Recently, there has been great interest in lightwave systems for the transmission of cable television signals. The format most commonly used is amplitude modulation vestigial sideband (AM-VSB), where the usual CATV electrical signal is imposed as intensity modulation on the optical wave. The requirements on laser noise and linearity in such systems are quite severe. External modulation of cw lasers offers a source that is in principle free of second harmonic distortion, one of the major factors degrading linearity.1 Such a source also has a compact optical spectrum, which while ameliorating distortion from dispersion2 can enhance the effect of optical nonlinearities, especially stimulated Brillouin scattering (SBS). SBS converts the transmitted signal in the fiber to a backward scattered one, and thus sets a limit to the total fiber injected power. Without modulation, the SBS threshold power is on the order of a few mW.3

© 1992 Optical Society of America

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