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28 April 2009 Low phase noise high power handling InGaAs photodiodes for precise timing applications
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Time is the most precisely measured physical quantity. Such precision is achieved by optically probing hyperfine atomic transitions. These high Q-factor resonances demonstrate frequency instability of ~10-18 over 1 s observation time. Conversion of such a stable optical clock signal to an electrical clock through photodetection introduces additional phase noise, thereby resulting in a significant degradation in the frequency stability. This excess phase noise is primarily caused by the conversion of optical intensity noise into electrical phase noise by the phase non-linearity of the photodetector, characterized by its power-to-phase conversion factor. It is necessary to minimize this phase nonlinearity in order to develop the next generation of ultra-high precision electronic clocks. Reduction in excess phase noise must be achieved while ensuring a large output RF signal generated by the photodetector. The phase linearity in traditional system designs that employ a photoreceiver, namely a photodiode followed by a microwave amplifier, is limited by the phase non-linearity of the amplifier. Utilizing high-power handling photodiodes eliminates the need of microwave amplifiers. In this work, we present InGaAs p-i-n photodiodes that display a power-to-phase conversion factor <6 rad/W at a peak-to-peak RF output amplitude of 2 V. In comparison, the photodiode coupled to a transimpedance amplifier demonstrates >44 rad/W at a peak-to-peak RF output amplitude of 0.5 V. These results are supported by impulse response measurements at 1550 nm wavelength at 1 GHz repetition rate. These photodiodes are suitable of applications such as optical clock distribution networks, photonic analog-to-digital converters, and phased array radars.
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Shubhashish Datta, Abhay Joshi, and Don Becker "Low phase noise high power handling InGaAs photodiodes for precise timing applications", Proc. SPIE 7339, Enabling Photonics Technologies for Defense, Security, and Aerospace Applications V, 733905 (28 April 2009);

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