Sinc-shaped Nyquist pulses possess a rectangular spectrum, enabling data to be encoded in a minimum spectral bandwidth and satisfying by essence the Nyquist criterion of zero inter-symbol interference (ISI). This property makes them very attractive for communication systems since data transmission rates can be maximized while the bandwidth usage is minimized. However, most of the pulse-shaping methods reported so far have remained rather complex and none has led to ideal sinc pulses. Here a method to produce sinc-shaped Nyquist pulses of very high quality is proposed based on the direct synthesis of a rectangular-shaped and phase-locked frequency comb. The method is highly flexible and can be easily integrated in communication systems, potentially offering a substantial increase in data transmission rates. Further, the high quality and wide tunability of the reported sinc-shaped pulses can also bring benefits to many other fields, such as microwave photonics, light storage and all-optical sampling.
The rectangular spectral shape of sinc Nyquist pulses are ideal for data transmission as they make optimal use of the available frequency spectrum. Here Soto et al. develop a scheme for the optical generation of sinc-shaped Nyquist pulses with very high quality, based on the direct synthesis of rectangular, phase-locked frequency combs.