We provide an experimental demonstration of a direct fiber-optic link for RF transmission (“radio-over-fiber”) using a sensitive optical antenna based on a rubidium vapor cell. The scheme relies on measuring the transmission of laser light at an electromagnetically induced transparency resonance that involves highly excited Rydberg states. By dressing pairs of Rydberg states using microwave fields that act as local oscillators, we encoded RF signals in the optical frequency domain. The light carrying the information is linked via a virtually lossless optical fiber to a photodetector where the signal is retrieved. We demonstrate a signal bandwidth in excess of 1 MHz limited by the available coupling laser power and atomic optical density. Our sensitive, non-metallic and readily scalable optical antenna for microwaves allows extremely low-levels of optical power (∼1 μW) throughput in the fiber-optic link. It offers a promising future platform for emerging wireless network infrastructures.

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