Very high capacity WDM systems are now a commercial reality and as the channel count has con tinued to increase, so has the interest in multi-wavelength laser sources for a number of potential applications such as passive and active WDM component characterization and transmission. Multi-wavelength sources may be used instead of a number of discrete laser sources or tunable laser sources, to reduce cost, electrical driver real estate and measurement procedure complexity. For example multi-wavelength laser sources are ideal for optical amplifier characterization where the gain profile must be saturated across its whole spectrum for reliable measurements or PMD and PDL measurements that are usually carried out with tunable sources. So far a number of techniques have been demonstrated to obtain multi-wavelength operation including spectrum slicing in LED’s,1 amplified spontaneous emission from EDFAs,2 supercontinuum generation in fiber3 and femtosecond pulses.4 Multiwavelength operation was also been demonstrated with a liquid nitrogen cooled EDF laser oscillator with a fiber Lyot filter5 and an EDF laser with an intracavity grating.6 More recently multi-wavelength operation has been obtained in semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA) cavities.7–9

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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