Semiconductor-based optical amplifiers (SOAs) offer solutions to a variety of amplification needs covering wavelengths ranging from of 0.6 to 1.6 μm. Gain adjustment, through the bias current, enables automatic power control to be implemented. However, this requires knowledge of the signal strength. The amplified spontaneous emission power, particularly in high gain SOAs, can be significant with respect to the signal strength, and therefore additional components may be required to derive an accurate measure of the signal strength. This increases both the complexity and cost of implementing automatic power control (APC). We report on a method for estimating the signal strength based on measurement of the total output power and the SOA drive current. The method is extendable to other methods of optical amplification, e.g., erbium-doped fiber amplifiers.
- semiconductor optical amplifier
- automatic power control
- amplified spontaneous emission