Erbium-doped Fiber Amplifier

Optical amplifier is an optical communication system device. It amplifies an optical signal directly, without converting an optical signal into an electrical signal.

Erbium-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA) is the first successful optical amplifier invented by the UK Southampton University and JP Tohoku University. It is one of the greatest invention in optical communication. Erbium-doped optical fiber is incorporated a small amount of a rare earth element erbium (Er) ion. It is the core of the EDFA. From the late 1980s, the EDFA research has been making a major breakthrough continuously. As WDM technology greatly increases the capacity of optical communication, it becomes the most widely used optical amplifier device in the optical fiber communication.

EDFA is constituted by a period of erbium-doped fiber (about 10-30m) and pump light source. The stimulated emission of erbium-doped fiber under the action of the pump light source (wavelength 980nm or 1480nm), and the radiation of light varies with the change of the input optical signal, which is equivalent to the input optical signal the amplification. Studies have shown that the erbium-doped fiber amplifiers are typically 15-40dB of gain can be obtained, and the distance relay can be increased on the basis of the original more than 100km. So, why did scientists use erbium-doped fiber element to increase the intensity of light? We know that erbium is a kind of rare earth elements, and rare earth elements has its special structural features. Over the years, people have been using the method which doped rare earth elements in optical devices to improve the performance of optics, so this is not an accidental factor. In addition, why is the pump source wavelength chosen from 980nm or 1480nm? In fact, the pumping light source wavelength could be 520 nm, 650nm, 980nm and 1480nm. But the practice has proved that the 1480nm wavelength pumping light source laser efficiency is the highest, followed by the 980nm wavelength.

The main advantage of EDFA is a high gain, wide bandwidth, high output power, high pumping efficiency, low insertion loss, and not sensitive to the polarization state.
1. Its amplifying area happens to coincide with the minimum loss area of single-mode fiber. This reduces the transmission loss of the light signal which can be transmitted relatively far distance.
2. It is transparent to digital signal format and data rate.
3. Its amplification bandwidth is so wide that dozens or even hundreds of channels can be transmitted in the same fiber.
4. It has low noise figure close to the quantum limit, which means that multiple amplifiers can be cascaded.
5. Its gain saturation recovery time is long, and has a very small crosstalk between the respective channels.

When EDFA is used in conventional optical digital communication system applications, we can save a lot of optical repeaters, and the distance relay could also be increased significantly, which is of great significance for the long-haul fiber optic cable trunking systems.

The main applications include:
1. It can be used as the light distance amplifier. Traditional electronic fiber optic repeater has many limitations. Such as a digital signal and the analog signal conversion, the repeater should be changed accordingly; repeater changes after the device is changed from a low rate to a high rate; only transmit the same wavelength of the optical signal, and the complex structure, expensive, and so on. Erbium-doped fiber amplifier to overcome these shortcomings, not only do not have to change with the change in the way of the signal, and equipment expansion or for optical wavelength division multiplexing, no need to replace.

2. It can be used for the transmitter amplifier and the optical receiver preamplifier. For the rear of the optical transmitter amplifier, the transmit power of the laser is increased from 0dB to +10 db. Optical receiver preamplifier, the sensitivity can also be greatly improved. Therefore, only the line of 1-2 erbium-doped amplifier, the signal transmission distance can be increased to 100-200km. In addition, the erbium-doped fiber amplifier problem to be solved the unique advantages of the erbium-doped fiber amplifier has been recognized by the world, and to be more widely used. However, the erbium-doped fiber amplifier there are also some limitations. For example, in the long-distance communication can not drop channel, each station business contacts is more difficult, not easy to find fault, pumping light source life is not long, as the optical fiber communication technology continues to progress, these problems will be satisfactorily resolved.

This entry was posted in Optical Amplifiers, WDM & Optical Access and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply