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Continuous tuning & thermally induced frequency drift stabilisation of time delay oscillators such as the optoelectronic oscillator

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posted on 2023-01-26, 17:02 authored by Mehedi Hasan, Charles Nicholls, Keegan Pitre, Trevor Hall
Delay line oscillators based on photonic components, such as the optoelectronic oscillator (OEO), offer the potential for realization of phase noise levels orders of magnitude lower than achievable by conventional microwave sources. Fibre optic-based delay lines can realize the large delay required for low phase noise systems whilst simultaneously achieving insertion loss levels that can be compensated by available microwave and photonic amplification technologies. However, the long fibre is vulnerable to environmental perturbations such as mechanical vibrations and variations in ambient temperature, which result in short term fluctuations and thermally induced drift of the oscillation frequency. The phase shifter used conventionally to adjust the frequency of an OEO to enable phase lock has a finite range that is insufficient to compensate the delay change resulting from operational temperature ranges. A solution to continuous tuning without mode-hopping and to compensation of thermally induced frequency drift without loss of lock of a time delay oscillator is proposed. The basic concept is to introduce a tuning mechanism that works with Cartesian co-ordinates on the complex plane and to avoid explicit use of polar co-ordinates. Consequently, the transmission of the tuning component may traverse the unit circle in either direction multiple times without range limitation to the phase. Thereby tuning by mode-hopping is avoided and expedients to stabilisation, such as the use of tunable lasers within a control loop or precision temperature stabilisation measures are not required. The concept is verified by Simulink simulations. The method has been experimentally tested successfully using a prototype OEO phase locked to a system reference. Solid lock was maintained even when the OEO was placed in an oven and cycled over a temperature range from ambient to 80 {\deg}C.

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