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**Optical Signal Fundamentals
**

1.1. BASIC THEORIES

There are three theories that are widely used to describe the behavior of optical signals. Each of them better explain

certain phenomena.

1.1.1. Quantum Theory

Optical Signal is consists of discrete units called photons. The energy in a photon E

g

= hν, where h is the planck’s

constant 6.6256 ×10

−34

J.s na ν is the frequency.

Ex: Find the energy of a photon travelling with 200 THz frequency.

1.1.2. Electromagnetic Theory

Optical signal is an electromagnetic signal. It has electric and magnetic ﬁelds that are orthogonal to each other.

Typically, the frequency of this EM wave is extremely high (in the order of THz). Therefore, it is more convenient to

measure it in terms of wavelength. The relationship is given by,

c = νλ

where, c - speed of light, ν - frequency and λ - wavelength

Ex: Find the ν is λ = 1550 nm. Ans: 193.5 THz

Figure 1.1. Travelling Wavefront and the Wavelength λ

1

50 nm - 400 nm Ultra Violet

400 nm - 700 nm Visible Spectrum

800 nm - 1600 nm Near Infrared

1700 - 100,000 nm Far Infrared

Frequency Bands and Their Names

Near infrared band is used in optical communications, especially the window at 1550 nm is used because the

attenuation in Silica (ﬁber) is the lowest at this wavelength.

1.1.3. Ray Theory

According to ray theory, light travels in a straight line abiding to the laws of geometrical optics. This gives us an easy

tool to analyze the behavior of optical signal when the physical dimension of the associated objects is much larger

than the wavelength of the optical signal. For example with prisms and lenses. We will use ray theory to get some

results quickly

1

.

1.2. WAVE THEORY AND POLARIZATION

General electromagnetic wave,

E = E

x

cos(ωt −kz +φ

x

)

ˆ

i +E

y

cos(ωt −kz +φ

y

)

ˆ

j

Figure 1.2. Horizontally polarized Wave (left), Vertically polarized wave (middle) and the general polarization as the

vector addition of these two

1.2.1. Elliptically Polarized Light

The vector addition of the two components with a phase shift φ = |φ

x

− φ

y

| = 0 will be in general elliptically

polarized. see Fig. 1.3.

• For a ﬁxed point z, the tip of the E-ﬁeld vector rotates periodically in the xy plane tracing out an ellipse

• At a ﬁxed time t, the locus of the tip of the E-ﬁeld vector follows a helical trajectory in space having periodicity

λ

1

However, accuracy of this approach deteriorates in case of ﬁbers, especially single mode ﬁbers. Because, in this case, the ﬁber core radius

(typically 9 µm) is comparable to the optical wavelength.

Figure 1.3. Elliptically polarized wave

1.2.2. Linearly Polarized Light

In the following cases light will be linearly polarized:

• One of the components E

x

or E

y

= 0

• If φ = 0 or π.

then the angle is determined by the magnitudes of E

y

and E

x

. See Fig. 1.4.

Figure 1.4. Linearly Polarized Wave

1.2.3. Circularly polarized light

• if φ = π/2 and E

x

= E

y

= E then, E

2

= E

2

x

+E

2

y

.

Figure 1.5. Right hand circular polarization ( RHCP, φ = π/2, up) and left hand circular polarization ( LHCP,

φ = −π/2, down)

Chapter 2

Optical Fiber

2.1. FIBER OPTIC TRANSMISSION SYSTEMS

A ﬁber optic transmitter and receiver, connected by ﬁber optic cable - offer a wide range of beneﬁts not offered by

traditional copper wire or coaxial cable. These include:

• The ability to carry much more information and deliver it with greater ﬁdelity than either copper wire or coaxial

cable. Fiber optic cable can support much higher data rates, and at greater distances, than coaxial cable, making

it ideal for transmission of serial digital data.

• The ﬁber is totally immune to virtually all kinds of interference, including lightning, and will not conduct

electricity. It can therefore come in direct contact with high voltage electrical equipment and power lines. It will

also not create ground loops of any kind.

• As the basic ﬁber is made of glass, it will not corrode and is unaffected by most chemicals. It can be buried

directly in most kinds of soil or exposed to most corrosive atmospheres in chemical plants without signiﬁcant

concern.

• Since the only carrier in the ﬁber is light, there is no possibility of a spark from a broken ﬁber. Even in the

most explosive of atmospheres, there is no ﬁre hazard, and no danger of electrical shock to personnel repairing

broken ﬁbers.

• Fiber optic cables are virtually unaffected by outdoor atmospheric conditions, allowing them to be lashed di-

rectly to telephone poles or existing electrical cables without concern for extraneous signal pickup.

• A ﬁber optic cable, even one that contains many ﬁbers, is usually much smaller and lighter in weight than a wire

or coaxial cable with similar information carrying capacity. It is easier to handle and install, and uses less duct

space. (It can frequently be installed without ducts.)

• Fiber optic cable is ideal for secure communications systems because it is very difﬁcult to tap but very easy to

monitor. In addition, there is absolutely no electrical radiation from a ﬁber. How are ﬁber optic cables able to

provide all of these advantages?

2.2. OPTICAL FIBER

Fiber optic cable functions as a ”light guide,” guiding the light introduced at one end of the cable through to the other

end. The light source can either be a light-emitting diode (LED)) or a laser.

5

The light source is pulsed on and off, and a light-sensitive receiver on the other end of the cable converts the pulses

back into the digital ones and zeros of the original signal.

Even laser light shining through a ﬁber optic cable is subject to loss of strength, primarily through dispersion and

scattering of the light, within the cable itself. The faster the laser ﬂuctuates, the greater the risk of dispersion. Light

strengtheners, called repeaters, may be necessary to refresh the signal in certain applications.

While ﬁber optic cable itself has become cheaper over time - a equivalent length of copper cable cost less per foot

but not in capacity. Fiber optic cable connectors and the equipment needed to install them are still more expensive

than their copper counterparts.

2.3. SINGLE MODE FIBER

Single Mode cable is a single stand of glass ﬁber with a diameter of 8.3 to 10 microns that has one mode of trans-

mission. Single Mode Fiber with a relatively narrow diameter, through which only one mode will propagate. Carries

higher bandwidth than multimode ﬁber, but requires a light source with a narrow spectral width. Synonyms monomode

optical ﬁber, single-mode ﬁber, single-mode optical waveguide, unimode ﬁber.

Single-mode ﬁber gives you a higher transmission rate and up to 50 times more distance than multimode, but it

also costs more. Single-mode ﬁber has a much smaller core than multimode. The small core and single lightwave

virtually eliminate any distortion that could result from overlapping light pulses, providing the least signal attenuation

and the highest transmission speeds of any ﬁber cable type.

Single-mode optical ﬁber is an optical ﬁber in which only the lowest order bound mode can propagate at the

wavelength of interest typically 1300 to 1320nm.

2.4. MULTIMODE FIBER

Multimode cable is made of of glass ﬁbers, with a common diameters in the 50-to-100 micron range for the light carry

component (the most common size is 62.5). POF is a newer plastic-based cable which promises performance similar

to glass cable on very short runs, but at a lower cost.

Multimode ﬁber gives you high bandwidth at high speeds over medium distances. Light waves are dispersed into

numerous paths, or modes, as they travel through the cable’s core typically 850 or 1300nm. Typical multimode ﬁber

core diameters are 50, 62.5, and 100 micrometers. However, in long cable runs (greater than 3000 feet [914.4 ml),

multiple paths of light can cause signal distortion at the receiving end, resulting in an unclear and incomplete data

transmission.

2.5. FIBER PARAMETERS

Step Index Fiber Graded Index Fiber

Refractive Index Proﬁle n

1

; r ≤ a n

1

_

1 −2∆(r/a)

α

; r ≤ a

n

2

; r > a n

2

; r > a

Numerical Aperture

_

n

2

1

−n

2

2

_

n(r)

2

−n

2

2

; r ≤ a

Normalized Frequency (V)

2πa

λ

(NA)

2πa

λ

(NA)

Cut-off Value of the normalized frequency 2.405 2.405

_

1 + 2/α

Number of Modes (M) V

2

/2

V

2

α

2(α+2)

Modal Dispersion ∆T

mod

/L

n

2

1

∆

cn

2

n

1

∆

2

8c

(when α = 2(1 −∆))

n

1

Core refractive index

n

2

Cladding refractive index (n

1

> n

2

)

a Core radius

r Varying radius

α Proﬁle parameter

NA Numerical Aperture

L Total length of the optical ﬁber (typically in km)

∆

n

2

1

−n

2

2

2n

2

1

≈ 1 −

n

2

n

1

2.5.1. Note on Number of Modes

Only for large number of modes (V >> 2.4), the number of modes can be given by V

2

/2. Under this condition the

ratio between power travelling in the cladding and in the core is given by,

P

cladding

P

total

≈

4

3

√

M

If V is close to 2.4, then exact solution to modal equations should be used to ﬁnd the number of modes (Fig. 2.19

and Fig. 2.22 in the textbook)

2.6. DISPERSION IN FIBER

Temporal dispersion is the major effect that limits the bit rate in ﬁber optic communication system. For no ISI, the bit

rate for a non return to zero (NZR) system is related to the total dispersion by,

B

NRZ

≤

0.7

∆T

For a return to zero (RZ) system, the bit rate is,

B

RZ

≤

0.35

∆T

Figure 2.1. Constant Phase Point P that Travels along βz axis in Space; (1) t = 0; (2) t = T/4; (3) t = T/2

There are several dispersion mechanisms exist in optical ﬁbers. Depending on the propagation conditions, some

of these are dominant. Not all dispersions are signiﬁcant under all conditions.

2.7. GROUP AND PHASE VELOCITIES

Electric ﬁled of an electromagnetic plane wave propagating in z direction is give by,

E = E

o

cos(ωt −βz)

where, β = 2π/λ m

−1

is the wave number and ω = 2πν = 2πc/λ rad/m is the angular frequency. E

o

is the peak

amplitude.

2.7.1. Phase Velocity

The phase velocity is deﬁned only when there is a single electromagnetic wave. Corresponding to Fig. 2.1, P is a

point of constant phase or the wavefront. At point P, (ωt −βz) = constant at any time. Therefore, the phase velocity

v

p

=

dz

dt

=

ω

β

Note, v

p

= c = 3 ×10

8

m/s is the speed of light in free space.

2.7.2. Group Velocity

This is deﬁned by the slope of the electromagnetic wave group. When there are number of electromagnetic waves with

slightly differing frequencies travel together, the group velocity is important. This is the velocity at which the actual

energy travels with a group of electromagnetic waves. Group velocity v

g

is deﬁned by,

v

g

=

dz

dt

=

dω

dβ

In practice, no optical source emits a single frequency. The optical signal emitted always have a group of frequencies

and occupies a ﬁnite spectrum. The bandwidth of this output spectrum is called the line width of the optical source.

Therefore, the group velocity is the more realistic velocity in optical communications.

2.7.3. Group Velocity Index n

g

The refractive index n of the medium is actually a function of wavelength; n = n(λ) = n(ω). Since ω = 2πν =

2πc/λ, Therefore, the actual propagation constant β is

β(ω) =

n(ω)ω

c

dβ

dω

=

n

c

+

ω

c

dn

dω

v

g

=

dω

dβ

=

1

dβ/dω

=

c

(n +ωdn/dω)

Deﬁne the group refractive index n

g

as,

n

g

= n +ω

dn

dω

where the mode index n at the operating wavelength is given by [AGRAWAL]

n = n

2

+b(n

1

−n

2

)

where b is the normalized propagation constant. Therefore, the group velocity is

v

g

=

c

n

g

The group refractive index deﬁnes the velocity in the medium n under realistic conditions.

2.7.4. Group Velocity Dispersion

Group Velocity dispersion = Material Dispersion + Waveguide Dispersion

Group Velocity Dispersion is also known as Chromatic Dispersion or Intra Modal Dispersion.

Deﬁne group delay as the inverse of the group velocity,

τ

g

=

1

v

g

=

dβ

dω

The average delay of the signal to travel through the distance L is T = L/v

g

= Lτ

g

∆T =

dT

dω

∆ω = L

dτ

g

dω

∆ω = L

d

2

β

dω

2

(∆ω) = Lβ

2

(∆ω) (2.1)

Deﬁne the group velocity dispersion parameter β

2

,

β

2

=

d

2

β

dω

2

Now, ω =

2πc

λ

. Therefore,

dω

dλ

=

−2πc

λ

2

∆ω =

−2πc

λ

2

∆λ (2.2)

Group velocity dispersion,

D

GV D

=

dτ

g

dλ

=

d

dλ

_

dβ

dω

_

=

d

dω

_

dβ

dω

_

dω

dλ

=

−2πc

λ

2

d

2

β

dβ

2

=

−2πc

λ

2

β

2

(2.3)

Comparing equations (2.2) and (2.3), D

GV D

=

∆λ

∆ω

β

2

By substitution of this in (2.1),

∆T

GV D

= β

2

(∆ω)L = D

GV D

(∆λ)L (2.4)

Where, L is the distance in km, (∆λ) is the linewidth of the optical source in nm and, D

GV D

is the group velocity

dispersion in ps/nm/km.

Group velocity dispersion D

GV D

can be re-written as,

D

GV D

=

−2πc

λ

2

β

2

=

−2π

λ

2

d

dω

c

v

g

=

−2π

λ

2

dn

g

dω

=

−2π

λ

2

d

_

n +ω

dn

dω

_

dω

=

−2π

λ

2

dn

dω

−

2π

λ

2

ω

d

2

n

dω

2

Therefore,

D

GV D

= D

mat

+D

WG

where the material dispersion D

mat

is,

D

mat

= −

2π

λ

2

dn

2g

dω

=

1

c

dn

2g

dλ

Waveguide dispersion D

WG

is,

D

WG

= −

2π∆

λ

2

_

n

2

2g

n

2

ω

V d

2

(V b)

dV

2

+

dn

2g

dω

d(V b)

dV

_

2.7.5. Waveguide dispersion:

In single mode ﬁber, about 20 % energy travels in the cladding. This signal will have a different velocity than the

signal travels in the core because n

2

< n

1

. This phenomena pave way to waveguide dispersion. Waveguide dispersion

can be written in terms of ﬁber parameters as,

∆T

wg

= −

n

1

−n

2

λc

V

d

2

V b

dV

2

L (2.5)

where b =

β/k−n

2

n

1

−n

2

. This dispersion will be dominant in single mode ﬁbers and not signiﬁcant in multimode ﬁbers.

2.7.6. Material dispersion:

All optical sources have a ﬁnite line width ∆λ. Because n = n(λ) each wavelength will travel at a slightly different

velocity. As a result, there will be material dispersion. Material dispersion parameter: D

mat

ps/nm/km. Material

dispersion exists in all ﬁbers, and will be high if a wide line width source (LED) is used. Material dispersion i given

by,

∆T

mat

= D

mat

(∆λ)L (2.6)

In standard silica ﬁber, at 1310 nm, waveguide and material dispersions will cancel out each other. This is called

the zero dispersion wavelength.

Although material dispersion can not be modiﬁed much, waveguide dispersion can be either shifted or optimized

to achieve

1. Dispersion Shifted ﬁber that has zero dispersion at 1550 nm or

2. Dispersion ﬂattened ﬁber that has low dispersion for a wide wavelength range.

2.7.7. Polarization Mode Dispersion

Even in single mode ﬁbers, there are two independent, degenerate linearly polarized (LP) propagation modes exists.

(Horizontally and Vertically Polarized)

In perfectly symmetrical ﬁbers, the propagation constants for these two modes are identical β

x

= β

y

.

In actual ﬁbers β

x

= β

y

. Each mode propagate with a different phase velocity. (Remember, β =

2πn

λ

).

Deﬁne: Birefringence B

f

= n

y

−n

x

Beat Length

L

p

=

2π

k(n

y

−n

x

)

=

λ

(n

y

−n

x

)

If the group velocities of of the two orthogonal polarizations are µ

gx

and µ

gy

, then the differential time delay

∆T

pol

over a distance L is,

∆T

pol

= |L/µ

gx

−L/µ

gy

| ≈ D

PMD

√

L

Since PMD randomly vary along the ﬁber, only a statistical measure can be given. D

PMD

is typically 0.1 to 1.0

ps

√

km.

2.7.8. Total Dispersion

The total dispersion depends on number of factors and determine the ﬁnal bit rate.

For Multi Mode Fibers:

∆T

Total

=

_

∆T

2

mat

+ ∆T

2

mod

For Single Mode Fibers:

∆T

Total

=

_

∆T

2

GV D

+ ∆T

2

pol

where, the group velocity dispersion is:

∆T

GV D

= ∆T

mat

+ ∆T

wg

The polarization mode dispersion is typically smaller than the group velocity dispersion. Then, for single mode

ﬁbers:

∆T

Total

≈ ∆T

GV D

Chapter 3

Optical Sources

The optical source should best suit the channel and modulating signal characteristics. The channel can be, optical

ﬁber, diffuse wireless or point to point wireless in a communication system.

3.1. CONSIDERATIONS

• Suitable physical dimensions

• Suitable radiation pattern (beam width)

• Linearity and large dynamic range (output power proportional to driving current)

• Ability to be directly modulated at high speeds (fast response time)

• Adequate output power to overcome channel losses

• Narrow spectral width (or line width)

• Thermal stability

• Reliability (LED better than laser)

• Cost considerations

• Direct modulation considerations

• Driving circuit considerations, (impedance matching etc) for analog systems

• Conversion efﬁciency

3.2. THE LIGHT EMITTING DIODE

3.2.1. Basic Physics

Electron energy in semiconductors fall into two distinct bands, valence band (lower energy level) and conduction band

(higher energy level). By external energy supply (thermal, electrical) and electron can be made to jump to conduction

band creating a hole in the valance band.

In an intrinsic semiconductor there are equal number of electrons and holes. By adding pentavalent (Gp-V) donor

impurities (Ex: Arsenic, As) we can create an n-type extrinsic semiconductor that will have excess electrons in the

12

conduction band. By adding pentavalent (Gp-III) acceptor impurities we can create a p-type extrinsic semiconductor

that will have excess holes in the valence band.

Electrons in an n-type material are majority carriers and holes in an n-type material are minority carriers and

vice versa.

If the momentum of the holes in the valance band and the momentum of the electrons in the conduction band are

the same in a speciﬁc temperature, then it is called direct bandgap semiconductor.

When an electron jumps from a higher energy state (E

2

) to a lower energy state (E

1

) (recombination) the differ-

ence in energy E

g

= E

2

− E

1

is released either as a photon of energy E

g

= hν (radiative recombination) as heat or

phonons (lattice vibration). Both these are non-radiative recombinations.

3.2.2. Basic LED operation

In a semiconductor light source, a PN junction (that consists of semiconductor materials with suitable bandgap en-

ergy) acts as the active or recombination region. When the PN junction is forward biased electrons are supplied

externally. Then, electrons and holes recombine either radiatively (emitting photons) or non-radiatively (emitting heat

or phonons). This is simple LED operation. In a LASER, the photon is further processed in a resonance cavity to

achieve a coherent, highly directional optical beam with a narrow line width.

For ﬁber-optics, the LED should have a high radiance (light intensity), fast response time and a high quantum

efﬁciency. There are, double or single hetero-structure devices, surface emitting (diffused radiation) and edge emitting

(more directional) LEDs. The emitted wavelength depends on band gap energy of the semiconductor material.

3.2.3. Semiconductor Materials

Semiconductor materials are selected to emit the desired wavelength. First generation sources were of GaAlAs that

emit at 700 - 900 nm window. Later InGaAsP sources were devised they can be tuned to emit anywhere from 1200 -

1600 nm range, ﬁtting into the currently most widely used windows (Fig. 1.3, Keiser).

When an electron jumps from a higher energy state (E

2

) to a lower energy state (E

1

) the difference in energy

E

g

= E

2

− E

1

is released as a photon. E

g

is called the bandgap energy. The emission wavelength depends on the

bandgap energy.

E

g

= hν = hc/λ (3.1)

λ(µm) =

1.24

E

g

(eV )

(3.2)

Wavelength is tuned by varying the ratio between alloys, x and y (In

1−x

Ga

x

As

y

P

1−y

). From empirical Fig 4.13

[Keiser] for lattice matched conﬁgurations y = 2.2x with 0 ≤ x ≤ 0.47,

E

g

= 1.35 −0.72y + 0.12y

2

(3.3)

Find the emission wavelength when x = 0.2.

Empirical formula for Ga

1−x

Al

x

As is,

E

g

= 1.424 + 1.266x + 0.266x

2

(3.4)

Find the emission wavelength when x = 0.2.

3.2.4. Line Width of an LED

Emitted wavelength is related to photon energy by,

λ =

hc

E

g

(3.5)

By differentiating,

dλ

dE

g

= −

hc

E

2

g

(3.6)

Assuming ∆λ is small,

∆λ =

¸

¸

¸

¸

hc

E

2

g

¸

¸

¸

¸

∆E

g

(3.7)

From semiconductor physics, ∆E

g

= ∆(hν) ≈ 3k

B

T,

|∆λ| = λ

2

3k

B

T

hc

(3.8)

These are typical values and the exact value depends on the LED structure.

Similarly, the change in wavelength due to temperature change is,

∆λ =

¸

¸

¸

¸

hc

E

2

g

¸

¸

¸

¸

_

dE

g

dT

_

∆T (3.9)

3.2.5. LED Rate Equation

The injected carriers will decay exponentially,

n = n

o

e

−t/τ

(3.10)

Decay rate

dn

dt

=

n

o

e

−t/τ

−τ

= −

n

τ

(3.11)

Rate of change = supply rate - decay rate

dn

dt

=

I

q

−

n

τ

(3.12)

At steady state, dn/dt = 0. Steady state electron density at the active region n = Iτ/q ∝ I

3.2.6. Quantum Efﬁciency of LED:

Internal quantum efﬁciency

η

int

=

R

r

R

r

+R

nr

where R

r

is the radiative recombination rate and R

nr

is the non-radiative recombination rate.

For exponential decay of excess carriers, the radiative recombination lifetime is τ

r

= n/R

r

and the no-radiative

recombination lifetime is τ

nr

= n/R

nr

.

If the current injected into the LED is I, then the total number of recombinations per second is, R

r

+ R

nr

=

n/τ = I/q where, q is the charge of an electron. That is, R

r

= η

int

I/q.

Note that 1/τ = 1/τ

r

+ 1/τ

nr

Since R

r

is the total number of photons generated per second, the optical power generated internally to the LED is

P

int

= R

r

hν =

η

int

I(hν)

q

=

η

int

hcI

qλ

=

1.24η

int

I

λ(µm)

Ex: Find the internal quantum efﬁciency when, τ

r

= 30 ns, τ

nr

= 100 ns, I = 40 mA and λ = 1310 nm. What is

the internal power P

int

? (Ans: 29.2 mW)

3.2.7. Fresnel Reﬂection

Whenever there is an index mismatch and light travels from one medium (n

1

) to a different medium (n

2

), only a

fraction of the incoming energy will pass through. The power that enters the second medium (n

2

) depends on the

Fresnel Transmissivity

T = T(0) =

4n

1

n

2

(n

1

+n

2

)

2

The Fresnels reﬂectivity R is deﬁned as (referring to power)

1

,

R = R(0) =

_

n

1

−n

n

1

+n

_

2

= r

2

(3.13)

Note that R +T = 1. Fresnels loss = −10Log(T).

3.2.8. External Efﬁciency

This depends on the optical power escapes the LED. From Fig 4.15 [Keiser], there is a cone of emission. The power

that escapes the LED medium (n

2

) depends on the Fresnel Transmissivity T(0).

The external efﬁciency is given by integrating T(0) over the cone of emission.

η

ext

=

1

4π

_

φ

c

0

T(0)2πsin(φ)dφ ≈

1

n(n + 1)

2

.

3.2.9. Coupling Efﬁciency

This is the ratio between the power coupled into the ﬁber P

F

and the power emitted from the light source P

s

.

η =

P

F

P

s

For surface emitting lambertian sources the output power B(θ) = B

o

cos(θ). Here, B

o

is the radiance along

normal to the radiating surface.

Considering a source smaller than (r

s

≤ a), and in close proximity to the ﬁber core, the power coupled to a step

index ﬁber from the LED is:

η

c

=

_

θ

a

0

B

o

cosθsinθdθ

_

π/2

0

B

o

cosθsinθdθ

η

c

=

_

θ

a

0

sin2θdθ

_

π/2

0

sin2θdθ

=

[−cos2θ/2]

θ

a

0

[−cos2θ/2]

π/2

0

= sin

2

(θ

a

) = (NA)

2

P

LED,step

= P

s

(NA)

2

(3.14)

For r

s

> a, power coupled is:

P

LED,step

= (

a

r

s

)

2

P

s

(NA)

2

(3.15)

1

Note reﬂection coefﬁcient r =

√

R refers to the amplitude. There should be no confusion between R and r

If the refractive index of the medium in between the LED and the ﬁber (air) is n, then add Fresnel loss (1 − R).

Therefore P

coupled

= (1 −R)P

emitted

.

Combining all together, the power coupled to the ﬁber is,

P

coupled

=

(1 −R)

n(n + 1)

2

(

a

r

s

)

2

(NA)

2

η

int

1.24I

λ

for r

s

> a.

3.2.10. Frequency Response of an LED

The modulation (frequency) response depends on

• the injected carrier lifetime τ and

• parasitic capacitance

Typically the LED is a ﬁrst order low pass ﬁlter

P(ω) =

P

o

_

1 + (ωτ)

2

(3.16)

P(ω) ∝ I(ω), Electrical power ∝ I

2

(ω)

Electrical 3-dB BW occurs when electrical power goes to half, that is when

I

2

(ω

e

)

I

2

(0)

=

1

2

−→

P(ω

e

)

P(0)

=

1

√

2

−→ω

e

=

1

τ

Optical 3-dB BW occurs when optical power goes half, that is when

P(ω

o

)

P(0)

=

1

2

−→ω

o

=

√

3

τ

In order to support an electrical bandwidth of B Hz, the optical side should have a bandwidth of

√

3B.

3.2.11. Optical Loss and Electrical Loss

Note that, optical power P(ω) ∝ I(ω) while electrical power ∝ I

2

(ω). Therefore, optical power loss in a ﬁber link is

= P

in

/P

out

. However, electrical power loss = I

2

in

/I

2

out

= P

2

in

/P

2

out

. As a result, electrical power loss is the square

of the optical power loss (in the linear scale). It follows that loss/gain in the optical domain will appear twice in the

electrical domain in the log scale. This observation is especially signiﬁcant in analog systems.

Electrical loss (dB)= 2× Optical Loss (dB).

3.3. LASER DIODE

LASER: Light Ampliﬁcation by Stimulated Emission

3.3.1. Stimulated Emission

Stimulated emission is the basis for obtaining photon ampliﬁcation.

Basic LED operation When an electron jumps from a higher energy state (E

2

) to a lower energy state (E

1

) the

difference in energy ∆E = E

2

−E

1

is released either

• as a photon of energy hν (radiative recombination)

• or as heat (non-radiative recombination)

Absorption an atom in the ground state might absorb a photon emitted by another atom, thus making a transition to

an excited state.

Spontaneous Emission random emission of a photon, which enables the atom to relax to the ground state

Stimulated Emission An atom in an excited state might be stimulated to emit a photon by another incident photon.

In this case, both photons will have,

1. identical energy →identical wavelength →narrow line width

2. identical direction →spatial coherence →narrow beam width

3. identical phase and→temporal coherence

4. identical polarization

When there are more atoms in the conduction band than the valance band, it is called the population inversion.

This non-equilibrium state usually happens when we have three or more energy levels.

From the Einstein relations, it can be shown [senior] that for systems in thermal equilibrium (like incandescent

lamp),

SpontaneousEmission

StimulatedEmission

= exp(hν/k

B

T) −1 (3.17)

This does not hold for laser (with population inversion)

3.4. FABRY PEROT RESONATOR CAVITY

3.4.1. Lasing Condition

To determine the lasing condition and the resonant frequencies, we express the electromagnetic wave propagating the

longitudinal direction as,

E(z, t) = E(z)e

j(ωt−βz)

where E(z) is the ﬁeld intensity. Steady state conditions for laser oscillation are achieved when the gain in the

amplifying medium matches the total losses. For simplicity, all the losses in the medium can be included in a single

loss coefﬁcient per unit length as α m

−1

. Reﬂectivities of the mirrors are R

1

and R

2

. Cavity length is L. Hence the

exponentially increasing fractional loss = R

1

R

2

exp(−2αL)

It is found that the increase in beam intensity resulting from stimulated emission is exponential too [senior].

Therefore, if the gain coefﬁcient per unit length produced by stimulated emission is g m

−1

, the fractional round trip

gain is fractional gain = exp(2gL) Hence,

exp(2gL) = R

1

R

2

exp(−2αL)

Therefore, the threshold gain can be written as,

g

th

= α +

1

2L

ln

1

R

1

R

2

Figure 3.1. The Fabry Perot Laser Cavity

For lasers with strong carrier conﬁnement, the threshold current density J

th

is given by, g

th

= βJ

th

2

. Therefore,

I

th

=

Lw

β

_

α +

1

2L

ln

1

R

1

R

2

_

(3.18)

Ex: L = 0.25 mm, w = 0.1 mm, β = 21 X 10(-3) Acm

−3

. α = 10cm

−1

, n for GaAs is 3.6. Find the threshold

current. (Ans 663 mA)

3.4.2. Lasing Modes

Cavity length L must be an integer m number of half wavelengths for a standing wave pattern,

2β

m

L = 2πm

where β

m

= k

m

n = 2πn/λ

m

is the propagation condition in mediumn corresponding to the m

th

mode. Substituting,

2nL

λ

m

= m

Since c = νλ

2

I = J ×L ×w = J ×theareaoftheopticalcavity for a laser and LED

m =

2Ln

c

ν

m

m−1 =

2Ln

c

ν

m−1

Subtracting,

∆ν = ν

m

−ν

m−1

=

c

2Ln

Since ∆ν/ν = ∆λ/λ,

∆λ =

λ

2

2Ln

This is the spectral separation between the stable modes in a Fabry Perot cavity.

The relationship between gain and frequency can be assumed to have the Gaussian form

g(λ) = g(0)exp

_

−

(λ −λ

0

)

2

2σ

2

λ

_

(3.19)

where λ

0

is the wavelength at the center (with the highest gain of g(0)), σ

λ

is the factor that controls the width of the

gain envelope. This is related to the RMS line width of the laser. g(0) is the maximum gain that is proportional to the

population inversion.

3.4.3. Laser Rate Equations

The total carrier population inside a semiconductor laser diode is determined by three processes: carrier injection,

spontaneous recombination and stimulated emission. For a PN junction with a carrier conﬁnement region of depth d,

the laser rate equations are given by the following. These two equations govern the dynamic nature of the laser during

time varying injected current

dΦ

dt

= CNΦ +R

sp

−

Φ

τ

ph

(3.20)

Rate of change of photons = Stimulated emissions + spontaneous emission - Photon loss

dN

dt

=

J

qd

−

N

τ

sp

−CNΦ (3.21)

Rate of change of electrons = injection - spontaneous recombination - stimulated emission

N Number of electrons

Φ Number of Photons

C Einsteins Coefﬁcient

τ

ph

Photon lifetime

R

sp

Rate of spontaneous emission

τ

sp

spontaneous recombination lifetime

J Injection current density

q Electron Charge

The rate of change dφ/dt > 0 for stimulated emission to start, that is

CN −1/τ

ph

≥ 0

This condition will be satisﬁed for N > N

th

, where the threshold point is given by N = N

th

. The value for N

th

is obtained by setting the rate of change to zero. Therefore, from Equation (3.21) neglecting R

sp

,

N

th

τ

sp

=

J

th

qd

(3.22)

This expression deﬁnes a value for the threshold current density J

th

above which the stimulated emission will be

predominant.

Above the threshold point however, the electron density does not signiﬁcantly increase and remains at N

th

. There-

fore, at steady state condition above threshold, by substitution of (3.22) in (3.20) and (3.21),

0 = CN

th

Φ

s

+R

sp

−

Φ

s

τ

ph

0 =

J

qd

−

N

th

τ

sp

−CN

th

Φ

s

where Φ

s

is the steady state photon density. Adding these two equations and substituting from (3.22) yield,

0 = R

sp

−

Φ

s

τ

ph

+

J

qd

−

N

th

τ

sp

Φ

s

=

τ

ph

qd

(J −J

th

) +τ

ph

R

sp

(3.23)

The ﬁrst term is the number of photons emitted through stimulation and the second term is the spontaneous emission

term (which is often ignored).

3.4.4. External Quantum Efﬁciency

This is calculated from the straight line portion of the power transfer curve of the laser diode,

η

ext

=

q

E

g

dP

dI

= 0.8065λ(µm)

dP(mW)

dI(mA)

(3.24)

3.4.5. Single Mode Lasers

By having built in frequency selective reﬂectors, it is possible create positive feedback conditions for only a single

mode. In the most widely used distributed feedback lasers (DFB) this is achieved by having Bragg grating written

in the active region. The Bragg wavelength is given by,

λ

B

=

2n

e

Λ

k

(3.25)

Typically ﬁrst order is used (k=1). n

e

is the effective refractive index and Λ is the grating period.

3.4.6. Analog Modulation

At this point it is worth to mention that the optical power emitted in to the ﬁber is constant in a directly modulated

analog ﬁber optic link despite the variations in the RF power. The optical power output is only proportional to the DC

bias current, which is typically kept constant. With typical modulation depths (say at 0.3), the peak of the modulated

optical intensity does not exceed 30 % of the mean value.

Chapter 4

Optical Receiver and Various Noise Sources

The receiver is typically wide band and cost effective compared to laser in ﬁber optic links. Typically the performance

of commercial receivers are adequate for most applications. Let us brieﬂy review the concerns of optical receivers.

Noise, sensitivity at high power levels, and frequency response (speed) are the primary concerns with optical re-

ceivers. High bandwidth detectors, though commercially available, come with a penalty of low responsivity. This

is because high bandwidth detectors tend to have smaller photosensitive areas which, limit the power conversion

efﬁciency. On the other hand, large area detectors have high junction-capacitance which, limits the bandwidth. Fur-

thermore, even the same photo detector is more nonlinear at higher frequencies than at low frequencies. For example,

high power detectors with a maximumphotocurrent of 150 mAhave only about 295 MHz bandwidth, while high-speed

detectors with a 50 GHz bandwidth have only about 1-2 mA photocurrent, as reported in [Charles COX].

4.1. CONSIDERATIONS

• High sensitivity (responsivity)at the desired wavelength and low responsivity elsewhere

• Low noise

• Reasonable cost

• Fast response time (high bandwidth)

• Insensitive to temperature variations

• Compatible physical dimensions

• Long operating life

4.2. PIN AND AVALANCHE PHOTO DIODE

Two type of detectors, namely the positive-intrinsic-negative (PIN) and the avalanche photo diodes (APD), are mostly

used in ﬁber optic receivers. As the name implies the APD has a self multiplying mechanism so that it has high gain.

The tradeoff of having the gain is the ‘excess noise’ due to random nature of the self multiplying process. Compared

to short wavelengths (say 800 nm), at high wavelengths (say 1310 and 1550 nm), APD’s have the same excess noise,

but they have an order of magnitude lower avalanche gain. Therefore, APD’s have relatively low responsivity at longer

wavelengths.

21

Figure 4.1. Comparison of the responsivity for different PIN photodiodes

4.2.1. PIN Photo Diode

This is the most widely used photodiode. The device consists of a p and n type semiconductor regions separated by

an intrinsic (pure, actually very lightly n-doped) layer. A photodiode is normally reverse biased at optical receivers.

Incident photons will supply enough energy for electron-hole recombination that will trigger an external photocurrent.

Incident optical radiation is absorbed in the semiconductor material according to the exponential law,

P(x) = P

o

(1 −e

−α

s

(λ)x

) (4.1)

Here α

s

(λ) is the absorption coefﬁcient, P

o

is the incident optical power. Note that the absorption coefﬁcient α

s

(λ)

quickly becomes vary large for small λ (Fig. 6.3 - Keiser). This phenomena determines the lower wavelength at which

a photodiode has reasonable responsivity.

The incident photons should have enough energy to trigger recombination. This factor deﬁnes an upper cut-off

wavelength beyond which the responsivity of the photodiode drastically drops (Fig. 4.1). The upper cut-off wavelength

depends on the bandgap energy of the semiconductor material. Note that, typically the responsive-linewidth of a

photodiode is an order of magnitude larger (typ. 500 nm) than the linewidth of an LED.

λ

c

(µm) =

1.24

E

g

(eV )

(4.2)

If the depletion region has a width w then the total power absorbed is P(w) = P

o

(1 − e

−α

s

(λ)w

)(1 − R), where

R is the Fresnel reﬂectivity. The current generated is:

I

p

= q(number of electrons) =

q

hν

P

o

(1 −e

−α

s

(λ)w

)(1 −R) (4.3)

Quantum efﬁciency η is the ratio between number of electrons generated and the number of incident photons,

η =

I

p

/q

P

o

/hν

(4.4)

Responsivity of the photodiode in mA/mW is deﬁned as,

=

I

p

P

o

=

ηq

hν

=

q

hν

(1 −e

−α

s

(λ)w

)(1 −R) (4.5)

Fig. 6-4 (Keiser) shows the relationship between and wavelength for some semiconductor material.

4.2.2. Avalanche Photodiode (APD)

• APD achieves high sensitivity by having an internal gain.

• This internal gain is obtained by having a high electric ﬁeld that energizes photo-generated electrons and holes

• These electrons and holes ionize bound electrons in the valence band upon colliding with them

• This mechanism is known as impact ionization

• The newly generated electrons and holes are also accelerated by the high electric ﬁeld

• They gain enough energy to cause further impact ionization

• This phenomena is the avalanche effect

The avalanche gain M is deﬁned by,

M =

I

M

I

p

where I

M

is the multiplied current and I

p

original photocurrent. Therefore,

APD

= M

PIN

. Note that M is a

statistical quantity because of the random nature of avalanche multiplication process.

4.3. A CONVENTION ON NOTATIONS

• The direct current value is denoted by, I

P

; capitol main entry and capital sufﬁx.

• The time varying (either randomly or periodically) current with a non-zero mean is denoted by, I

p

capitol main

entry and small sufﬁx.

• The time varying (either randomly or periodically) current with a zero mean is denoted by, i

p

small main entry

and small sufﬁx.

• Therefore, the total current I

p

is the sum of the DC component I

P

and the AC component i

p

.

I

p

= I

P

+i

p

(4.6)

4.4. NOISE IN PHOTONIC RECEIVERS

Signal to noise ration of a photodiode decides its performance. To have a high SNR,

1. The detector should have high responsivity

2. The noise should by minimal

In a typical PIN diode receiver, there are three major noise mechanisms. Namely, shot noise, thermal noise and

the dark current noise. All these noise mechanisms are unavoidable. However, their relative importance depends on a

particular design.

4.4.1. Quantum (Shot) Noise

Light is composed of photons, which are discrete packets of energy. Thus, the randomness of the arrival time of

each photon generates a random noise component at the output current of the photo diode which, is referred to as the

quantum or shot noise. The shot noise is proportional to the average value of the optical signal. For a PIN diode, the

shot noise power is given by,

¸

i

2

Q

_

= 2qP

o

B = 2qI

P

B (4.7)

where, P

o

is the optical power at the detector, q is the charge of an electron, B is the bandwidth of interest and is the

photo diode responsivity. The detector current, which is denoted by I

p

, is responsivity times P

o

. That is I

p

= P

o

.

For avalanche photodiodes,

¸

i

2

Q

_

= 2qI

P

BM

2

F(M) (4.8)

where, M is the avalanche noise and F(M) is the excess noise (or noise ﬁgure). Both these are unity for PIN diodes.

4.4.2. Thermal Noise

Thermal noise is due to the resistive elements in the receiver ampliﬁer. The thermal noise is independent to the optical

signal level but increase with the temperature. The thermal noise power is given by,

¸

i

2

T

_

= 4K

B

T

o

B/R

L

(4.9)

where, T

o

is the absolute temperature in Kelvin and K

B

is the Boltzman constant and R

L

is the receiver load im-

pedance.

4.4.3. Dark Current Noise

Even in absolute dark, there is a very small current from the photodiode due various leakage effects. There are two,

bulk and surface dark currents The noise power associated with the bulk dark current is given by,

¸

i

2

DB

_

= 2qI

D

M

2

F(M)B (4.10)

where I

D

is the dark current. Note that this undergoes the avalanche multiplication process. The noise power due to

the surface leakage current is,

¸

i

2

DS

_

= 2qI

L

B (4.11)

where, I

L

is the surface leakage current. Typically, the i

DS

term is negligible compared to i

DB

.

Usually the combination of all these noise are speciﬁed by the manufacturer and called EIN, i.e. equivalent input

noise. For example, a typical value for a DFB laser transmitter and a PIN diode receiver, the total EIN is speciﬁed as

-125 dBm/Hz. This has to be multiplied with the used bandwidth to obtain actual noise power.

4.4.4. Interferometric Noise (IN)

Interferometric noise can appear in an optical system when the received signal is accompanied by weak delayed replica

of itself or other light wave components. These doubly reﬂected signals mix electrically with the original signal and

cause an excess noise. Reﬂections arise either from discrete reﬂectors such as splices and connectors or by Rayleigh

scattering within the ﬁber itself.

Basically when the ﬁber has poor connectors or very long with high optical power, the IN becomes signiﬁcant.

For the ﬁber lengths less than 20 km the Rayleigh scatter introduced Interferometric noise is negligible. Furthermore,

if the number of connectors that have a back reﬂection factor of -35 dB or better is less than 17, then the discrete

reﬂection effect is also negligible [Shibutani].

4.4.5. Relative Intensity Noise (RIN)

The RIN exists only in analog systems when the laser is always on. In this case, the light produced by the laser is not

stable in intensity. The basic physical mechanism of a laser is ampliﬁcation by stimulated emission, which is random

in nature. This randomness introduces a noise that increases with the optical power. The noise due to multiple optical

reﬂections (Interferometric noise) and Brillouin scattering also increase with optical power. All these noise processes

can be grouped together as relative intensity noise (RIN). A ﬂuctuation in the optical output intensity due to multiple

reﬂections in ﬁber optic link leads to this optical intensity noise. The noise power due to RIN is given as, where m is

the modulation index, P

o

is the mean optical power and s(t) is the modulating (electrical) signal.

i

2

RIN

(t) = P

RIN

2

P

2

o

M

2

F(M)B

_

1 +m

2

¸

s

2

(t)

_¸

(4.12)

Typically, a RIN parameter P

RIN

is speciﬁed for a given laser diode in dBm/Hz, for example -155 dBm/Hz. This

expression is more accurate than the widely used expression for the variance of the RIN. Many authors have omitted

the second term m

2

s

2

(t). This is acceptable because, most of the time m is in the range of 0.1 and s(t) << 1 so

that, this term is insigniﬁcant. However, with higher values of m and s(t) this term is not negligible. We include this

term because with nonlinearity compensation schemes, m can be higher. Furthermore, the expression in (4.12) better

explains, some empirical results.

4.5. THE SIGNAL TO NOISE RATIO

4.5.1. Digital Systems

The complete signal to noise ratio of a digital ﬁber optic link considering all these noise processes is given below

where, F is the receiver ampliﬁer noise ﬁgure.

SNR =

M

2

i

2

p

2qBM

2

F(M)(I

p

+I

D

) + 2qI

L

B + 4FK

B

T

o

B/R

L

(4.13)

The dark current I

D

is typically in the order of nano-Amps. The detected current I

D

is typically in milli-Amps

range since the optical power in this applications is in mW range and the responsivity lies between zero and one

mA/mW. Therefore, the dark current term is neglected without any loss in accuracy.

Furthermore, experimentally it has been shown that the avalanche noise ﬁgure F(M) ≈ M

x

. The parameter x

takes the value of 0.3 for Si, 0.7 for GaAs and 1.0 for Ge avalanche photodiodes. Hence, the modiﬁed signal to noise

ratio due to the receiver noises is given by,

SNR ≈

M

2

i

2

p

2qBM

x+2

I

p

+ 4FK

B

T

o

B/R

L

(4.14)

4.5.2. Analog Systems

Analog systems differ from digital systems in following aspects:

• The LASER or LED is always on. Therefore, there is a large mean optical power, say P

o

.

• A relatively small ac component is superimposed on top of this mean value.

• There will be RIN in addition to other noise.

Considering direct intensity modulation on the laser diode, the instantaneous optical power output P(t) from the

laser in response to input electrical signal s(t) is (|s(t)| ≤ 1),

P(t) = P

o

[1 +ms(t)] (4.15)

Here m is the optical modulation index, P

o

is the mean optical power. Neglecting attenuation in the ﬁber, detector

current I

p

(t) is,

I

p

(t) = MP

o

[1 +ms(t)] = I

P

M[1 +ms(t)]

I

2

p

(t) = M

2

I

2

P

[1 +ms(t)]

2

The signal power i

2

p

(t) = M

2

m

2

I

2

p

s

2

(t)

The complete signal to noise ratio of an analog ﬁber optic link considering all these noise processes is given below.

SNR =

M

2

m

2

I

2

P

s

2

(t)

2qBM

2

F(M)(I

P

+I

D

) + 2qI

L

B + 4FK

B

T

o

B/R

L

+P

RIN

I

2

P

M

2

F(M)B[1 +m

2

E[s

2

(t)]]

(4.16)

This can be approximated to,

SNR =

M

2

m

2

I

2

P

s

2

(t)

2qBM

2

F(M)I

P

+ 4FK

B

T

o

B/R

L

+P

RIN

I

2

P

M

2

F(M)B[1 +m

2

E[s

2

(t)]]

(4.17)

4.5.2.1. Quantitative Discussion

There are several noise terms involved in the expression given. Namely shot, RIN and thermal noises. Thermal noise

has a constant variance and depends on the receiver resistance only. This has a white spectrum. The variance of the

shot noise is linearly proportional to mean optical power in the ﬁber. Although the instantaneous optical power in the

ﬁber ﬂuctuates due to RF intensity modulation, the mean optical power does not change unless the DC bias current is

changed. Therefore, the shot noise does not change with modulating signal power and constant for a given modulation

depth m. However, the RIN changes with RF signal level. This is seen from the expression in (4.12). This is also

logical because, the RIN is proportional to the square of the optical power. Since, the instantaneous optical power in

the ﬁber ﬂuctuates at radio frequency, the square of it increases with RF signal level depending on m.

The following additional points are observed from the expression for signal to noise ratio:

1. The higher the bandwidth B of s(t), the lower the SNR because, the wider noise bandwidth in the optical link

collects more noise.

2. The higher modulation index m yields better SNR. This is because more power is contained in the side bands

compared to the unmodulated carrier. However, nonlinear effects limit m to a lower value (m < 0.3).

If the thermal noise at the receiver ampliﬁer is made small enough due to an improved design, then (??) becomes,

SNR =

M

2

m

2

I

2

P

s

2

(t)

2qBM

2

F(M)I

P

+P

RIN

I

2

P

M

2

F(M)B[1 +m

2

E[s

2

(t)]]

(4.18)

From (4.18) we deduce that,

1. In the shot noise limited case

SNR =

m

2

I

P

s

2

(t)

2qBF(M)

That is, SNR increases with mean detected current I

P

. Mean detected current is proportional to mean optical

power P

o

. However, large P

o

means relatively low m. Therefore, there is an optimum m in the shot noise

limited case that will give the highest SNR.

2. In the RIN limited case,

SNR =

m

2

s

2

(t)

P

RIN

F(M)[1 +m

2

s

2

(t)B

≈

m

2

s

2

(t)B

P

RIN

F(M)B

That is the SNR is independent to mean optical power and increases with the RF power. However, when the RF

power is large enough (m

2

E[s

2

(t)] > 1), the SNR saturates.

50 nm - 400 nm 400 nm - 700 nm 800 nm - 1600 nm 1700 - 100,000 nm

Ultra Violet Visible Spectrum Near Infrared Far Infrared

Frequency Bands and Their Names Near infrared band is used in optical communications, especially the window at 1550 nm is used because the attenuation in Silica (ﬁber) is the lowest at this wavelength. 1.1.3. Ray Theory According to ray theory, light travels in a straight line abiding to the laws of geometrical optics. This gives us an easy tool to analyze the behavior of optical signal when the physical dimension of the associated objects is much larger than the wavelength of the optical signal. For example with prisms and lenses. We will use ray theory to get some results quickly1 . 1.2. WAVE THEORY AND POLARIZATION General electromagnetic wave, E = Ex cos(ωt − kz + φx )ˆ + Ey cos(ωt − kz + φy )ˆ i j

Figure 1.2. Horizontally polarized Wave (left), Vertically polarized wave (middle) and the general polarization as the vector addition of these two

1.2.1. Elliptically Polarized Light The vector addition of the two components with a phase shift φ = |φx − φy | = 0 will be in general elliptically polarized. see Fig. 1.3. • For a ﬁxed point z, the tip of the E-ﬁeld vector rotates periodically in the xy plane tracing out an ellipse • At a ﬁxed time t, the locus of the tip of the E-ﬁeld vector follows a helical trajectory in space having periodicity λ

1 However, accuracy of this approach deteriorates in case of ﬁbers, especially single mode ﬁbers. Because, in this case, the ﬁber core radius (typically 9 µm) is comparable to the optical wavelength.

2. Circularly polarized light 2 2 • if φ = π/2 and Ex = Ey = E then.2.2.Figure 1. See Fig. Linearly Polarized Wave 1. Figure 1. Elliptically polarized wave 1. Linearly Polarized Light In the following cases light will be linearly polarized: • One of the components Ex or Ey = 0 • If φ = 0 or π. 1. then the angle is determined by the magnitudes of Ey and Ex .3.3.4. E 2 = Ex + Ey . .4.

5.Figure 1. Right hand circular polarization ( RHCP. φ = π/2. φ = −π/2. up) and left hand circular polarization ( LHCP. down) .

(It can frequently be installed without ducts. It is easier to handle and install. • Since the only carrier in the ﬁber is light. • A ﬁber optic cable. and uses less duct space. FIBER OPTIC TRANSMISSION SYSTEMS A ﬁber optic transmitter and receiver.2. It can therefore come in direct contact with high voltage electrical equipment and power lines. It can be buried directly in most kinds of soil or exposed to most corrosive atmospheres in chemical plants without signiﬁcant concern. • The ﬁber is totally immune to virtually all kinds of interference. In addition. and no danger of electrical shock to personnel repairing broken ﬁbers. including lightning. it will not corrode and is unaffected by most chemicals. there is no ﬁre hazard. How are ﬁber optic cables able to provide all of these advantages? 2. 5 . • Fiber optic cables are virtually unaffected by outdoor atmospheric conditions.) • Fiber optic cable is ideal for secure communications systems because it is very difﬁcult to tap but very easy to monitor. The light source can either be a light-emitting diode (LED)) or a laser. • As the basic ﬁber is made of glass.” guiding the light introduced at one end of the cable through to the other end.offer a wide range of beneﬁts not offered by traditional copper wire or coaxial cable. It will also not create ground loops of any kind. there is no possibility of a spark from a broken ﬁber.1. making it ideal for transmission of serial digital data. connected by ﬁber optic cable . there is absolutely no electrical radiation from a ﬁber. than coaxial cable. and will not conduct electricity. OPTICAL FIBER Fiber optic cable functions as a ”light guide. These include: • The ability to carry much more information and deliver it with greater ﬁdelity than either copper wire or coaxial cable. Fiber optic cable can support much higher data rates. allowing them to be lashed directly to telephone poles or existing electrical cables without concern for extraneous signal pickup. is usually much smaller and lighter in weight than a wire or coaxial cable with similar information carrying capacity. and at greater distances.Chapter 2 Optical Fiber 2. even one that contains many ﬁbers. Even in the most explosive of atmospheres.

may be necessary to refresh the signal in certain applications.4 ml). POF is a newer plastic-based cable which promises performance similar to glass cable on very short runs. through which only one mode will propagate. Carries higher bandwidth than multimode ﬁber. Fiber optic cable connectors and the equipment needed to install them are still more expensive than their copper counterparts. The small core and single lightwave virtually eliminate any distortion that could result from overlapping light pulses. with a common diameters in the 50-to-100 micron range for the light carry component (the most common size is 62.4. primarily through dispersion and scattering of the light. 62.5. the greater the risk of dispersion. 2. While ﬁber optic cable itself has become cheaper over time . and a light-sensitive receiver on the other end of the cable converts the pulses back into the digital ones and zeros of the original signal. Even laser light shining through a ﬁber optic cable is subject to loss of strength. Single-mode ﬁber gives you a higher transmission rate and up to 50 times more distance than multimode. Single-mode ﬁber has a much smaller core than multimode. unimode ﬁber. within the cable itself. 2.3 to 10 microns that has one mode of transmission. but requires a light source with a narrow spectral width. multiple paths of light can cause signal distortion at the receiving end. and 100 micrometers. . The faster the laser ﬂuctuates. resulting in an unclear and incomplete data transmission. single-mode optical waveguide. SINGLE MODE FIBER Single Mode cable is a single stand of glass ﬁber with a diameter of 8. in long cable runs (greater than 3000 feet [914. Single-mode optical ﬁber is an optical ﬁber in which only the lowest order bound mode can propagate at the wavelength of interest typically 1300 to 1320nm. Single Mode Fiber with a relatively narrow diameter. Light waves are dispersed into numerous paths.The light source is pulsed on and off.5). However. called repeaters. as they travel through the cable’s core typically 850 or 1300nm. MULTIMODE FIBER Multimode cable is made of of glass ﬁbers. Multimode ﬁber gives you high bandwidth at high speeds over medium distances. but at a lower cost. single-mode ﬁber. Synonyms monomode optical ﬁber. but it also costs more.3. Typical multimode ﬁber core diameters are 50. or modes. Light strengtheners. providing the least signal attenuation and the highest transmission speeds of any ﬁber cable type.a equivalent length of copper cable cost less per foot but not in capacity.

22 in the textbook) 2. Pcladding 4 ≈ √ Ptotal 3 M If V is close to 2.4. FIBER PARAMETERS Refractive Index Proﬁle Step Index Fiber n1 . the bit rate for a non return to zero (NZR) system is related to the total dispersion by.4). the bit rate is. r > a n2 − n2 1 2 2πa λ (N A) Graded Index Fiber n1 1 − 2∆(r/a)α . r ≤ a n2 . r ≤ a 2 2πa λ (N A) Numerical Aperture Normalized Frequency (V) Cut-off Value of the normalized frequency Number of Modes (M) Modal Dispersion ∆Tmod /L 2. r ≤ a n2 . BRZ ≤ 0.5.19 and Fig. the number of modes can be given by V 2 /2. For no ISI.2. Under this condition the ratio between power travelling in the cladding and in the core is given by.5. r > a n(r)2 − n2 . 2.405 V 2 /2 n2 ∆ 1 cn2 n1 ∆2 8c 2.35 ∆T 0. then exact solution to modal equations should be used to ﬁnd the number of modes (Fig. DISPERSION IN FIBER Temporal dispersion is the major effect that limits the bit rate in ﬁber optic communication system.7 ∆T .405 1 + 2/α V 2α 2(α+2) (when α = 2(1 − ∆)) n1 n2 a r α NA L ∆ 2.6.1. 2. BN RZ ≤ For a return to zero (RZ) system. Note on Number of Modes Core refractive index Cladding refractive index (n1 > n2 ) Core radius Varying radius Proﬁle parameter Numerical Aperture Total length of the optical ﬁber (typically in km) n2 −n2 1 2 2n2 1 ≈1− n2 n1 Only for large number of modes (V >> 2.

When there are number of electromagnetic waves with slightly differing frequencies travel together. 2. β = 2π/λ m−1 is the wave number and ω = 2πν = 2πc/λ rad/m is the angular frequency. (ωt − βz) = constant at any time. Phase Velocity The phase velocity is deﬁned only when there is a single electromagnetic wave. This is the velocity at which the actual . Depending on the propagation conditions. Constant Phase Point P that Travels along βz axis in Space. Not all dispersions are signiﬁcant under all conditions.7. (3) t = T/2 There are several dispersion mechanisms exist in optical ﬁbers. P is a point of constant phase or the wavefront. E = Eo cos(ωt − βz) where.Figure 2. (2) t = T/4. the phase velocity vp = ω dz = dt β Note. 2.2. vp = c = 3 × 108 m/s is the speed of light in free space. (1) t = 0.7. Corresponding to Fig. Group Velocity This is deﬁned by the slope of the electromagnetic wave group.1. some of these are dominant. the group velocity is important. At point P .7. Therefore. Eo is the peak amplitude.1. GROUP AND PHASE VELOCITIES Electric ﬁled of an electromagnetic plane wave propagating in z direction is give by. 2.1. 2.

Deﬁne group delay as the inverse of the group velocity. The bandwidth of this output spectrum is called the line width of the optical source. 2.4.3. Group Velocity Index ng The refractive index n of the medium is actually a function of wavelength. Group velocity vg is deﬁned by. Group Velocity Dispersion Group Velocity dispersion = Material Dispersion + Waveguide Dispersion Group Velocity Dispersion is also known as Chromatic Dispersion or Intra Modal Dispersion. The optical signal emitted always have a group of frequencies and occupies a ﬁnite spectrum. Therefore. no optical source emits a single frequency. the actual propagation constant β is β(ω) = n(ω)ω c dβ n ω dn = + dω c c dω vg = Deﬁne the group refractive index ng as. dω 1 c = = dβ dβ/dω (n + ωdn/dω) ng = n + ω dn dω where the mode index n at the operating wavelength is given by [AGRAWAL] n = n2 + b(n1 − n2 ) where b is the normalized propagation constant. the group velocity is the more realistic velocity in optical communications. Therefore.7. the group velocity is vg = c ng The group refractive index deﬁnes the velocity in the medium n under realistic conditions. vg = dz dω = dt dβ In practice. n = n(λ) = n(ω). Therefore. 2.1) . Since ω = 2πν = 2πc/λ.7. τg = dβ 1 = vg dω The average delay of the signal to travel through the distance L is T = L/vg = Lτg ∆T = dT dτg d2 β ∆ω = L ∆ω = L 2 (∆ω) = Lβ2 (∆ω) dω dω dω (2.energy travels with a group of electromagnetic waves.

1). DW G = − 2π∆ n2 V d2 (V b) dn2g d(V b) 2g + λ2 n2 ω dV 2 dω dV 2π dn2g 1 dn2g = 2 dω λ c dλ dn −2πc −2π d c −2π dng −2π d n + ω dω −2π dn 2π d2 n β2 = 2 = 2 = 2 = 2 − 2ω 2 λ2 λ dω vg λ dω λ dω λ dω λ dω 2. d2 β dω 2 Therefore. This signal will have a different velocity than the signal travels in the core because n2 < n1 . ∆Twg = − where b = β/k−n2 n1 −n2 . . Dmat = − Waveguide dispersion DW G is. n1 − n2 d 2 V b V L λc dV 2 (2. DGV D = d dτg = dλ dλ dβ dω = d dω dβ dω −2πc d2 β dω −2πc = = β2 2 dβ 2 dλ λ λ2 ∆λ ∆ω β2 (2. DGV D = Dmat + DW G where the material dispersion Dmat is. This phenomena pave way to waveguide dispersion.5.3) Comparing equations (2.Deﬁne the group velocity dispersion parameter β2 . DGV D = Therefore. Waveguide dispersion: In single mode ﬁber.2) Group velocity dispersion. L is the distance in km.2) and (2. DGV D = ∆TGV D = β2 (∆ω)L = DGV D (∆λ)L (2. Waveguide dispersion can be written in terms of ﬁber parameters as. Group velocity dispersion DGV D can be re-written as. DGV D is the group velocity dispersion in ps/nm/km.5) This dispersion will be dominant in single mode ﬁbers and not signiﬁcant in multimode ﬁbers.4) Where. about 20 % energy travels in the cladding.3). −2πc dω = dλ λ2 −2πc ∆ω = ∆λ λ2 (2. β2 = Now. ω = 2πc λ . (∆λ) is the linewidth of the optical source in nm and.7. By substitution of this in (2.

Material dispersion i given by. 2.7. Each mode propagate with a different phase velocity. This is called the zero dispersion wavelength. for single mode ﬁbers: ∆TT otal ≈ ∆TGV D 2 2 ∆TGV D + ∆Tpol . β = 2πn ).6.6) In standard silica ﬁber. 2. Then.7.1 to 1.8. Because n = n(λ) each wavelength will travel at a slightly different velocity. √ ∆Tpol = |L/µgx − L/µgy | ≈ DP M D L Since PMD randomly vary along the ﬁber. at 1310 nm. Although material dispersion can not be modiﬁed much. there are two independent.0 √ ps km. waveguide dispersion can be either shifted or optimized to achieve 1. (Remember. the propagation constants for these two modes are identical βx = βy . Material dispersion exists in all ﬁbers. (Horizontally and Vertically Polarized) In perfectly symmetrical ﬁbers.2. Total Dispersion The total dispersion depends on number of factors and determine the ﬁnal bit rate. Dispersion ﬂattened ﬁber that has low dispersion for a wide wavelength range. then the differential time delay ∆Tpol over a distance L is. For Multi Mode Fibers: 2 2 ∆TT otal = ∆Tmat + ∆Tmod For Single Mode Fibers: ∆TT otal = where. only a statistical measure can be given. and will be high if a wide line width source (LED) is used. the group velocity dispersion is: ∆TGV D = ∆Tmat + ∆Twg The polarization mode dispersion is typically smaller than the group velocity dispersion. waveguide and material dispersions will cancel out each other.7. Dispersion Shifted ﬁber that has zero dispersion at 1550 nm or 2. Polarization Mode Dispersion Even in single mode ﬁbers. As a result. Material dispersion: All optical sources have a ﬁnite line width ∆λ. ∆Tmat = Dmat (∆λ)L (2. there will be material dispersion. Material dispersion parameter: Dmat ps/nm/km. degenerate linearly polarized (LP) propagation modes exists. In actual ﬁbers βx = βy . DP M D is typically 0. λ Deﬁne: Birefringence Bf = ny − nx Beat Length 2π λ Lp = = k(ny − nx ) (ny − nx ) If the group velocities of of the two orthogonal polarizations are µgx and µgy .7.

Basic Physics Electron energy in semiconductors fall into two distinct bands. THE LIGHT EMITTING DIODE 3. (impedance matching etc) for analog systems • Conversion efﬁciency 3. valence band (lower energy level) and conduction band (higher energy level).2.2. In an intrinsic semiconductor there are equal number of electrons and holes. optical ﬁber. By adding pentavalent (Gp-V) donor impurities (Ex: Arsenic.1. By external energy supply (thermal.Chapter 3 Optical Sources The optical source should best suit the channel and modulating signal characteristics.1. 3. The channel can be. As) we can create an n-type extrinsic semiconductor that will have excess electrons in the 12 . diffuse wireless or point to point wireless in a communication system. CONSIDERATIONS • Suitable physical dimensions • Suitable radiation pattern (beam width) • Linearity and large dynamic range (output power proportional to driving current) • Ability to be directly modulated at high speeds (fast response time) • Adequate output power to overcome channel losses • Narrow spectral width (or line width) • Thermal stability • Reliability (LED better than laser) • Cost considerations • Direct modulation considerations • Driving circuit considerations. electrical) and electron can be made to jump to conduction band creating a hole in the valance band.

Eg = hν = hc/λ (3.3. If the momentum of the holes in the valance band and the momentum of the electrons in the conduction band are the same in a speciﬁc temperature. then it is called direct bandgap semiconductor. Semiconductor Materials Semiconductor materials are selected to emit the desired wavelength. electrons and holes recombine either radiatively (emitting photons) or non-radiatively (emitting heat or phonons).900 nm window. The emission wavelength depends on the bandgap energy. There are. By adding pentavalent (Gp-III) acceptor impurities we can create a p-type extrinsic semiconductor that will have excess holes in the valence band. Eg is called the bandgap energy.2. Keiser). In a LASER. When an electron jumps from a higher energy state (E2 ) to a lower energy state (E1 ) the difference in energy Eg = E2 − E1 is released as a photon. Eg = 1. The emitted wavelength depends on band gap energy of the semiconductor material. x and y (In1−x Gax Asy P1−y ). Basic LED operation In a semiconductor light source. the LED should have a high radiance (light intensity). From empirical Fig 4.24 Eg (eV ) (3. 3.2. Eg = 1. double or single hetero-structure devices. Both these are non-radiative recombinations.47.2x with 0 ≤ x ≤ 0. the photon is further processed in a resonance cavity to achieve a coherent. First generation sources were of GaAlAs that emit at 700 .2) Wavelength is tuned by varying the ratio between alloys.conduction band. 3.13 [Keiser] for lattice matched conﬁgurations y = 2. Empirical formula for Ga1−x Alx As is.35 − 0.72y + 0. When the PN junction is forward biased electrons are supplied externally.3. Electrons in an n-type material are majority carriers and holes in an n-type material are minority carriers and vice versa. surface emitting (diffused radiation) and edge emitting (more directional) LEDs. When an electron jumps from a higher energy state (E2 ) to a lower energy state (E1 ) (recombination) the difference in energy Eg = E2 − E1 is released either as a photon of energy Eg = hν (radiative recombination) as heat or phonons (lattice vibration). (3.266x + 0. fast response time and a high quantum efﬁciency.2. This is simple LED operation.12y 2 Find the emission wavelength when x = 0. ﬁtting into the currently most widely used windows (Fig.424 + 1.2. For ﬁber-optics. a PN junction (that consists of semiconductor materials with suitable bandgap energy) acts as the active or recombination region.1) λ(µm) = 1. highly directional optical beam with a narrow line width. Later InGaAsP sources were devised they can be tuned to emit anywhere from 1200 1600 nm range.4) (3. 1.266x2 Find the emission wavelength when x = 0. Then.2.3) .

8) These are typical values and the exact value depends on the LED structure. LED Rate Equation The injected carriers will decay exponentially. That is.3. |∆λ| = λ2 3kB T hc (3.5) dλ hc =− 2 dEg Eg ∆λ = hc ∆Eg 2 Eg (3.6) Assuming ∆λ is small. If the current injected into the LED is I.2.6. Rr + Rnr = n/τ = I/q where. ∆Eg = ∆(hν) ≈ 3kB T .decay rate dn I n = − dt q τ (3.4. ∆λ = 3. Similarly. Rr = ηint I/q.24ηint I = = q qλ λ(µm) .12) At steady state. (3. Quantum Efﬁciency of LED: Internal quantum efﬁciency ηint = Rr Rr + Rnr where Rr is the radiative recombination rate and Rnr is the non-radiative recombination rate. Note that 1/τ = 1/τr + 1/τnr Since Rr is the total number of photons generated per second.11) (3. q is the charge of an electron. For exponential decay of excess carriers. n = no e−t/τ Decay rate dn no e−t/τ n = =− dt −τ τ Rate of change = supply rate . then the total number of recombinations per second is.5.2. the radiative recombination lifetime is τr = n/Rr and the no-radiative recombination lifetime is τnr = n/Rnr . λ= By differentiating. the optical power generated internally to the LED is Pint = Rr hν = ηint I(hν) ηint hcI 1.9) (3.10) hc 2 Eg dEg dT ∆T (3. the change in wavelength due to temperature change is.2.7) From semiconductor physics. hc Eg (3. dn/dt = 0. Steady state electron density at the active region n = Iτ /q ∝ I 3. Line Width of an LED Emitted wavelength is related to photon energy by.

I = 40 mA and λ = 1310 nm. What is the internal power Pint ? (Ans: 29. Fresnel Reﬂection Whenever there is an index mismatch and light travels from one medium (n1 ) to a different medium (n2 ). The power that enters the second medium (n2 ) depends on the Fresnel Transmissivity 4n1 n2 T = T (0) = (n1 + n2 )2 The Fresnels reﬂectivity R is deﬁned as (referring to power)1 .2. τr = 30 ns.7. 3. The external efﬁciency is given by integrating T (0) over the cone of emission. the power coupled to a step index ﬁber from the LED is: θa Bo cosθsinθdθ 0 ηc = π/2 Bo cosθsinθdθ 0 ηc = θa sin2θdθ 0 π/2 sin2θdθ 0 = [−cos2θ/2]θa 0 π/2 [−cos2θ/2]0 = sin2 (θa ) = (N A)2 (3. The power that escapes the LED medium (n2 ) depends on the Fresnel Transmissivity T (0). there is a cone of emission. External Efﬁciency This depends on the optical power escapes the LED. There should be no confusion between R and r .2.step = Ps (N A)2 For rs > a.Ex: Find the internal quantum efﬁciency when.step = ( a 2 ) Ps (N A)2 rs (3. τnr = 100 ns. 3.13) T (0)2πsin(φ)dφ ≈ 0 1 n(n + 1)2 For surface emitting lambertian sources the output power B(θ) = Bo cos(θ). ηext = .14) PLED. Coupling Efﬁciency This is the ratio between the power coupled into the ﬁber PF and the power emitted from the light source Ps . Bo is the radiance along normal to the radiating surface. R = R(0) = Note that R + T = 1. Here. Fresnels loss = −10Log(T ).2. only a fraction of the incoming energy will pass through. η= PF Ps 1 4π φc n1 − n n1 + n 2 = r2 (3. power coupled is: PLED.8. and in close proximity to the ﬁber core.15) 1 Note reﬂection coefﬁcient r = √ R refers to the amplitude. Considering a source smaller than (rs ≤ a).15 [Keiser]. From Fig 4.9.2 mW) 3.

Electrical power ∝ I 2 (ω) Electrical 3-dB BW occurs when electrical power goes to half.10. electrical power loss is the square of the optical power loss (in the linear scale). . optical power P (ω) ∝ I(ω) while electrical power ∝ I 2 (ω). optical power loss in a ﬁber link is 2 2 2 2 = Pin /Pout .2.2. Therefore Pcoupled = (1 − R)Pemitted .16) (1 − R) a 2 1. Combining all together. Electrical loss (dB)= 2× Optical Loss (dB). 3. However. the optical side should have a bandwidth of 3. LASER DIODE LASER: Light Ampliﬁcation by Stimulated Emission 3. that is when √ P (ωo ) 1 3 = −→ ωo = P (0) 2 τ In order to support an electrical bandwidth of B Hz.If the refractive index of the medium in between the LED and the ﬁber (air) is n. electrical power loss = Iin /Iout = Pin /Pout . Optical Loss and Electrical Loss Note that. then add Fresnel loss (1 − R). Stimulated Emission Stimulated emission is the basis for obtaining photon ampliﬁcation.1. the power coupled to the ﬁber is. 3. This observation is especially signiﬁcant in analog systems.24I ( ) (N A)2 ηint n(n + 1)2 rs λ P (ω) ∝ I(ω).11. As a result. Therefore. Basic LED operation When an electron jumps from a higher energy state (E2 ) to a lower energy state (E1 ) the difference in energy ∆E = E2 − E1 is released either √ 3B. It follows that loss/gain in the optical domain will appear twice in the electrical domain in the log scale.3. Frequency Response of an LED The modulation (frequency) response depends on • the injected carrier lifetime τ and • parasitic capacitance Typically the LED is a ﬁrst order low pass ﬁlter P (ω) = Po 1 + (ωτ )2 (3. Pcoupled = for rs > a.3. that is when I 2 (ωe ) 1 P (ωe ) 1 1 = −→ = √ −→ ωe = 2 (0) I 2 P (0) τ 2 Optical 3-dB BW occurs when optical power goes half.

SpontaneousEmission = exp(hν/kB T ) − 1 (3. Reﬂectivities of the mirrors are R1 and R2 . Therefore. thus making a transition to an excited state. 1.4. Spontaneous Emission random emission of a photon. it is called the population inversion.• as a photon of energy hν (radiative recombination) • or as heat (non-radiative recombination) Absorption an atom in the ground state might absorb a photon emitted by another atom. In this case. identical energy → identical wavelength → narrow line width 2.17) StimulatedEmission This does not hold for laser (with population inversion) 3. exp(2gL) = R1 R2 exp(−2αL) Therefore. the threshold gain can be written as. which enables the atom to relax to the ground state Stimulated Emission An atom in an excited state might be stimulated to emit a photon by another incident photon. FABRY PEROT RESONATOR CAVITY 3. gth = α + 1 1 ln 2L R1 R2 . all the losses in the medium can be included in a single loss coefﬁcient per unit length as α m−1 . Cavity length is L.1. identical polarization When there are more atoms in the conduction band than the valance band.4. Lasing Condition To determine the lasing condition and the resonant frequencies. both photons will have. we express the electromagnetic wave propagating the longitudinal direction as. t) = E(z)ej(ωt−βz) where E(z) is the ﬁeld intensity. Hence the exponentially increasing fractional loss = R1 R2 exp(−2αL) It is found that the increase in beam intensity resulting from stimulated emission is exponential too [senior]. This non-equilibrium state usually happens when we have three or more energy levels. the fractional round trip gain is fractional gain = exp(2gL) Hence. identical phase and→ temporal coherence 4. Steady state conditions for laser oscillation are achieved when the gain in the amplifying medium matches the total losses. identical direction → spatial coherence → narrow beam width 3. if the gain coefﬁcient per unit length produced by stimulated emission is g m−1 . E(z. From the Einstein relations. For simplicity. it can be shown [senior] that for systems in thermal equilibrium (like incandescent lamp).

25 mm. (Ans 663 mA) 3. gth = βJth 2 . α = 10cm−1 .4.18) Ex: L = 0. Therefore. Substituting. 2βm L = 2πm where βm = km n = 2πn/λm is the propagation condition in medium n corresponding to the mth mode.6. Ith = Lw 1 1 α+ ln β 2L R1 R2 (3. Find the threshold current. the threshold current density Jth is given by.1.2. Lasing Modes Cavity length L must be an integer m number of half wavelengths for a standing wave pattern. 2nL =m λm Since c = νλ 2I = J × L × w = J × theareaof theopticalcavity for a laser and LED . β = 21 X 10(-3) Acm−3 .1 mm. w = 0.Figure 3. The Fabry Perot Laser Cavity For lasers with strong carrier conﬁnement. n for GaAs is 3.

that is CN − 1/τph ≥ 0 This condition will be satisﬁed for N > Nth .Photon loss dN J N = − − CN Φ dt qd τsp Rate of change of electrons = injection . σλ is the factor that controls the width of the gain envelope.spontaneous recombination .19) where λ0 is the wavelength at the center (with the highest gain of g(0)). λ2 2Ln This is the spectral separation between the stable modes in a Fabry Perot cavity. 3. This is related to the RMS line width of the laser. For a PN junction with a carrier conﬁnement region of depth d. the laser rate equations are given by the following. 2Ln νm c 2Ln νm−1 c c 2Ln ∆ν = νm − νm−1 = Since ∆ν/ν = ∆λ/λ.21) N Φ C τph Rsp τsp J q Number of electrons Number of Photons Einsteins Coefﬁcient Photon lifetime Rate of spontaneous emission spontaneous recombination lifetime Injection current density Electron Charge The rate of change dφ/dt > 0 for stimulated emission to start.20) dt τph Rate of change of photons = Stimulated emissions + spontaneous emission .4.stimulated emission (3. These two equations govern the dynamic nature of the laser during time varying injected current dΦ Φ = CN Φ + Rsp − (3. The value for Nth . g(0) is the maximum gain that is proportional to the population inversion. The relationship between gain and frequency can be assumed to have the Gaussian form ∆λ = g(λ) = g(0)exp − (λ − λ0 )2 2 2σλ (3. spontaneous recombination and stimulated emission.m= m−1= Subtracting. Laser Rate Equations The total carrier population inside a semiconductor laser diode is determined by three processes: carrier injection. where the threshold point is given by N = Nth .3.

In the most widely used distributed feedback lasers (DFB) this is achieved by having Bragg grating written in the active region. by substitution of (3. it is possible create positive feedback conditions for only a single mode. External Quantum Efﬁciency This is calculated from the straight line portion of the power transfer curve of the laser diode.21) neglecting Rsp . λB = 2ne Λ k (3.22) This expression deﬁnes a value for the threshold current density Jth above which the stimulated emission will be predominant.21).23) τph (J − Jth ) + τph Rsp qd The ﬁrst term is the number of photons emitted through stimulation and the second term is the spontaneous emission term (which is often ignored). Nth Jth = τsp qd (3.24) Typically ﬁrst order is used (k=1). Therefore. 3.4. the electron density does not signiﬁcantly increase and remains at Nth . Above the threshold point however. Therefore. The Bragg wavelength is given by. 0 = Rsp − Φs = Φs J Nth − + τph qd τsp (3. the peak of the modulated optical intensity does not exceed 30 % of the mean value.22) yield.5. With typical modulation depths (say at 0. Analog Modulation At this point it is worth to mention that the optical power emitted in to the ﬁber is constant in a directly modulated analog ﬁber optic link despite the variations in the RF power.3).25) q dP dP (mW ) = 0.4.4.8065λ(µm) Eg dI dI(mA) (3. 0 = CNth Φs + Rsp − 0= Φs τph J Nth − − CNth Φs qd τsp where Φs is the steady state photon density. . ηext = 3. ne is the effective refractive index and Λ is the grating period.22) in (3.is obtained by setting the rate of change to zero.20) and (3. from Equation (3.6. Adding these two equations and substituting from (3.4. at steady state condition above threshold. 3. Single Mode Lasers By having built in frequency selective reﬂectors. The optical power output is only proportional to the DC bias current. which is typically kept constant.

The tradeoff of having the gain is the ‘excess noise’ due to random nature of the self multiplying process. Typically the performance of commercial receivers are adequate for most applications. APD’s have relatively low responsivity at longer wavelengths. come with a penalty of low responsivity. high power detectors with a maximum photocurrent of 150 mA have only about 295 MHz bandwidth. Compared to short wavelengths (say 800 nm). On the other hand. sensitivity at high power levels. while high-speed detectors with a 50 GHz bandwidth have only about 1-2 mA photocurrent. Let us brieﬂy review the concerns of optical receivers. large area detectors have high junction-capacitance which. Therefore. limits the bandwidth. are mostly used in ﬁber optic receivers. For example. As the name implies the APD has a self multiplying mechanism so that it has high gain. Furthermore. PIN AND AVALANCHE PHOTO DIODE Two type of detectors. even the same photo detector is more nonlinear at higher frequencies than at low frequencies. APD’s have the same excess noise. High bandwidth detectors. 21 . 4. at high wavelengths (say 1310 and 1550 nm). namely the positive-intrinsic-negative (PIN) and the avalanche photo diodes (APD). CONSIDERATIONS • High sensitivity (responsivity)at the desired wavelength and low responsivity elsewhere • Low noise • Reasonable cost • Fast response time (high bandwidth) • Insensitive to temperature variations • Compatible physical dimensions • Long operating life 4. limit the power conversion efﬁciency. but they have an order of magnitude lower avalanche gain.1. as reported in [Charles COX]. though commercially available.2. This is because high bandwidth detectors tend to have smaller photosensitive areas which. and frequency response (speed) are the primary concerns with optical receivers. Noise.Chapter 4 Optical Receiver and Various Noise Sources The receiver is typically wide band and cost effective compared to laser in ﬁber optic links.

1. 4. A photodiode is normally reverse biased at optical receivers. P (x) = Po (1 − e−αs (λ)x ) (4. Note that the absorption coefﬁcient αs (λ) quickly becomes vary large for small λ (Fig.3 . Incident optical radiation is absorbed in the semiconductor material according to the exponential law.2. This phenomena determines the lower wavelength at which a photodiode has reasonable responsivity. Comparison of the responsivity for different PIN photodiodes 4. The upper cut-off wavelength depends on the bandgap energy of the semiconductor material. PIN Photo Diode This is the most widely used photodiode.Figure 4. typically the responsive-linewidth of a .1. The incident photons should have enough energy to trigger recombination. 6. Incident photons will supply enough energy for electron-hole recombination that will trigger an external photocurrent. Note that.1) Here αs (λ) is the absorption coefﬁcient. The device consists of a p and n type semiconductor regions separated by an intrinsic (pure.1). actually very lightly n-doped) layer. Po is the incident optical power. This factor deﬁnes an upper cut-off wavelength beyond which the responsivity of the photodiode drastically drops (Fig.Keiser).

3) Quantum efﬁciency η is the ratio between number of electrons generated and the number of incident photons.4) of the photodiode in mA/mW is deﬁned as. AP D = M statistical quantity because of the random nature of avalanche multiplication process. capitol main entry and capital sufﬁx. • This internal gain is obtained by having a high electric ﬁeld that energizes photo-generated electrons and holes • These electrons and holes ionize bound electrons in the valence band upon colliding with them • This mechanism is known as impact ionization • The newly generated electrons and holes are also accelerated by the high electric ﬁeld • They gain enough energy to cause further impact ionization • This phenomena is the avalanche effect The avalanche gain M is deﬁned by. (4. . η= Responsivity Ip /q Po /hν (4. The current generated is: Ip = q(number of electrons) = q Po (1 − e−αs (λ)w )(1 − R) hν (4. IP . 4. • The time varying (either randomly or periodically) current with a zero mean is denoted by.3.2. where IM is the multiplied current and Ip original photocurrent. M= IM Ip P IN .24 Eg (eV ) (4. A CONVENTION ON NOTATIONS • The direct current value is denoted by.photodiode is an order of magnitude larger (typ. 500 nm) than the linewidth of an LED. 6-4 (Keiser) shows the relationship between 4. where R is the Fresnel reﬂectivity. Avalanche Photodiode (APD) • APD achieves high sensitivity by having an internal gain. Ip capitol main entry and small sufﬁx. = Ip ηq q = = (1 − e−αs (λ)w )(1 − R) Po hν hν and wavelength for some semiconductor material. ip small main entry and small sufﬁx. λc (µm) = 1. Note that M is a • The time varying (either randomly or periodically) current with a non-zero mean is denoted by.5) Fig. Therefore.2) If the depletion region has a width w then the total power absorbed is P (w) = Po (1 − e−αs (λ)w )(1 − R).2.

For a PIN diode.1. q is the charge of an electron. Quantum (Shot) Noise Light is composed of photons. i2 = 2qIP BM 2 F (M ) (4. which is denoted by Ip . The thermal noise power is given by. The shot noise is proportional to the average value of the optical signal. There are two. That is Ip = Po . The noise should by minimal In a typical PIN diode receiver. To is the absolute temperature in Kelvin and KB is the Boltzman constant and RL is the receiver load impedance. The detector current.9) (4. However. there are three major noise mechanisms. Ip = IP + ip 4. the total current Ip is the sum of the DC component IP and the AC component ip . The noise power due to the surface leakage current is. their relative importance depends on a particular design.10) where ID is the dark current.4. 1. B is the bandwidth of interest and is the photo diode responsivity. 2 i2 DB = 2qID M F (M )B (4. 4. Thermal Noise Thermal noise is due to the resistive elements in the receiver ampliﬁer. i2 = 2q Po B = 2qIP B (4. For avalanche photodiodes. Namely.7) Q where.6) where. is responsivity times Po . i2 = 4KB To B/RL T (4. thermal noise and the dark current noise. NOISE IN PHOTONIC RECEIVERS Signal to noise ration of a photodiode decides its performance. Thus.4. is referred to as the quantum or shot noise. shot noise. 4. the shot noise power is given by. Both these are unity for PIN diodes. which are discrete packets of energy. 4. Note that this undergoes the avalanche multiplication process. M is the avalanche noise and F (M ) is the excess noise (or noise ﬁgure). The thermal noise is independent to the optical signal level but increase with the temperature. The detector should have high responsivity 2. bulk and surface dark currents The noise power associated with the bulk dark current is given by. To have a high SNR. i2 (4. the randomness of the arrival time of each photon generates a random noise component at the output current of the photo diode which.4.2. there is a very small current from the photodiode due various leakage effects. Po is the optical power at the detector.4. Dark Current Noise Even in absolute dark. All these noise mechanisms are unavoidable.3.8) Q where.11) DS = 2qIL B .• Therefore.

12) better explains. This expression is more accurate than the widely used expression for the variance of the RIN. most of the time m is in the range of 0. 4.5. the total EIN is speciﬁed as -125 dBm/Hz. Furthermore.5. However. i. The noise power due to RIN is given as. These doubly reﬂected signals mix electrically with the original signal and cause an excess noise.5.4. the expression in (4. This randomness introduces a noise that increases with the optical power.e. All these noise processes can be grouped together as relative intensity noise (RIN). A ﬂuctuation in the optical output intensity due to multiple reﬂections in ﬁber optic link leads to this optical intensity noise. the iDS term is negligible compared to iDB . Therefore. a RIN parameter PRIN is speciﬁed for a given laser diode in dBm/Hz. 4. Digital Systems The complete signal to noise ratio of a digital ﬁber optic link considering all these noise processes is given below where. Interferometric Noise (IN) Interferometric noise can appear in an optical system when the received signal is accompanied by weak delayed replica of itself or other light wave components. For example. a typical value for a DFB laser transmitter and a PIN diode receiver. the light produced by the laser is not stable in intensity.where.13) The dark current ID is typically in the order of nano-Amps. The basic physical mechanism of a laser is ampliﬁcation by stimulated emission. Usually the combination of all these noise are speciﬁed by the manufacturer and called EIN. 4. Basically when the ﬁber has poor connectors or very long with high optical power. for example -155 dBm/Hz.12) Typically. The noise due to multiple optical reﬂections (Interferometric noise) and Brillouin scattering also increase with optical power. the dark current term is neglected without any loss in accuracy. SN R = M 2 i2 p 2qBM 2 F (M )(Ip + ID ) + 2qIL B + 4F KB To B/RL (4. The detected current ID is typically in milli-Amps range since the optical power in this applications is in mW range and the responsivity lies between zero and one mA/mW.1. with higher values of m and s(t) this term is not negligible.1 and s(t) << 1 so that. the IN becomes signiﬁcant. THE SIGNAL TO NOISE RATIO 4. For the ﬁber lengths less than 20 km the Rayleigh scatter introduced Interferometric noise is negligible. if the number of connectors that have a back reﬂection factor of -35 dB or better is less than 17. where m is the modulation index. Reﬂections arise either from discrete reﬂectors such as splices and connectors or by Rayleigh scattering within the ﬁber itself. Furthermore. i2 (t) = PRIN RIN 2 2 Po M 2 F (M )B 1 + m2 s2 (t) (4. F is the receiver ampliﬁer noise ﬁgure. m can be higher. Typically.4. This is acceptable because. some empirical results. Po is the mean optical power and s(t) is the modulating (electrical) signal. Many authors have omitted the second term m2 s2 (t) . equivalent input noise. then the discrete reﬂection effect is also negligible [Shibutani].4. IL is the surface leakage current. this term is insigniﬁcant. . We include this term because with nonlinearity compensation schemes. Relative Intensity Noise (RIN) The RIN exists only in analog systems when the laser is always on. which is random in nature. In this case. This has to be multiplied with the used bandwidth to obtain actual noise power.

the wider noise bandwidth in the optical link collects more noise. Quantitative Discussion There are several noise terms involved in the expression given. Since. Therefore. P (t) = Po [1 + ms(t)] (4. Namely shot. the mean optical power does not change unless the DC bias current is changed. there is a large mean optical power.2. Hence. the instantaneous optical power in the ﬁber ﬂuctuates at radio frequency. say Po . the lower the SNR because. the RIN is proportional to the square of the optical power.1.7 for GaAs and 1. RIN and thermal noises.5. The following additional points are observed from the expression for signal to noise ratio: 1. Ip (t) = M Po [1 + ms(t)] = IP M [1 + ms(t)] 2 2 Ip (t) = M 2 IP [1 + ms(t)]2 2 The signal power i2 (t) = M 2 m2 Ip s2 (t) p The complete signal to noise ratio of an analog ﬁber optic link considering all these noise processes is given below. the shot noise does not change with modulating signal power and constant for a given modulation depth m. Thermal noise has a constant variance and depends on the receiver resistance only. Po is the mean optical power. Therefore.0 for Ge avalanche photodiodes. Considering direct intensity modulation on the laser diode. SN R ≈ 4.2. Neglecting attenuation in the ﬁber. SN R = 2 M 2 m2 IP s2 (t) 2 2qBM 2 F (M )IP + 4F KB To B/RL + PRIN IP M 2 F (M )B [1 + m2 E[s2 (t)]] (4. Analog Systems Analog systems differ from digital systems in following aspects: • The LASER or LED is always on. This has a white spectrum. the square of it increases with RF signal level depending on m. detector current Ip (t) is. This is seen from the expression in (4. • A relatively small ac component is superimposed on top of this mean value. • There will be RIN in addition to other noise. the RIN changes with RF signal level.Furthermore. The parameter x takes the value of 0. The higher the bandwidth B of s(t).14) Here m is the optical modulation index. The variance of the shot noise is linearly proportional to mean optical power in the ﬁber.12). Although the instantaneous optical power in the ﬁber ﬂuctuates due to RF intensity modulation. However.16) 2 2qBM 2 F (M )(IP + ID ) + 2qIL B + 4F KB To B/RL + PRIN IP M 2 F (M )B [1 + m2 E[s2 (t)]] SN R = This can be approximated to. experimentally it has been shown that the avalanche noise ﬁgure F (M ) ≈ M x . the modiﬁed signal to noise ratio due to the receiver noises is given by. 2 M 2 m2 IP s2 (t) (4. . 0.5.3 for Si.15) M 2 i2 p 2qBM x+2 Ip + 4F KB To B/RL (4. the instantaneous optical power output P (t) from the laser in response to input electrical signal s(t) is (|s(t)| ≤ 1).17) 4. This is also logical because.

2. The higher modulation index m yields better SNR.3). This is because more power is contained in the side bands compared to the unmodulated carrier. However. SN R = m2 s2 (t) m2 s2 (t) B ≈ PRIN F (M )[1 + m2 s2 (t) B PRIN F (M )B That is the SNR is independent to mean optical power and increases with the RF power. SNR increases with mean detected current IP . nonlinear effects limit m to a lower value (m < 0. Therefore. the SNR saturates. when the RF power is large enough (m2 E[s2 (t)] > 1). then (??) becomes. 1. large Po means relatively low m. However. there is an optimum m in the shot noise limited case that will give the highest SNR. In the shot noise limited case SN R = m2 IP s2 (t) 2qBF (M ) 2 M 2 m2 IP s2 (t) 2 M 2 F (M )B [1 + m2 E[s2 (t)]] + PRIN IP 2qBM 2 F (M )IP (4. 2. If the thermal noise at the receiver ampliﬁer is made small enough due to an improved design. However. Mean detected current is proportional to mean optical power Po .18) That is. SN R = From (4.18) we deduce that. . In the RIN limited case.

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