important to note that the insertion loss of 1.8 dB is not a too high value which is important for the global loop gain of the oscillator. The -3 dB bandwidth of the filter is equal to 95 MHz, the quality factor of the filter is therefore Q F = 22 . B. First results Measurements are performed with the E4446A spectrum analyzer from Agilent Technologies, leading to the spectrum (Fig. 2), the free spectral range (Fig 3) and the phase noise (Fig. 4). The oscillation frequency is f 0 = 2.117 GHz as shown in the Fig. 2. The different modes are not really filtered by the bandpass filter because its quality factor is not very high; nevertheless one mode is much more predominant. The measured output power at the central frequency is - 2.5 dBm; as the output is obtained from a 10 dB directional coupler (ref. C114-10 / 2-4 GHz from ATM) the RF output is in fact attenuated by 10. The free spectral range is 400 kHz, with -51 dB suppression mode as shown in the Fig. 3. With a refractive index n = 1.46, the FSR corresponds to a global loop of L = 513 m, which is in agreement with a loop of 500 m SMF-28 fiber and all the different additional fiber sections.

Fig.2. The oscillation frequency at 2.117 GHz.

Fig.3. The free spectral range of 400 kHz.

Fig. 4. Phase noise measurement at the carrier f 0 = 2.117 GHz .

The phase noise has been measured at 108.8 dBc/Hz for a 10 kHz offset frequency as shown in the Fig. 4. There are some spurious picks, especially close to the carrier. They could be harmonics of the 50 Hz used for the power supply. From 1 kHz


to 100 kHz from the carrier the phase noise has a -20 dB / decade slope with frequency as indicated by [1].

on both amplitude V1 and V2 and on the phase shift of

v1 (t ) with respect to v 2 (t ) , v1 (t ) = V1 cos( 0 t + ) .

III. TUNING THE OSCILLATION FREQUENCY Tuning the opto-electronic oscillator frequency is an important feature. Different solutions have been proposed in order to tune the oscillation frequency of the OEO, based either on the RF section or on the optical section of the oscillator. An idea could be to change the phase condition and so the oscillation frequency, for example by changing the length of the fiber loop, and so the propagation time and the delay. Fiber stretcher could be used for that. Such a method is in fact mechanically difficult to implement. By tuning the wavelength of the laser and thanks to the dispersion effect in optical fibers it is also possible to change the propagation delay and so the oscillation condition and the RF frequency [6]. The tuning range depends on the dispersion coefficient of the fiber, on the tunability of the laser diode and on the bandwidth of the filter. Unfortunately such a solution based on a very accurate tunable laser is not really useful for embedded systems. With a three-loop configuration and the use of a YIG RF filter it has been possible to obtain a tunable oscillator from 6 to 12 GHz, by step of 3 MHz, and with a phase noise of 128 dBc/Hz for this frequency range [7]. A voltage is used to tune the filters and so the oscillation frequency. Acting on the RF part of the oscillator can also be achieved by using different switchable RF filters or by tuning one phase shifter working in the RF domain [8]. The solution proposed in this paper is based on a semiconductor optical amplifier and a double loop structure as shown in the Fig. 5. This scheme has been introduced for tunable photonic filters [9]. The first loop is made of a photodetector from U2t Company (ref. XPDV2140R) associated to an optical isolator, a SOA packaged at the Institute for Materials Science, in H Ni. As in this loop there is no amplifier a fiber coupler 90/10 has been used, the output 90 is connected to this first loop. The maximum value of the SOA gain is 11 dB. The current feeding the SOA is noted I 0 . The second loop is made up of a 5 m fiber loop and the detector already used for testing the OEO (DAL-15-OI) including a preamplifier. This loop is connected to the output 10 of the fiber coupler. At the output of the loops 1 & 2 both electronic signals V1 and V 2 are combined by a power splitter and then there is the filter followed by the RF coupler for the global loop. This structure has already been used for tuning the oscillation frequency but by changing the wavelength of the laser [8]. Here the control point is I 0 . At the output of the power splitter the signal v s (t ) is in a first approximation the sum of v1 (t ) and v 2 (t ) as expressed by (3). The signal v 2 (t ) is taken as the phase origin.
v s (t ) = VS cos( 0 t + )

VS = V12 + V2 2 + 2V1V2 cos

(4) (5)

= tan 1

V1 sin V2 + V1 cos

RF output

MZ modulator Coupler Coupler

RF filter

Amplifier G vs Power Splitter I0 Loop 1 v1 PD 1 SOA



10 G PD 2 Loop 2

Preamplifier Preamplifier
current I0 feeding the SOA.

Fig. 5. Double loop structure for controlling the oscillation frequency via the

(5) As the phase of the RF signal in the global loop is a part of the global delay g it can be seen that a variation of the amplitude V1 obtained by I 0 induces a change of the oscillation frequency. From (1) the variations of the oscillation frequency are given by: 1 f 0 = (6) 2 g
From a FSR measured at 10.42 MHz one can get the value of


The characteristics of v s (t ) are given as follow, depending


g and so the global length of the loop. The phase shift

= 2f 0 12 depends on the time delay 12 between the

signals v1 (t ) and v 2 (t ) ; it can be obtained by opening the global loop and by modulating directly the system by a small range frequency sweeping. For each value of the current I 0 one can measure the

possible to control the oscillation frequency by the way of the SOA feeding current. If this current is a function of time there will be on one hand a frequency modulation the RF signal and a radio over fiber signal at the optical output of the MZ modulator. IV. CONCLUSION Opto-electronic oscillators are studied since many years. Different applications in the telecommunication domain could require very pure oscillators at very high frequency or very precise frequency tuning. Until now the research in this field concerns globally the improvement of the oscillator; that means reducing the phase noise, and increasing the oscillation frequency. A new structure based on an optically tunable phase shifter obtained by controlling the current feeding a SOA has been presented here as a solution for continuous tuning of the oscillation frequency. A maximum frequency shift of 500 kHz has been obtained with a current of about 60 mA. Tuning the frequency by a simple control point such as a current can be a good method towards a frequency modulation scheme and this technique can be applied for modulating the oscillation frequency leading to a radio over fiber signal at an optical output of the system.

frequency shift with respect to the value f 0 (I 0 = 0) . The Fig. 6 presents the case of a current I 0 = 55 mA .

Fig. 6. Marker 1R is the reference with no current into the SOA, and marker 1 indicates the oscillation frequency shift obtained for a current of 55 mA.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT The authors would like to thank the EADS Foundation for supporting their research activities in the field of Photonic devices based on electro-optic polymer materials and the corresponding applications. REFERENCES
[1] [2] [3] [4] Y. S. Yao, L. Maleki, A light induced microwave oscillator, TDA Progress Report, pp. 47-68, Nov. 15, 1995. X. S. Yao, L. Maleki, Optoelectronic Oscillator for Photonics Systems, Journal of Quantum Electronics, Vol. 32, n7, pp. 1141-1149, July 1996. D. Chen, H. R. Fetterman, A. Chen W. H. Steir, L. R. Dalton, W. Wang, Y. Shi, Demonstration of 110 GHz electrooptic polymer modulators, Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 70 (25), pp. 3335-3337, June 1997. D. H. Chang, H. R. Fetterman, H. Erlig, H. Zhang, M. C. Oh, C. Zhang, W. H. Steier, 39-GHz Optoelectronic Oscillator Using Broad-Band Polymer Electrooptic Modulator, IEEE Photonics Technology Letters, Vol. 14 (2), pp. 191-193, February 2002. X. S. Yao, L. Maleki, Multiloop Optoelectronic Oscillator, Journal of Quantum Electronics, Vol. 36, n1, pp. 79-84, January 2000. S. Poinsot, H. Porte, J. P. Goedgebuer, W. T. Rhodes, B. Boussert, Continuous radio-frequency tuning of an optoelectronic oscillator with dispersive feedback, Optics Letters, Vol. 27, n15, pp. 1300-1302, August 1, 2002. D. Eliyahu, L. Maleki, Tunable, Ultra-Low Noise YIG Based Opto-Electronic Oscillator, 2003 IEEE MTT-S International, Microwave Symposium Digest, Vol. 3, pp. 2185-2187, June 8-13, 2003. S. H. Huang, L. Maleki, T. Le, A 10 GHz optoelectronic oscillator with continuous frequency tunability and low phase noise, Frequency Control Symposium and PDA exhibition, Proceedings of the 2001 IEEE International, Seattle, WA, USA, pp. 720 727, June 06-08, 2001. F. Coppinger, S Yegnanarayanan, P. D. Trinh, B. Jalali, Continuously Tunable Photonic Radiofrequency Notch Filter, IEEE Photonics Technology Letters, Vol. 9 (3), pp. 339-341, March 1997.

The variations of the oscillation frequency are plotted as a function of the ratio V1 / V2 which is obviously related to the current feeding the SOA (see Fig. 7).

[5] [6]

Fig. 7. Variations of the oscillation frequency as a function of the ratio of both amplitudes at the outputs from the double loop; experimental results are plotted with a solid line, theoretical curve is plotted with a dashed line.

[7] [8]

As the variations of V1 / V2 are small the results correspond to a linear behavior that can be obtained from (5). The corresponding theoretical law is also plotted, showing a good agreement between experimental and theoretical values. The magnitude of the oscillation frequency variations is of some hundreds of kHz, which is small compared to f 0 . It is so really 374