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Waveguide Dispersion

Waveguide Dispersion

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Blair

February 4, 2008

41

Chromatic dispersion results from two phenomena: variation in the refractive index of the constituent materials of the ber with frequency and variation in the waveguide properties of the

ber with frequency. These are chromatic dispersion as they depend on frequency, or wavelength,

and are described in composite through the mode eigenvalue = n()/c, which depends on

frequency.

In terms of the mode index, the dispersion parameter can be written

2c d ng

2c d

1

= 2

D = 2

f d g

f d c

2 dng

dn

2 d

= 2

n+

= 2

d

f d

f d

2

2

dn

dn

= 2 2

+ 2 .

d

d

f

If we recall the ber b parameter,

b=

n n2

n n2

= n1

,

n1 n2

we can write the modal index as n = n2 + b/n1 . Here, n2 is the cladding index and is material

property, b is a waveguide property, and is the normalized index, which is a dierential material

property. Now, we can rewrite the total dispersion parameter

D = D M + D W + D

We will assume that the dierential dispersion is small (meaning that the changes in n1 and n2

with frequency are about the same), leaving

DM =

DW

2 dn2g

1 dn2g

=

2

c d

f d

n22g d2 (V b) dn2g d(V b)

2

= 2 V

+

,

n2 dV 2

d dV

f

Material dispersion in pulse propagation down optical ber occurs because the refractive index

of fused silica (which is the main constituent of optical ber) varies with frequency. Using a simple

resonance model called the Sellmeier equation, the refractive index can be written

n2 () = 1 +

M

Bj 2j

,

2j 2

j=1

where j denotes the frequency location of the relevant material resonances and Bj denotes the

strength (called the oscillator strength) of that resonance. For fused silica, these parameters are:

B1 = 0.6961663, B2 = 0.4079426, B3 = 0.8974794, 1 = 0.0684043 m, 2 = 0.1162414 m, and

3 = 9.896161 m. Note that j = 2c/j . With the knowledge of n(), the group index can be

calculated from

n

ng = n + .

S. Blair

February 4, 2008

42

The following gure shows the variation of n and ng with wavelength for fused silica.

The material dispersion parameter is written DM = (1/c)(dng /d) and can be easily evaluated.

The slope dng /d = 0 at the zero dispersion wavelength zd = 1.276 m, where DM = 0. For longer

wavelengths, DM is positive, while for short wavelengths, DM is negative. The zero dispersion

wavelength for glass used in optical ber due to dopants (such as germanium).

The contribution from waveguide dispersion can dramatically alter the total dispersion seen

by the pulse. The main eect of DW on the total dispersion D is to shift the zero-dispersion

wavelength zd by 30-40 nm so that the zero dispersion in ber (rather than in bulk fused silica)

occurs at zd 1.31 m, which is one common wavelength range of operation. For the other

common range about 1.55 m, typical D values are 15-18 ps/nmkm.

Since the total dispersion depends on DW through the ber parameters, we have some control

the position of zd . Because the minimum ber loss occurs near 1.55 m, it is very useful to make

this the zero dispersion wavelength as well. These types of bers are called dispersion-shifted

bers and are common in new ber installations. Another type of ber is dispersion-attened,

such that the dispersion is held low over a large wavelength range. Representative refractive index

S. Blair

February 4, 2008

43

proles for these ber types are also shown in the gure.

SMF

DSF

DFF

Due to group-delay dispersion (the lowest-order contribution to chromatic dispersion), the pulse

spread can be written

Tchrom = L 2

Tchrom = LD

where 2 is the group delay dispersion and D is called the dispersion parameter.

We can dene the higher-order dispersion parameters

3 =

2

3

=

3

D

S=

,

With these parameters, the group-delay dispersion parameters can be approximated

2 () 2 ( o ) + ( o ) 3

D() D(o ) + ( o )S,

where o and o are xed.

At the zero-dispersion point, pulse spread can be written in terms of the higher-order dispersion

parameters

Tchrom = L 3 ()2

Tchrom = LS ()2 .

2.5.4. Dispersion compensation

Since the beginning of optical communications systems, over 75 million miles of standard singlemode optical ber (SMF-28) has been installed. The dispersion parameter for this ber is in the

S. Blair

February 4, 2008

44

DCF

Tx

Rx

is limited by dispersion, as an upgrade in capacity requires either the use of shorter modulation

or the use of multiple wavelength channels, or both.

In some more recent systems, dispersion-shifted ber (DSF) was used such that a single channel

can operate at high bit rates with very little dispersion. However, when capacity was added using

WDM techniques, another problem came up, that of four-wave mixing. The detrimental eects

of four-wave mixing are maximized near the zero dispersion point, and this became the next

limitation. Current systems use non-zero dispersion-shifted ber (NDSF), where the dispersion

zero is shifted out of the 1550 nm band (i.e. the C-band), leaving a small amount of residual

dispersion, about 2-4 ps/nmkm.

The way to further increase capacity, for both the legacy SMF-28 systems and the newest

NDSF systems is to use a technique called dispersion compensation. This technique relies on a

special type of ber - dispersion compensating ber (DCF) - which allows for the compensation

of pulse broadening in an installed system without replacing the buried ber. DCF is a ber with

a negative dispersion parameter. Its use is illustrated in the following gure:

The pulse broadening due to the rst, installed, ber is given by

Tchrom = D()L.

We therefore need the DCF to provide Tcomp = Tchrom . For the DCF, we need a dispersion

parameter

L

.

DDCF () = D

LDCF

Note, that in WDM, we need to compensate dispersion for all wavelength channels. This requires

the compensation of dispersion slope.

DCF is made by modication of the refractive index prole of the ber, and typically has

larger attenuation of 0.4 dB/km. Two dierences are used - a larger core/cladding refractive

index of = 2.5% versus = 0.37% (which occurs through increased Ge doping of the core

and results in greater Rayleigh scattering), and a decreased mode size of 4.7 m versus 10.5 m.

The additional loss of using DCF must be compensated by an optical amplier. The splicing loss

between standard ber and DCF is minimized by using an interim ber.

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