Signals travel through fibers over large distances with attenuation. Then the optical amplifiers are needed in the CWDM (corse wavelength divsion multiplexing) and DWDM (dense wavelength divsion multiplexing). Optical amplifiers are devices that can amplify optical signals directly without the need to convert them to electrical signals. EDFA (erbium doped fibre amplifier) is the most common optical amplifiers.
Introduction of EDFA
EDFA is doped with element erbium and with the core of a silica fiber. It is one of DWDM equipment that amplifies optical fiber signals as signals will be attenuated when the transmission distance is over hundreds kilometers. The term “doping” refers to the process of using chemical elements to facilitate results through the manipulation of electrons. It is employed in the telecommunications field and in various types of research fields.
Principles of EDFA
In general, EDFA works on the principle of stimulating the emission of photons. Pump lasers, known as pumping bands, insert dopants into the silica fiber, resulting in a gain, or amplification. EDFA amplification occuring as the pump laser excites the erbium ions, which then reach a higher energy level. The excited ions make transition to the ground state either by CWDM, DWDMequipmentamplified spontaneous emission or stimulated emission. The amplified spontaneous emission is a major source of noise in the system. And the stimulated emission could amplify signals by generating photons. With EDFA, an erbium-doped optical fiber at the core is pumped with light from laser diodes. This type of setup in telecom systems can help with fiber communications.
Advantages of EDFA
EDFA has many advantages. First, it can provide in-line amplification of a signal without the need for E-O and O-E conversions. Second, it can directly and simutaneously amplify a wide wavelength band (>80nm) in the 1550nm region with a relatively flat gain. Third, it provides high power transfer efficiency from pump to signal power. At last, EDFA has low noise, which is suitable for long haul applications.
Although EDFA has so many advantages, it has disadvantages as well. For example, EDFA is usually limited to no more than 10 spans covering a maximum distance of approximately 800 kilometers (km). When the distance is longer, an intermediate line repeater to retime and reshape the signal and filter accumulated noise from various light dispersion forms in the optical fiber would be required. So EDFA still needs to be improved.