As data transmission rates continue to increase, pulsed lasers are becoming increasingly important for telecom applications. Transmission systems at 10 GHz and higher often use RZ pulse formats and soliton dispersion management techniques. These approaches would benefit greatly from the availability of simple, compact, transform-limited optical pulse generators. There are many compelling reasons to use a pulsed laser directly as an optical source in telecommunications systems. First, they eliminate the need for a modulator to create the pulses and thereby simplify system architecture, increase efficiency, and reduce cost. Secondly, the extinction ratio of pulsed lasers is typically very good and much higher than modulated cw sources. This improves system signal-to-noise and allows further scaling to higher repetition rates through optical time-division multiplexing. Furthermore, pulsed lasers can have a transform limited (chirp free) output, which occupies the minimum optical bandwidth for a given pulse duration (and thus bit rate).

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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