Conventional analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) are fundamentally limited by timing jitter in the sampling source, forcing a trade-off between bandwidth and resolution. As a result, radio frequency (RF) systems are typically designed with narrow-bandwidth channels. These engineering constraints present problems when faced with broadband signals and ultra-short pulses. At high carrier frequencies, RF systems are further limited by the tuner that must mix down to baseband for electronic digitization.
The DISARMER program seeks to build an ADC with a photonic sampling source that directly digitizes the X-band (8-12 Gigahertz) instantaneously and coherently with greater resolution than a conventional electronic system. Through reduced timing jitter and elimination of the RF tuner, DISARMER aims to demonstrate signal fidelity more than 100 times better than the state of the art. DISARMER will produce an integrated electronic-photonic chip, mode-locked laser, and backend processor that outputs streaming digital data.
The DISARMER program began in 2013.
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