Conference Paper

Monitoring intensity-modulated data streams from a mach-zehnder modulator using a swept heterodyne spectrometer

Dept. of Phys., Univ. of Auckland, Auckland
DOI: 10.1109/ACOFT.2006.4519309 Conference: Optical Fibre Technology/Australian Optical Society, 2006. ACOFT/AOS 2006. Australian Conference on
Source: IEEE Xplore


We have demonstrated a sensitive technique for monitoring bit patterns used in BER testing and OTDM packet switched networks. A highly-sensitive, ultra-high resolution spectrometer has been developed to monitor the bit patterns at 2.5 Gbit/s.

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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this thesis was to develop novel technologies for measuring the physical characteristics of high-speed pulse trains, for use in performance monitoring applications. This thesis describes the development of three separate techniques that perform measurements in either the time domain, frequency domain or the phase space of the optical signal. The first section investigates phase-sensitive pulse measurement techniques. A high- resolution SHG-FROG apparatus was custom-designed to measure 40GHz RZ pulse trains, from which an operational characterisation of a Mach-Zehnder modulator (MZM) was realised. A numerical model of a nonlinear pulse compressor was developed to compress 40GHz RZ pulses from 8.5ps down to 3.4ps. These pulses were time-division multiplexed to 80GHz, and phase-retrievals of the 80GHz pulse trains were measured. A comparison between the techniques of SHG-FROG and linear spectrogram has been undertaken for 10GHz pulse sources, exposing SHG-FROG's weaknesses at this particular repetition rate. The second section investigates a simple, time-averaged, nonlinear detection technique. Two-photon absorption in a GaAs/InGaAs quantum-well laser diode was used to measure the duty cycle (and by extension, the pulse duration) of a range of pulse sources. This technique was further developed to measure the extinction ratio of NRZ pulse trains. Additionally, the pulse duration of a mode-locked laser source was measured using the nonlinear absorption in a 1-m length of As2Se3 Chalcogenide glass fiber. This demonstrates that the nonlinear properties of this glass may well find application in future instrumentation. The third section investigates the development of an ultra-high resolution swept heterodyne spectrometer. This spectrometer was used to spectrally-distinguish repetitive 8-bit NRZ patterns at 2.5Gbit/s. It was also used to measure the chirp parameter of an X-cut LiNbO3 MZM, revealing a chirp parameter of απ/2 < 0.1 across a modulation band- width of 250-2500MHz. Additionally, the distinctive CW spectrum of a DFB laser diode was measured. Analysis of the measured CW spectrum yielded a linewidth enhancement factor of α≃ 1.8 and also the relative intensity noise of the DFB laser diode.

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