A true-time optical delay line for short radiofrequency (RF) pulses using path length dispersion is proposed. It is an optical implementation of the linear phase-shift theorem of the Fourier transformation. Acoustooptic signal processing is used for conversion into the optical frequency domain and for spatial Fourier decomposition of the pulse. The processing of the pulse is obtained by differentially phase shifting the particular frequency components, followed by a heterodyne reconversion into the RF domain. The optical system is intended to be used for delaying, but also for shaping and filtering of RF pulses, mainly in phased array radar antennas. Theoretical analysis of the system principle is given together with experimental results, demonstrating 2-μs time delay of 0.5-μs-long pulses with maximum optical phase shift of 1.2π. A detailed theoretical and experimental bandwidth analysis is carried out, pointing to the main technical problems and their solutions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics