IEEE 3- Microwave Photonics—Past, Present, and Future


The MTT-S Microwave Photonics
Technical Committee (MTT-3)
promotes activities related to the
multidisciplinary fi elds of microwave,
millimeter-wave and terahertz photonics.
More than 20 years ago, the term
microwave photonics was used for the
first time to describe the study of
high-speed photonic devices operating
at microwave or millimeter-wave
frequencies and their use in microwave
or photonic system applications [1].
Microwave photonics is the interface
between microwaves, ultrafast electronics,
and photonic technologies. It is
thus addressing an obvious technology
gap between photonics and laser techniques
aiming at lower frequencies,
compared to Masers and high-speed
electronics, where wave propagation
effects have to be included when going
to higher frequencies. Two examples
may elucidate the start of microwave
photonics: 1) In optical signal processing,
travelling wave devices have been
introduced using propagation effects
of the electrical waves for ultrafast
optoelectronic interactions similar to
the field of nonlinear optics, 2) the
use of pico- and femto-second optical
pulses from mode-locked lasers has
paved the way for ultrafast measuring
techniques not available in electronics.
As a result, microwave photonics
has been a key subject in the MTT-S
and Photonics Society (formerly LEOS)
from the beginning.