Photonically Enabled High Data Rate Millimeter Wave Wireless Communications Link
APL researchers have conceived of a high data rate millimenter wave communications link that uses a pulsed laser source to create radio frequency (RF) subcarriers. The system consists of three main components: the optical front end, the transmitter, and the receiver. The optical front end is responsible for the generation of the data-encoded RF subcarriers. The laser source generates an optical comb. The transmitter is responsible for amplifying, filtering, and sending the modulated subcarriers to the receiver. There is no frequency mixer used in this system since the RF subcarriers are directly generated by the optical front end. APL researchers have conceived of four different receiver architectures, each of which assumes a parallel array of electronic analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) of sufficient bandwidth to capture the data encoded on a single subcarrier and of sufficient resolution to demodulate the intended high order quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) scheme. APL's initial design solution achieves higher data rates due to the higher order modulation capability enabled by the spectral purity of the optically generated RF subcarriers; frequency hopping will increase communication security; and multiple user access is made possible with a single hardware solution.
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