Chapter 1

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
=


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


=
n
c
+
ω
c
dn

v
g
=


=
1
dβ/dω
=
c
(n +ωdn/dω)
Define the group refractive index n
g
as,
n
g
= n +ω
dn

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
=


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

∆ω = L

g

∆ω = L
d
2
β

2
(∆ω) = Lβ
2
(∆ω) (2.1)
Define the group velocity dispersion parameter β
2
,
β
2
=
d
2
β

2
Now, ω =
2πc
λ
. Therefore,


=
−2πc
λ
2
∆ω =
−2πc
λ
2
∆λ (2.2)
Group velocity dispersion,
D
GV D
=

g

=
d

_


_
=
d

_


_


=
−2πc
λ
2
d
2
β

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

c
v
g
=
−2π
λ
2
dn
g

=
−2π
λ
2
d
_
n +ω
dn

_

=
−2π
λ
2
dn



λ
2
ω
d
2
n

2
Therefore,
D
GV D
= D
mat
+D
WG
where the material dispersion D
mat
is,
D
mat
= −

λ
2
dn
2g

=
1
c
dn
2g

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

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
=

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,

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

=
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

_
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

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

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,

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

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

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

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

=
q

(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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