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Performance of lightwave systems incorporating multilongitudinal mode laser and optically preamplified receiver combinations

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Abstract

The performance of optical communication systems employing multilongitudinal mode laser and semiconductor laser preamplified receiver combinations is investigated theoretically, emphasis being placed on the influence of mode partition noise (MPN). Two types of MPN are considered in the analysis: one owing to wavelength-dependent fibre dispersion and the other owing to the wavelength-dependent attenuation mechanism associated with both the amplifier gain and optical filter transmission characteristics. To reduce the influence of amplifier gain ripple and to ensure high receiver performance the mode spacing and the centre mode wavelength of the laser source may need to match closely those of the amplifier, especially for high internal amplifier gains and substantial facet reflectivity. For example, for 1% amplifier facet reflectivity, 30 dB internal optical gain, and 3 nm half-spectral-width laser the receiver sensitivity degrades by 5.1 dB when the lengths of the laser and the amplifier differ by 5%. In contrast with 0.1 and 0.01% reflectivity this reduces to 1.95 dB and 0.4 dB, respectively. We also show that for multimode laser operation there is an optimum bandwidth for the bandpass optical filter at which the required detectable optical power for a given bit error rate (BER) is minimum. Operating with filter bandwidth less than this optimum value will degrade dramatically the sensitivity and may, even in the absence of fibre dispersion, lead to a BER floor in the presence of MPN. The analysis presented here may be used to provide guidelines for the design of optical systems based on laser amplifiers and multimode or nearly single mode laser sources.

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