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Interferometric spectrum analyzer

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Abstract

Dynamic range is a key performance parameter for spectrum analyzers. The dynamic range of a Bragg cell power spectrum analyzer is generally limited by the dynamic range of self-scanned photodetector arrays. Interferometric techniques can be used to increase the dynamic range; but it is at the expense of increasing the number of photodetectors required, when the interference is introduced in the spatial domain, or a large photodetector bandwidth, when the interference is introduced in the temporal domain. In this paper we describe an interferometric approach wherein a second Bragg cell generates a spatially modulated reference waveform to produce an interference term that has a constant temporal frequency for all spatial frequencies. The advantages of this approach are lower photodetector bandwidth, improved dynamic range, improved cross talk suppression, more efficient use of the Bragg cell time–bandwidth product, immunity to scattered noise, and improved short pulse detectability. The chief disadvantage is the need for a discrete element photodetector array; when such arrays become available in hybrid or integrated packages, an additional advantage will be that of parallel postdetection processing.

© 1981 Optical Society of America

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