Highly Tunable Heterodyne Sub-THz Wireless Link Entirely Based on Optoelectronics

Alvaro Morales (Corresponding author), Gleb Nazarikov, Simon Rommel, Chigo Okonkwo, Idelfonso Tafur Monroy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
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This article presents the experimental demonstration of a fully photonics-based heterodyne subterahertz (sub-THz) system for wireless communications. A p-i-n photodiode is used as a broadband transmitter to upconvert the signal to the sub-THz domain and a photoconductive antenna downconverts the received wave to an intermediate frequency around 3.7 GHz. The optical signals used for photomixing are extracted from two independent optical frequency combs with different repetition rates. The optical phase locking reduces the phase noise of the sub-THz signal, greatly improving the performance of the system when phase modulation formats are transmitted. The sub-THz carrier is tuned between 80 and 320 GHz in 40-GHz steps, showing a power variation of 21.8 dB. The phase noise at both ends of the communication link is analyzed and compared with the phase noise of the received signal with different wireless carriers. As a proof-of-concept, a 100-Mbit/s binary-phase-shift-keying signal is successfully transmitted over 80-, 120-, and 160-GHz carriers, achieving a bit error rate below 10 −5 in the first two cases. These results show the great potential of THz communications driven by photonics to cover an extensive portion of the THz range without relying on electronic components that limit the operating range of the system to a concrete frequency band.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9372853
Pages (from-to)261-268
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Terahertz Science and Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021


  • Bandwidth
  • Frequency modulation
  • Optical attenuators
  • optical frequency comb
  • Optical mixing
  • Optical receivers
  • Optical transmitters
  • phase noise
  • photomixing
  • Sub-THz communications
  • THz heterodyne detection
  • Wireless communication


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