Microwave Phase Detector Based on Optical Frequency Translation and Downconversion

Chongjia Huang, Erwin Hoi Wing Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new techniqueto detect the phase difference of two high-frequency RF signals is presented. It is based on downconverting the two high-frequency input RF signals into two low-frequency signals via Serrodyne optical frequency translation and optical frequency downconversion. The phase difference of the two low-frequency downconverted signals is the same as the two high-frequency input RF signal phase difference. Hence a low-cost low-frequency electronic phase detector can be used after photodetection to generate a DC voltage with a value depending on the two input RF signal phase difference. The technique is simple, novel, and innovative. It utilises the advantage of ultra-wide operating frequency range in microwave photonics and the input RF power independent phase detection characteristic in electronic phase detectors. It overcomes the limitations of the input RF signal power and frequency need to be known prior to phase detection in the reported microwave photonic based phase detectors. Experimental results demonstrate 0°-180° RF signal phase difference detection with 1° resolution and less than ±2.6° errors for different RF signal frequencies (10 GHz, 14 GHz and 18 GHz) and different RF modulation indexes (0.2, 0.4 and 0.7). Results also demonstrate the proposed phase detector has excellentrepeatability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2724-2730
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Lightwave Technology
Issue number9
Early online dateJan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


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