A novel ultrahigh-speed electro-optic polarization modulator is introduced. The modulator uses a mode converter and a static polarization controller to change the output polarization state in a circular path, following a great circle, around the PoincarÂ sphere. Any two states on the PoincarÂ sphere can be connected. The mode converter is constructed using an AlGaAs ridge waveguide combined with slow-wave travelling wave electrodes. The travelling wave electrodes are designed to match the velocity of the electrical modulating signal, the data signal, to the optical carrier signal over a broad frequency range. This modulator demonstrates a 3 dB bandwidth in excess of 40 GHz. The polarization modulator exhibits extremely low differential group delay, on the order of a few 10s of femto-seconds, and low drive voltage, on the order of 5 V.© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.