A 1 to 20GHz Silicon-Germanium Low-Noise Distributed Driver for RF Silicon Photonic Mach-Zehnder Modulators

This paper investigates co-design of a broadband RF low-noise driver for silicon photonic (SiP) Mach-Zehnder modulators (MZM). The frequency response of SiP modulators demonstrates significant spur-free dynamic range (SFDR) reduction in microwave bands due to a reduction in the linearity and noise figure of the modulator. A low-noise distributed driver circuit is proposed in a 0.13µm SiGe process for the SiP modulator. The driver consists of a broadband LNA, an active balun, and a high-voltage swing driver. The MZM is fabricated in a 65-nm Silicon Photonic (SiP) process. The RoF transmitter achieves a 1–20 GHz bandwidth and an SFDR of 109 dB·Hz2/3 at 7 GHz and 11 GHz.