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JOURNAL OF LIGHTWAVE TECHNOLOGY, VOL. 26, NO. 11, JUNE 1, 2008

**A Multiquantum-Dot-Doped Fiber Ampliﬁer With Characteristics of Broadband, Flat Gain, and Low Noise
**

Cheng Cheng

Abstract—Doped with PbSe nanocrystals of different sizes, a multiquantum-dot-doped ﬁber ampliﬁer (MQDFA) is proposed. Performance of the MQDFA is simulated by solving light-propagation equations and rate equations for a three-level system, and by applying superposed emission-absorption cross sections of the quantum dots (QDs). Pumped with 980 nm, this proposed MQDFA has characteristics of broader band, ﬂatter gain, and lower noise than those of the erbium-doped ﬁber ampliﬁers at present. There is evidence to show that two factors, i.e., the equivalent Stokes shifts and the full wave at half maximum of the superposed spectra, dominate the performances of the MQDFA. Also, the equivalent Stokes shift and the FWHM are tunable by adopting the QDs in different sizes and choosing the doped number available. It is expected that such a MQDFA may be able to cover the all waveband in telecommunications if it is optimized on the doped number, sizes, and doped concentrations of the QDs.

I. INTRODUCTION N THE pursuit of increasing the overall capacity of the wavelength-division-multiplexing (WDM) system, research effort has been directed towards developing a highly efﬁcient , broadband ﬁber ampliﬁer. Some rare-earth ions, such as , , and ions and/or their combinations are used as dopants in order to increase the transmission capacity of the WDM network. For example, Harun et al. [1] obtained a double-pass, long-wavelength band ( -band) erbium-doped ﬁber ampliﬁer (EDFA) with a bandwidth of 32 nm (1568–1600 nm) and a ﬂat gain of 33 dB. This is achieved by combining the bandwidth of conventional band ( -band) and -band. Lu et al. [2] presented a novel structure by combining two pieces of -band and -band dual-core erbium-doped ﬁbers. This novel ampliﬁer has a ﬂat gain of 15 dB over a wavelength range of 105 nm (1515–1620 nm). The gain variation for the band ﬂat gain region (1515–1555 nm) is 1.3 dB, and for the band ﬂat gain region (1562–1620 nm) is 1.5 dB. The noise ﬁgure varies from 4.5 to 4.8 dB over the whole bandwidth. In addition, thulium-doped ﬁber ampliﬁers (TDFAs) combined with the EDFAs dominate in a short-wavelength band ( -band) due to considerable performance of a gain of approximately 25 dB and a noise ﬁgure of less than 9 dB over a wide wavelength

I

Manuscript received September 13, 2007; revised December 5, 2007. This work was supported in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 60777023) and in part by the Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (No. Z407371). The author is with the Department of Applied Physics, Zhejiang University of Technology, Xiaoheshan, Hangzhou 310023, China (e-mail: chengch@zjut. edu.cn). Color versions of one or more of the ﬁgures in this paper are available online at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org. Digital Object Identiﬁer 10.1109/JLT.2008.923641

triple-band region of 1458–1540 nm [3]. Recently, an double-pass EDFA is reported, in which it is with an embedded dispersion-compensating ﬁber (DCF) module for WDM applications [4]. These new approaches may be considered as the best comparing with the many other variations at present. Although the EDFAs appear to offer bandwidths to spare, it is inadequate for future networks. It is believed that there is no enough space left to further develop the ampliﬁers doped with the rare-earth ions due to inherent atomic structures and spectral characteristics. Therefore, a specially designed and engineered dopants that can provide gain bandwidth at a higher level for the ﬁber ampliﬁers have being expected. Note that there has been a rapid development in nanocrystal material science recently. The nanocrystal is a sub-zero-dimensional material that is termed quantum dots (QDs). By virtue of their tunable sizes and shapes, these self-organized or self-assembled nanocrystals show unique characteristics of electrics and optics. For example, Brumer et al. [5] investigated nanocrystals of PbSe core and PbSe/PbS as saturable absorbers in passively -switched near-infrared laser. Their theoretical ﬁts yield a ground-state absorption cross section of m , an excited-state m and an effective absorption cross section of lifetime of s. Chung et al. [6] described the temporally depending ﬂuorescence intensity of CdSe nanocrystal quantum dots, which is based on single quantum dot ﬂuorescence blinking statistics. Some issues, e.g., the analytical model, the high gain and the gain saturation in the quantum-dot optical ampliﬁer were also investigated [7]–[9]; [10] and [11] reviewed the recent progresses in quantum dots applied to optoelectronic devices, including advanced sensors, sources, and ﬁlters. Some nanocrystal QDs, such as CdSe, CdTe, PbS, PbSe, and/or their combinations, possess desirable emission-absorption spectra that cover wavelength regions spanning 465–2340 nm [11] and [12]. In the QDs with a strong conﬁnement of electrons, small variations in the sizes can be translated into relatively large variations in the allowed energies, transition wavelengths, and spectral bandwidths. This inhomogeneous broadening degrades the lasing emissions of QDs. On the contrary, an optically pumped ampliﬁer can beneﬁt from this inhomogeneous broadening: broad, spectrally ﬂat gain with independent saturation of each channel is desirable for telecommunications. It has been shown that such ampliﬁers can achieve temperature-insensitive, low-noise, and low-crosstalk ampliﬁcation [13]. We presented a novel ﬁber ampliﬁer, namely a quantum-dotdoped ﬁber ampliﬁer (QDFA) in [14]. The PbSe QD with a diameter of 5.5 nm is adopted as a dopant, employing its favorable characteristics, e.g., its full-width at half-maximum (FWHM)

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the absorption-emission spectra have the similar proﬁles. in which the peak-peak spacing is nm corresponding to a size distribution .. in which the right Y-coordinate should be m ). resulting in the three-level system being degraded to a two-level system. the averaged cross sections are deﬁned as follows: (1) is the doped number involved in the simulation. Therefore. Although the larger QDs can absorb some short wavelength light emitted by the smaller QDs. as shown in Fig. generally. between level 3 and 2) is with a very big probability as an intraband transition. excepting the peak wavelengths (refer to Table I). it is required to choose other parameters available. etc. Figs. However.e. wavelength and the emission is corresponding to ranging 1450 1800 nm and peaking around 1630 nm. it is difﬁcult to further widen the bandwidth on such a singly doped QDFA due to its bandwidth restricted by the wavelength spacing of the emission-absorption peak (i.g. In contrast.e. 2(b). Absorbing . For the QDs with the other diameters. the QDs are excited pumping energy in the cross sections to populate the upper level 2 and 3. propagation equations of the light power with different frequencies are solved by using a numerical method in a single-mode condition. In this paper. Thus.. is simulated by a numerical method. It is possible to cover the the MQDFA can be further optimized on the key parameters. With a pump of 980-nm wavelength. including double. all of these QDs can be pumped with the same frequency since they all absorb with large cross sections on the short waveband. referred to Fig. and the noise ﬁgure decreases to 3. one is by the emission in a probability being proportional to the cross section . Note that some researches report that (i. e. 1 and 2(a). . Also. II. 1 of [14] due to inattention. . 980 nm) due to big absorption cross sections. The method solves the light propagation equations and the rate equations for a three-level system. and also due to the FWHM is not be tunable for the given species of QD in the same size.. one method is to use the dopants of multidoped QDs in different sizes. The PbSe-QD speciﬁcations in different diameters are shown in Table I. A multidoped QDFA (MQDFA). 2(a). the population of level 3 transits immediately down to level 2. e. all of which are determining factors on the performance of the ﬁber ampliﬁers. 1. the population of level 3 arising a probability from the excitation of the ground state cannot come straight back to the ground state following an emission due to a parity selection rule.. The population of level 2 comes back to the ground state by two channels. 3 and 4 show the absorption-emission cross sections in the triplet doping case. 1.. a three-level system is assigned. LEVELS AND CROSS SECTIONS The absorption and emission spectra of the PbSe QD with a diameter of 5.g. More important. respectively. 1 showing a single-emission peak . which uses the superposed cross sections.e.2 dB with the signal gain of 20 dB [14]. the Stokes shift). due to the linear superposition of the cross sections depending on their sizes. The ability to pump several different QDs with a single frequency is a major advantage over current natural dopants. To increase the bandwidth of the QDFA.g. etc.. In the emission peak and the ﬁrst absorption peak MQDFA. So. in [14]. in which level 3 includes a level group and level 2 includes two-ﬁne levels corresponding to both the . Referred to Fig. In a steady-state approximation. as shown in Fig. The resulting bandwidth of 3 dB increases to 50 nm. in which the absorptions are corresponding to . wavelength ranging 800 1800 nm and peaking around 1550 nm. the doped number. electron-hole transitions are shown in Fig. the spacing of the spectrum peaks. As an where example.5 nm are measured.5 4. and . this can be accommodated by changing the doped number.5 nm [14]. and another is by a nonradiative transition in .. These performances have advantages over the EDFAs at present. Emission-absorption spectra of the PbSe QDs in a diameter of 5. Fig. it is reasonable that the population of level 3 de-excites to level 2 by the nonradiative transition in a probability . pumping wavelength and pumping power. Considering Figs.. There is evidence to show that this proposed MQDFA possesses more attractive performance on the bandwidth than either the singly doped QDFA or the conventional triple band if EDFAs. and then to the ground state by the other emission/nonradiative transition. The values of the cross section peak can be determined by Beer-Lambert’s law [17] (note that there is an erratum in Fig. an effective Stokes shift and a broader FWHM can be obtained by overlapping the cross sections of the QDs in different sizes.CHENG: MULTIQUANTUM-DOT-DOPED FIBER AMPLIFIER 1405 reaches up to 150 nm with its absorption and emission peak merely locating at 1550 and 1630 nm. the pumping is usually located at a short wavelength (e. . we describe the emission-absorption and the superposed cross sections of the PbSe QD. such as ﬁber length.5 dB [15] and [16]. the bandwidth. with 30-nm bandwidth and noise ﬁgure of 3. triplet. and the relative concentrations. and quartet dopings. gain and noise are estimated in the conditions of a single mode and a steady approximation. or level 3 has a very short ﬂuorescence lifetime ( ps [18] and [19]). 1. In the multidoped case. i. the QD concentrations and the optimal combinations of the QDs in different sizes.

and the black solid lines corresponding to the averaged cross sections . 26. The three-level system is employed in this paper. the FWHM of the overlapping spectra can be regarded as the ﬁrst key determining the bandwidth of the MQDFA. In the cases of the double and quartet dopings. such a broad FWHM is favorable to from a broadband exciton and emission. 4. 2 times broad compared with the single QD case. as in the case of the ﬁber supporting only the two polarization states of the lowest order optical mode. D = 5:5 6 (5 10%)) and the Fig. The light propagating in the ﬁber is dispersed as beams with different frequencies. Supposing the homogenous medium or no dispersive effect involved. VOL. The scattering arising from such a dopant in big sizes (compared with atomic sizes of the rare-earth ions) can be . either for the absorption or for the emission. for the pumping power in wavelength . (dotted line) absorptions. can be given. 3. Obviously. NO. Emission cross sections (for nm averaged cross section in the triplet doping case.1406 JOURNAL OF LIGHTWAVE TECHNOLOGY. as shown in Appendix. the rate equations. including for the signal power in wavelength . Fig. its equivalent FWHM is widened to 300 nm. for the noise and for the level population and . In models that have ampliﬁed-spontaneous emission (ASE). showing a ﬂat proﬁle. 2. For the absorption. 2008 TABLE I PbSe-QD SPECIFICATIONS [12] AND [20] Fig. D = 5:5 6 (5 10%)) and the nm . JUNE 1. For the emission. 11. Absorption cross sections (for nm averaged cross section in the triplet doping case. the proﬁles of the overlapping spectra are similar. the ﬁrst absorption peak disappears already. Notice that the averaged cross sections are already ﬂattened by the superposition. Level diagram of the PbSe QD. both the forward and backward directions should be included. (Bold solid line) Emission. The number of modes in (A1) in Appendix is 2 for the noise. and (thin solid line) nonradiative transitions. Then.

.. 75. e. where are the redifference fractive indexes of core and cladding) and employing the small ﬁber-core radius related with the normalized signal frequency for single modes. In the steady-state case. Table III shows length the implemented results in different doping cases. 3. bandwidths and noise ﬁgures of the MQDFA as a function of wavelength . it is acceptable to choose a middling s among these data. 3. not being discussed here. 100. 25. their values are listed in Table III corresponding to the wavelength with the maximum gain. Two approximations/conditions are adopted in our modeling. (A1)–(A3) are integrated over space . 50. respectively. in which the is deﬁned as the bandwidth of 3 dB as usual..g. A detailed description of the equations can be referred to [14]. and 4.) peak spacing are employed in our implementation. 207. [20]. the bandwidth of the multidopings has an obvious advantage over the single doping. From Table III. Only the pumping forward direction is implemented. where the doped concentration m as described below). In the current work.. e. respecdata are reported. one can obtain the signal gains. and [21]. Once the initial conditions for the pumping power . Here. and boundary conditions for the frequencies are speciﬁed and . Among these peak-peak spacing. and . and time . As for the noise ﬁgure determined by (A7) and (A8) in the Appendix. 1) a weak-guidance approximation. then the differential equations are reduced to the algebraic equations. An optimized EDFA is also listed in the last row in Table III to be compared with the MQDFA. in [18]. and 277 nm for the doped number .g. etc. different experimental measured in [18] and [19]. reaching to as much as 122.CHENG: MULTIQUANTUM-DOT-DOPED FIBER AMPLIFIER 1407 TABLE II PARAMETERS OF THE MQDFA USED IN THIS PAPER TABLE III COMPUTATIONAL RESULTS OF THE MQDFA neglected due to Rayleigh scattering ( . in which the ﬁber parameters (the core radius . while the bandwidth is inversely proportional to . fabricated by Corning. with an inputted signal power of 30 dBm and a double pumping pass in the wavelength 1499 nm [15]. where the EDFA is doped with the concentration of m m . 150. tively.g. e.138 s.e. On the other hand. and 57 nm for 185.e. and 2) a single-mode condition by choosing a suitable refractive ( . Table II lists the parameter values required in the computational implementation. and locating the pumping wavelength spacing at 980 nm. Researches show that the signal gain is proportional to . coinciding with the peak-wavelength tolerance in Table II. the refractive-index and the excess ﬁber loss ) are chosen to be difference the same with the usual ﬁbers. some different peak(e. it is necessary to choose a suitable QD-concentration . in (A1). i. and 200 nm. the maximum 190 nm in the case of ﬂat bandwidth is nm corresponding to the maximum . and so low doped-volume-ratio of . Note that the values of the ﬂat bandwidth depending on are proportional to the equivalent Stokes shift . By scanning signal wavelength from 1400 through 1800 nm nm.. III. the left of the (A1) equaling to zero. i. With and . 120. supposing each being the same and in a uniform spacial distribution. 0.3 and 0. the total QD concentration is chosen as m . 200. an acceptable gain ( 20 dB) these values of the and a broad bandwidth ( 100 nm) can be obtained at a ﬁberby numerically solving (A1)–(A6). The transition probability of the level is ps . optionally chosen nm is available. the signal power . and 4. Ltd.. and is deﬁned as the ﬂat bandwidth of 1 dB. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION To obtain a desirable gain bandwidth of the MQDFA.g. Here. at frequency . the pumping wavelength . As to .

2008 nm (for ). howto the size distribution ever. In this nm is due to corresponding paper. This simulation is required to be veriﬁed by experiments. 5. Therefore. for .g. but not just MQDFA should be the doped number . and . As an initial estimation. Thereafter. Therefore. In this way. the signal gain and the noise ﬁgure at the ﬁber-length are shown in Fig. Thus. and shelf lifetime. a useful criterion used in the be of the superposing spectra. 6. Fig. resulting in no enough population to be accumulated in the upper level. reaching to 120 nm and extending to the -band connected with the -band.. The reasons can be ascribed to the fact s of the PbSe QD. namely. the gain of the MQDFA barely reaches to 20 dB in the conditions listed in Table II. such an optimization is beyond this paper due to 3). to 5 orders of magnitude larger than that of the On the other hand. this is because the cross sections of the QD are even ion. such a 100 nm is not likely to be suitable for the other size distributions. As an example. the relation between and can be probed. the gain increases with ﬁber length (refer to Fig. 6). Fig. Note that the gain and the bandwidth are conﬁned each other.1408 JOURNAL OF LIGHTWAVE TECHNOLOGY. Fig. Deﬁning a factor to describe gain-bandwidth characteristics of the MQDFA. The MQDFA suggested in this paper is un-optimized. a broad size distribution of the QD is preferred due to the broad emitted-absorption spectra and obvious Stokes shift in the multidoped case. e. Different combinaand possess different . It is even expected that the MQDFA will become a potential competitor among a variety of ﬁber ampliﬁers in the future if great efforts can be made by developing technologies. 6.. there are difﬁculties in laboratory technologies. No doubt. As a broadband ampliﬁer of the doped QD. it is diftions of ﬁcult to obtain a maximum if only increases (e. 6 shows the signal gain and the ﬂat bandwidth as a function of ﬁber length. although the QD has some disadvantages in the current days in respect of. despite a sharp size distribution being preferred in some of photoelectronic devices. a desirable MQDFA with either broadband or high gain according the constant value can be designed to meet different requirements for telecommunications. here) while (or ) is kept unaltered. However. From Fig. making a uniform distribution in hollow ﬁbers in m magnitude. all of which demand further efforts in the future. except from the ﬁrst point) among the involved ﬁber lengths. If one optimizes the parameters together with . where the region between two vertical lines are the ﬂat waveband of 1 dB. while that so much short lifetime it is as long as 10 ms for ion. etc. the longer length number increases. the ﬂat bandwidth of 1 dB can arrive to 200 300 nm with the gain of 20 30 dB on the triple band. showing a ﬂat proﬁle in the interested wavelength region. VOL. the narrower the bandwidth.3 dB. the value comes near to a constant ( 500. the equivalent Stokes shift can be regarded as the second key determining the bandwidth of the MQDFA. the optimally doped number may 2 or 4. e. Big Stokes shifts are advantageous to produce more exciton of the QD around the emission-peak wavelengths due to both big excitations and small absorptions despite the cross section tops being ﬂattened by the superposition. . being smaller compared with the EDFA.g. 11. as presented in [24]. (or ). Based on the discussion above. this is because the averaged cross secdue to a tions deﬁned in (1) become smaller increased with constant cross section for each QD. the equivalent Stokes shift is dependent on both the doped number and the peak-peak spacing related with the size distributions (or ). NO. Signal gain and the bandwidth as a function of ﬁber length (for N = too much work involved in the optimization depending on an algorithm and an inverse process that have to be described. is required as the doped From Table III. The noise ﬁgure stays a constant 3. 26.g.. An optimal MQDFA can be obtained by optimizing its key parameters. JUNE 1. including doping QDs into ﬁber cores according to the given concentration ratio. the higher the gain. it is important to seek the maximum . However. 5. so chosen nm . Note that the ﬁber lengths of the MQDFA available are always much shorter than that of the EDFA. stability. In fact. and solidifying the colloid dopants in cores. a coating technology. in which 1595 nm is with the maximum gain. developments of the MQDFA depend closely on the quality of quantum dots to be enhanced. Signal gain and the noise ﬁgure as a function of wavelength (for N = 3). consistency.

For the noise ﬁgure NF. is the number of modes in the case of the lowest order is the contribution of spontaneous optical mode. and are given in the text. the ﬁrst term is for the emission gain. The ampliﬁed-spontaneous emission (ASE). there is a formula with a little difference in form from ones given in [14]. the second term is for the absorption loss. effective noise-bandwidth and signal gain .e. however. where is the total QD concentration. It is expected to cover the triple band if the MQDFA can be further optimized. i. the ground state can be also determined from (A2) and (A4) with the steady-state approximation (A5) From (A1). backward components are included. respectively. which are tunable by using the dopants in different sizes and the different doped number in the MQDFA. and . when comparison is made with either the singly doped QDFA or the conventional EDFAs. Coming from matching the solutions at (for ). The rate equation for the ground state is given by (A4) Similarly. The ﬁrst term on the right hand 2 of (A2) is the loss of the absorption including the level 1 3 corresponding to the cross sections of the and and 1 . the values of . is the normalized transverse mode. and 4. and the population of the level 3. the optical power in the frequency along the axis can be obtained by a numerical computation employing the given parameters of . labeled with the noise-power . which is given by (A6) where are the zeroth. . (A4). respectively. is the nonradiative transition probability . The second term is from the emission with the cross section . both the forward and for noise. signal and noise. each beam is traveling either in the forward or backward direction. [22]. . while for the signal and pumping beams. . [15]. On the right hand of (A1). . is the effective noise bandwidth. AND [23] The equation for the optical power in frequency as follows: is given is from level 2 to 1. In this paper. is the emission (absorption) cross section. the subscript denotes the pump. are shown in Figs. Followed by the conservation law. the variables and have the approximation and under the weakly guided approximation. and the last term is for the excess ﬁber loss including scattering loss. and the normalized frequency (where are the refractive indexes of core and cladding). CONCLUSION The MQDFA proposed in this paper has observable advantage in the bandwidth. Among the keys inﬂuencing the bandwidth of MQDFA are the equivalent Stokes shift and the FWHM of the superposed cross sections. and emission. the third term is caused by the nonradiative transition from level 2. APPENDIX [14]. Here. are the populations of the ground state and the upper level of the emission. of level 3 with the cross section The rate equation for the population of level 2 is given by (A3) where is the nonradiative transition probability from level 3 to 2. is the excess ﬁber loss per length. 3. With a steady-state approximation and from (A3).3 dB can be reached in the case of triplet doping with a peak-peak spacing of 100 nm. and (A5). one has (A1) where is the signal/pumping beam power and the noise power in the frequency .CHENG: MULTIQUANTUM-DOT-DOPED FIBER AMPLIFIER 1409 IV. corresponds to the longest wavelengths of the absorption/emission. In respect of the gain and noise.and ﬁrst-order Bessel functions. A ﬂat bandwidth ( 1 dB) of 120 nm with a signal gain of 20 dB and a noise ﬁgure of 3. it shows no desirable performance as compared with the singly doped QDFA. the noise ﬁgure NF is deﬁned as follows: (A7) (A2) where corresponds to the shortest absorption (emission) wavelength. . Note that (A1) includes 3 independent equations. respectively. is the Planck constant. and is the transversal model intensity with a fundamental mode and frequency . corresponding to the pump.. only considered a single-mode approximation here. and the last term is from the transition . respectively. 1.

1148–1152..com 0 0 [13] F. 15. no. and X. 248. 15. Wehrenberg.Sc. Lett.” J. Nov. and R. 72. pp.. P. A. Nov. Apr. H. 39. he was with the Hangzhou Normal University. Phys. vol. gain and noise of a PbSe quantum dot-doped ﬁber ampliﬁer. D. no. Brumer. pp. 195312–195316. 2006. 2. Chu. Zhang. O’Reilly.1410 JOURNAL OF LIGHTWAVE TECHNOLOGY. Jin. [19] J.. Cheng and M. vol. 16. B. 2006. Q. vol. In 2001. vol. Cheng is an Associate Chair of the Physics Society of Zhejiang Province and Director of the Optical Society of Zhejiang Province. 16. pp. Peng. Lee. Oct. He visited the Royal Institute of Sweden during 1998–1999 and the University of Arkansas.and L-band dualcore EDFAs in a parallel conﬁguration. 515–522. no. no. Su. Chem. Tamchek. Krishnan et al. 11. [15] C. 2005. no. W.. pp. Rev. “Photobrightening and photodarkening in PbS quantum dots. Chengdu. [17] W.. Krauss. Lightw. [23] L.” J. pp. 106. 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