The gain and noise figure of Erbium-doped fiber amplifiers (EDFAs) must be monitored and controlled, if EDFAs are to be applied in 1.5 µm optical transmission systems [1], The gain control of EDFAs has already been investigated [2]. However, the noise figure has only been measured with RF spectrum analyzers [3], or with optical band-pass filters (OBPFs) [4]. This paper present a method that independently controls the noise figure and the gain of an EDFA, consisting of two Erbium-doped fibers (EDFs) pumped independently [5], by detecting the local spontaneous emission radiated laterally along the EDFs.

© 1992 Optical Society of America

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