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Glass Amplifiers For Integrated Networks

Objective

GAIN studies and develops a family of optical fibre amplifiers, operating in all established telecommunications windows and therefore relevant to all application sectors.
The research concerns the realization of a family of fundamentally important components (namely optical fibre amplifiers) operating in all established telecommunications windows and therefore relevant to all applications sectors. The research covers fibre amplifiers for applications across the optical spectrum, based on rare earth doped glass structures. Parts of this project aimed to improve the attributes of third window erbium doped fibre amplifier (EDFA) and to extend the benfits of fibre amplifiers to the more commonly used 1300 nm window, which forms the current basic broadband main network infrastructure. The research also addresses the feasibility of amplifying fibres in other spectral regions, particularly at 800 nm, for local area networks (LAN) and computer interconnects.

Fluoride glasses have been developed which are capable of acting as a good host material for the fabrication of single mode fibres (SMF) doped with rare earth ions in the core region. Active fibres, based on fluorozirconate glass (ZBLAN), doped with erbium, praseodymium or thulium have been drawn, characterized and used in amplification experiments in all windows. Based on these achievements, prototyope amplifiers at 0.8 um, 1.3 um and 1.5 um have been specified and fabricated. The associated engineering studies have yielded original technical solutions, such as a reliable jointing technique, allowing the low loss coupling of high numerical aperture fluoride fibres with conventional silica fibres.

The practicality of amplification in the first window has been demonstrated. In LANs, where distances are small and splitting losses high, the thulium doped fluoride fibre amplifiers offer good performance for potentially low cost. The availability of fibre amplifiers operating in the second window offers a serious alternative for the upgrading at 2.5 or 10 Gbits/s of the enormous installed fibre base, as well as for the development of future FTL systems. The demonstrated feasibility of flat gain amplification over a 25 nm range in the third window strengthens the concepts of transparent multiwavelength networks.
The study will cover fibre amplifiers based on rare-earth doped glass structures. GAIN aims to improve the attributes of third-window EDFA's, and to extend the benefits of fibre amplifiers to the more commonly-used 1300 nm window, which forms the current basic broadband main network infrastructure. It also addresses the feasibility of amplifying fibres at 800 nm - for LANs and computer interconnects.

Key Issues

- Amplifier prototypes for the three telecommunications windows at 0.8 um, 1.3 um and 1.5 um.
- Performance evaluation of these amplifier prototypes by laboratory systems' testbed experiments.
- Network impact analysis.

Expected Impacts

The project achievements are expected to have a large impact on the future developments of optical networks:

- The practicality of amplification in the first window has been demonstrated: in LANs, where distances are small and splitting losses high, the Tm-doped fluoride fibre amplifiers offer good performance for potentially low cost.
- The availability of fibre amplifiers operating in the second window offers a serious alternative for the upgrading at 2.5 or 10 Gbit/s of the enormous installed fibre base, as well as for the development of future FTL systems.
- The demonstrated feasibility of flat-gain amplification over a 25 nm range in the third window strengthens the concepts of Transparent Multiwavelength Networks.

Coordinator

Alcatel Alsthom Recherche
Address
Route De Nozay
91460 Marcoussis
France

Participants (10)

BT&D Technologies Ltd
United Kingdom
Address
Whitehouse Road
IP1 5PB Ipswich
British Telecom plc (BT)
United Kingdom
Address
British Telecom Laboratories Martlesham Heath
IP5 7RE Ipswich
CNET France Télécom
France
Address
2 Route De Tregastel
22301 Lannion
Centre National d'Études des Télécommunications (CNET)
France
Address
196 Avenue Henri Ravera
92225 Bagneux
Centro Studi e Laboratori Telecomunicazioni SpA (CSELT)
Italy
Address
Via Guglielmo Reiss Romoli 274
10148 Torino
UNIVERSIDAD AUTONOMA DE MADRID
Spain
Address
28049
Madrid Spain
UNIVERSIDAD PAIS VASCO
Spain
Address
Alda Urquijo, Escuela Ingienieros
48013 Bilbao
UNIVERSITE DE RENNES
France
Address
Campus De Beaulieu
35042 Rennes
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON
United Kingdom
Address
University Road, Highfield
SO17 1BJ Southampton
UNIVERSITY OF ZARAGOZA
Spain
Address
Facultad De Ciencias
50009 Zaragossa