In this paper, we demonstrate the first operation of a 1.5 μm semiconductor laser pumped Brillouin amplifier. The high gain at the Stokes frequency and the corresponding low threshold for stimulated scattering, which results in the well known power limitation in optical fibers [1,2], permits the operation of a practical fiber optic Brillouin amplifier with modest (~3mW) pump power in the fiber . This is an order of magnitude less than the pump power requirements for a Raman amplifier. An optical gain of 5.5 dB/mW of pump power is obtained. The 15 MHz intrinsic bandwidth of the amplifier was extended to over 150 MHz by adding frequency modulation to the pump laser. Bit-error-rate system experiments demonstrate a useful gain of 16 dB at 10 Mbit/s and 8.5 dB at 90 Mbit/s.
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