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EDFA Amplifier Raman Amplifier Semiconductor Amplifier


Prepared and Presented By:

Saimunur Rahman
Metric No: C093003 Dept. of Computer Science & Engineering International Islamic University Chittagong

Introduction to Optical Amplifiers

In order to transmit signals over long distances (>100 km) it is necessary to compensate for attenuation losses within the fiber. Initially this was accomplished with an optoelectronic module consisting of an optical receiver, a regeneration and equalization system, and an optical transmitter to send the data. Although functional this arrangement is limited by the optical to electrical and electrical to optical conversions.

Several types of optical amplifiers have since been demonstrated to replace the OE electronic regeneration systems.

Introduction to Optical Amplifiers (Cont.)

These systems eliminate the need for E-O and O-E conversions. This is one of the main reasons for the success of todays optical communications systems.

Optical Amplifiers

The general form of an optical amplifier:

Optical Amplifier Types

Some types of Optical Amplifiers are:

Semiconductor optical amplifiers(SOAs) Fiber Raman and Brillouin amplifiers Rare earth doped fiber amplifiers

The most practical optical amplifiers to date include the SOA and EDFA types.

New pumping methods and materials are also improving the performance of Raman amplifiers.

Today we shall talk about these

Optical Amplifiers

some comparisons among them.

EDFA Amplifier
An Overview

A figure of EDFA Device

Inside an EDFA

History of EDFA Amplifier

Before the invention of EDFAs regenerators we're used to amplify signal which was very costly and inefficient to use. Idea for EDFA invented in 1960s First commercial viable EDFA invented in 1987 by researchers from Southampton University and AT&T Bell Laboratories.

What is EDFA Amplifier?

EDFA stands for Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifier. Where, Erbium is a chemical element of lanthanide series in periodic table.

Erbium symbol is Er and atomic number is 68.

Erbium looks like a silvery-white solid metal when artificially isolated. Erbium's principal uses involve its pink-colored Er3+ ions, which have optical fluorescent properties particularly useful in certain laser applications. Erbium-doped glasses or crystals can be used as optical amplification media, where erbium (III) ions are optically pumped at around 980 nm or 1480 nm and then radiate light at 1530 nm in stimulated emission.

What is EDFA Amplifier? (Cont.)

Fig: Erbium-colored glass

This process results in an unusually mechanically simple laser optical amplifier for signals transmitted by fiber optics. This is known as Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifier or simply EDFA.

Erbium doped fiber: Profile

Basic EDFA overview

EDFA convert optical signal to another amplified optical signal without using any electrical domain.

Fig: Basic Block diagram of EDFA

Working Principle of EDFA

Fig: Energy level transferring block

Working Principle of EDFA (Cont.)

The 980 nm pump laser excites erbium ions from lower energy level 1 into a higher energy level 3. From level 3 the erbium ions goes to level 2.

From level 2 the erbium ion into x which 1550nm signal which jumps back to lower level 1.
In this there is emission of 1550nm photon. This process is known a stimulated emission.

EDFA has an amplification window for optical wave analysis for which the optical fiber has useable gain.
This wavelength range is gain able by a properties of dopained ion, the glass structure of optical fiber and the wavelength and power of pump laser.

Schematic diagram of EDFA

Gain Spectrum for EDFA

Since the gain spectrum of erbium resembles a 3-level atom it is possible to model the gain properties using this approach.

Several different wavelength bands have been designated for wavelength division multiplexing and EDFAs have been designed to operate in these bands. The divisions have been designated as:

S-Band1480-1520nm C-Band1521-1560 nm L-Band 1561-1620nm

Optical Gain of EDFA

Rare earth doped optical amplifiers work much like a laser. The primary difference is that they do not have a resonator. Amplification occurs primarily through the stimulated mission process. The medium is pumped until a population inversion state is achieved. Pump powers are typically several 20-250 mW. An isolator is used to reduce reflections at the input to the amplifier. A narrow band optical filter is used to reduce transmission of amplified spontaneous emission frequency components. The resultant optical gain depends both on the optical frequency and the local beam intensity within the amplifier section.

Optical Gain of EDFA (Cont.)

For basic discussion consider a two-level homogeneously broadened medium. The gain coefficient can be expressed as: Here, 0 is the peak gain, is the optical frequency of the incident signal, 0 is the transition frequency, P is the optical power of the incident signal, T2 is the dipole relaxation time, and Ps is the saturation power. Typically T2 is small < 1ps, and the saturation power Ps depends on gain medium parameters such as the fluorescence time and the transition cross section.

Gain and noise figure of EDFA


Fig: A Characteristic plot of gain and noise figure for an erbium doped fiber amplifier pumped ~30 mW at 980 nm.

EDFA Gain Equalization

Gain equalization can be accomplished in several ways:

Thin film filters Long period fiber gratings Chirped fiber Bragg gratings

Gain Flattering

Characteristics of EDFAs: (Advantages)

High power transfer efficiency from pump to signal power (> 50%). Wide spectral band amplification with relative flat gain (>20dB) useful for WDM applications. Saturation output> 1mW (10 to 25 dBm). Gain-time constant long (>100 msec) to overcome patterning effects and inter-modulation distortions( low noise). Large dynamic range. Low noise figure. Polarization independent. Suitable for long-haul applications.

Disadvantages of EDFAs:

Relatively large devices (km lengths of fiber) not easily integrated with other devices. ASE amplified spontaneous emission. There is always some output even with no signal input due to some excitation of ions in the fiber spontaneous noise. Cross-talk effects. Gain saturation effects.

Applications of EDFA

EDFA can be used as:

Power amplifiers Inline amplifiers, As well as preamplifiers.

Raman Amplifier
An Overview

A figure of Raman Amplifier Device

History of Raman Amplifier

The Raman scattering of light was discovered more than 70 years ago and was named after one of the authors of the discovery. In 1971 Stolen et al experimentally observed the stimulated Raman emission in a single-mode optical fiber. This experiment was the beginning of more than 25yearsdevelopment of practical Raman fiber amplifiers and lasers. In 1980 the Raman amplifier was started. From 1990 we communication. are practically using these devices for

What is Raman Amplifier?

A Raman amplifier is a device which takes input and amplified in the same direction or opposite direction with pump laser . Here is a very important rule/formula we must consider for this amplification. Wavelength < Wavelength Usually a few tens of nm

The mechanism behind Raman Amplifier

The mechanism behind the Raman amplification is Stimulated Raman Scattering (SRS). SRS is a non linear effect of optical fiber. For the SRS the optical power must b greater than the threshold to happen at least minimum 500mW. This is a codition. Now we will look at how it actually happens.

The mechanism behind Raman Amplifier (Cont.)

The photon of pump beam p is scattered by molecules in the fiber medium and become the lower energy photon s .

The valance of the energy becomes vibration and dissipated in the fiber medium.
For instance optical power this non linear effect can transfer most of the pump power p into signal power s.

Raman Gain Coefficient

The frequency difference between p and s has to match a relationship in order to fully use of this non linear effect. This is sown here by using Raman gain coefficient graph.

Raman Gain Coefficient (Cont.)

First picture is showing the pump laser at 1535nm which has more higher signal to data signal.

In second picture, the pump laser power transferred to the signal power as shown here.

Raman Amplifier Types

There are basically two types of Raman amplifiers as given here: Distributed Raman Amplifier (DRA) uses the transmission fiber itself as the medium, into which a backward pump is injected. Discrete (Lumped) Raman Amplifier (RA) The amplifier consists of a coil of dedicated fiber together with pumps.

Real World Raman Amplifier Application

For getting the full benefits of amplification EDFA and Raman amplifiers as used together.

Distributed amplifier amplifies the signal in a backward direction.

EDFA amplifier amplifies the signal in a forward direction.

Here we have shown the figure of signal levels and how it changed.

Properties of Raman Amplifiers:

The peak resonance in silica fibers occurs about 13THz from the pump wavelength. At 1550nm this corresponds to a shift of about 100 nm.

As indicated power is transferred from shorter wavelengths to longer wavelengths.

Coupling with the pump wavelength can be accomplished either in the forward or counter propagating direction. Power is coupled from the pump only if the signal channel is sending a 1 bit.

Pump Arrangement to Extend the Range for St. Raman Amplification:

An array of laser diodes can be used to provide the Raman pump. The beams are combined and then coupled to the transmission fiber. The pump beams can counter propagate to the direction of the signal beams.

Difficulties with Raman Amplifiers

The Pump and amplified signals are at different wavelengths. Therefore the signal and the pump pulses will separate due to dispersion (waveguide dispersion) after a certain propagation distance.

A 1 psec pump pulse at 600nm separates from a 1 psec Stokes pulse in~30 cm.
A second problem is that the pump power decreases along the fiber length due to linear absorption and scattering Raman gain is greater at the input end. A final problem results from amplifying spontaneous Raman photons. This occurs when the pump power is increased to offset attenuation losses and spontaneous Raman photons are coupled into the guided mode all along the length of the fiber. This increases noise.

A discrimination between EDFA and RA after a long brief

Combined EDFA and RA

With only an EDFA at transmit end the optical power level decreases over the fiber length.

With an EDFA and Raman the minimum optical power level occurs toward the middle, not the end of the end of the fiber.

Application of Raman Amplifier

Raman Amplifiers can be used as:

Preamplifiers Power amplifiers Distributed amplifiers in a number of digital and analogical transmission experiments.

Semiconductor Amplifier
An Overview

A figure of Semiconductor Amplifier Device

Semiconductor Amplifier

An electrical current passed through the device that excites the electrons in the active region.

When photon(light) travel through the active region it can cause these electron to lose some of their extra energy in the form of more photons that match the wavelength of the initial ones.
Therefore, an optical signal passing through the active region is amplified and is said to have experienced gain.

Semiconductor Amplifier (Cont.)

Both edges of the SOA are designed to have very low reflectivity so that there are no unwanted reflections of the signal within the semiconductor itself.

This is the main difference from regular laser that have reflective facets in order to build up the intensity of light within the semiconductor material.

SOA: Amplification Process

Semiconductor have conduction band.



At thermal equilibrium valance band has higher population. Under population conduction band population. inversion condition will have higher

Population inversion is achieved by forward biasing the p-n junction.

SOA Design

Characteristics of SOA:

Polarization dependent require polarization maintaining fiber. Relatively high gain ~20 dB. Output saturation power 5-10 dBm. Large BW. Can operate at 800,1300,and 1500nm wavelength regions. Compact and easily integrated with other devices

Characteristics of SOA (Cont.)

Can be integrated into arrays High noise figure and cross-talk levels due to nonlinear phenomenon such as 4-wave mixing. This feature restricts the use of SOAs. Limited in operation below 10Gb/s. (Higher rates are possible with lower gain.)

SOA Vs. Semiconductor Laser

Both are similar and in principle and construction. Essentially Fabry-Perot cavities, with amplification achieved by external pumping. The key of SOA is to preventing self-oscillations gathering laser output. SOAs is electrically pumped by injected current.

SOA Applications

Power booster. In-line amplifier. Detector preamplifier. Optical switching element. Wavelength converter.

Optical Amplifiers (in short)



ErDoped Fiber Amplifier EDFA


High gain (4050 dB), Low noise (35 dB), Low polarization sensitivity, EDFAs are fully compatible with the rest of the fiber optic transmission link.


Large size, High pump power consumption (efficiency 10dB/1mW).

Raman Amplifier (RA)


Low noise (35 dB). Wide gain bandwidth (up to 10 nm). Distributed amplification within the transmission fiber.


Low gain (10 dB).

Requirement of high pump power.

Semiconductor Optical Amplifier


Small size. Transmission bidirectional. Smaller output power then EDFA. Less expensive then EDFA.


Lower gain (2030 dB) then EDFA.

Higher noise (712 dB) then EDFA. Polarization dependence. High nonlinearity.

A short comparison

discussed amplifiers

Optical Amplifier: Comparison

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