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Optical amplifiers

Optical amplifiers
In optical communication systems, the transmission distance is mainly limited by chromatic dispersion and fiber losses Many years ago, these limitations were compensated using periodic regenerations of the optical signal at repeaters : the optical signal is converted to an electrical signal using a receiver and then regenerated using a transmitter.
Repeater Receiver

Transmitter

photodetector Electronics (amplification, filtering, decision circuits)

laser

These regenerators are complicated for WDM systems since each channel needs its own repeater.

TX1 TX2 TX3 TX4 Multiplexer Demultiplexer

Repeater Repeater Repeater Repeater

Multiplexer

Optical Amplifiers
Conventional Applications

Booster Amplifier
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Large PSAT

Pre-Amplifier
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High Gain Low Noise

In-Line Amplifier
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Different types of optical amplifiers


Optical amplifier can serve several purposes in the design of optical fiber communication systems. An important application for long haul transmission systems is in replacing the electronic generators with optical amplifiers which can amplify several channel simultaneously. Such a replacement can be carried out as long as the cumulative effects of dispersion and optical noise do not limit the system performances. When amplifiers are used to replace electronic generator, they are called in-line amplifiers. This is the most widely used type of amplifier since every system needs many of those

In-Line Amplifier

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Another way to use optical amplifiers is to increase the transmitter power by placing an amplifier at the transmitter output. Such amplifiers are called booster amplifiers . Booster Amplifier
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The last application is an increase in receiver sensitivity achieved by placing a high gain low noise amplifier at the receiver input. Such amplifiers are called preamplifiers Pre-Amplifier

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There are several types of optical amplifiers which are based on different physical principles.

The most widely used amplifiers are known as EDFA (Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifier) which are based on the use of excited Erbium ions placed in the core of a fiber. They operate near 1550 nm. Other ions can be used to amplify in other optical band but none work as well as Erbium.

Semiconductor Optical Amplifiers (SOA), which are semiconductor lasers where the mirror feedback has been eliminated, are also based on the population inversion principal. They operate in the 1300 and 1550 nm regions and can also be used for optical signal processing since they are highly nonlinear.

These amplifiers have an intrinsic bandwidth limitation (30 nm for the C band EDFA and the bulk SOA).

While Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifiers (EDFA) will continue to dominate fiber optics systems, other optical amplifiers are emerging.

Most noticeable are Raman and Parametric fiber amplifiers, two amplifier types whose operational principles are based on two nonlinear processes (SRS and FWM respectively).

They can be used to achieve wide bandwidths that can be used anywhere within the fiber bandwidth since the fundamental spectroscopic properties of the materials providing the gain do not play a role.

These regenerators are complicated for WDM systems since each channel needs its own repeater.

TX1 TX2 TX3 TX4 Multiplexer Demultiplexer

Repeater Repeater Repeater Repeater

Multiplexer

Optical amplifiers can in principle amplify all the channels simultaneously provided that they do not introduce cross talk
TX1 TX2 TX3 TX4 Multiplexer Optical amplifier Optical amplifier

S+ 0.35 Fiber Loss (dB/km)

Fiber Type Standard

Raman and Parametric Amplifiers (according to the amplifier design) 0.25

AllWave GS-EDFA EDFA GS-TDFA

0.15

TDFA SOA 1300 1500 1400 1600 Optical Wavelength (nm) C band : 1530 nm -1570 nm

S+ band : 1450 nm -1480 nm S band : 1480 nm-1530 nm

L band : 1570 nm-1610 nm U band : 16410-1650 nm