OSA's Digital Library

Journal of the Optical Society of America B

Journal of the Optical Society of America B


  • Vol. 18, Iss. 6 — Jun. 1, 2001
  • pp: 750–761

Transfer standard for the spectral density of relative intensity noise of optical fiber sources near 1550 nm

Gregory E. Obarski and Jolene D. Splett  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA B, Vol. 18, Issue 6, pp. 750-761 (2001)

View Full Text Article

Acrobat PDF (267 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



We have developed a transfer standard for the spectral density of relative intensity noise (RIN) of optical fiber sources near 1550 nm. Amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) from an erbium-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA), when it is optically filtered over a narrow band (<5 nm), yields a stable RIN spectrum that is practically constant to several tens of gigahertz. The RIN is calculated from the power spectral density as measured with a calibrated optical spectrum analyzer. For a typical device it is −110 dB/Hz, with uncertainty ≤0.12 dB/Hz. The invariance of the RIN under attenuation yields a considerable dynamic range with respect to rf noise levels. Results are compared with those from a second method that uses a distributed-feedback laser (DFB) that has a Poisson-limited RIN. Application of each method to the same RIN measurement system yields frequency-dependent calibration functions that, when they are averaged, differ by ≤0.2 dB.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(060.2320) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber optics amplifiers and oscillators
(060.2330) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber optics communications
(120.4800) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Optical standards and testing
(270.2500) Quantum optics : Fluctuations, relaxations, and noise

Gregory E. Obarski and Jolene D. Splett, "Transfer standard for the spectral density of relative intensity noise of optical fiber sources near 1550 nm," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 18, 750-761 (2001)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset


  1. I. Jacobs, “Dependence of optical amplifier noise figure on relative-intensity-noise,” J. Lightwave Technol. 13, 1461–1465 (1995).
  2. F. W. Willems and J. C. Van der Plaats, “Optical amplifier noise figure determination by signal RIN subtraction,” in Technical Digest–Symposium on Optical Fiber Measurements, G. W. Day, D. L. Franzen, and R. K. Hickernall, eds., Natl. Inst. Stand. Technol. Spec. Publ. 864, 7–9 (1994).
  3. F. W. Willems and J. C. Van der Plaats, “Experimental demonstration of noise figure reduction caused by nonlinear photon statistics of saturated EDNAS,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 7, 488–490 (1995).
  4. M. Movassaghi, M. K. Jackson, V. M. Smith, and W. J. Hallum, “Noise figure of erbium-doped fiber amplifiers in saturated operation,” J. Lightwave Technol. 16, 812–817 (1998).
  5. M. Movassaghi, M. K. Jackson, V. M. Smith, J. F. Young, and W. J. Hallum, “Accurate frequency resolved measurement of EDFA noise figure,” in Optical Amplifiers and Their Applications, A. Willner, M. Zervas, and S. Sasaki, eds., Vol. 16 of OSA Trends in Optics and Photonics Series (Optical Society of America, Washington D.C., 1997), pp. 130–133.
  6. G. L. Koay, A. J. Lowery, R. S. Tucker, T. Higashi, S. Ogita, and H. Soda, “Data-rate dependence of suppression of reflection-induced intensity noise in Fabry–Perot semiconductor lasers,” IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 31, 1835–1839 (1995).
  7. K. Y. Lau, C. M. Gee, T. R. Chen, N. Bar-Chaim, and I. Ury, “Signal-induced noise in fiber-optic links using directly modulated Fabry–Perot and distributed-feedback laser diodes,” J. Lightwave Technol. 11, 1216–1225 (1993).
  8. I. Joindot, C. Boisrobert, and G. Kuhn, “Laser RIN calibration by extra noise injection,” Electron. Lett. 25, 1052–1053 (1989).
  9. G. P. Agrawal, Fiber-Optic Communications Systems (Wiley, New York, 1992).
  10. A. A. Saavedra, P.-J. Rigole, E. Goobar, R. Schatz, and S. Nilsson, “Relative intensity noise and linewidth measurements of a widely tunable GCSR laser,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 10, 481–483 (1998).
  11. L. Mandel and E. Wolf, Optical Coherence and Quantum Optics (Cambridge U. Press, New York, 1995).
  12. I. Joindot, “Measurement of relative intensity noise (RIN) in semiconductor lasers,” J. Phys. III (Paris) 2, 1591–1603 (1992).
  13. I. Joindot, “Bruit relatif d’intensite des lasers a semiconducteur,” Ph.D. dissertation (Universite des Sciences et Techniques du Languedoc, Languedoc, France 1990).
  14. L. A. Coldren and S. W. Corzine, Diode Lasers and Photonic Integrated Circuits (Wiley, New York, 1995).
  15. G. E. Obarski and P. D. Hale, “How to measure relative intensity noise in lasers,” Laser Focus World, May 1999, pp. 273–277.
  16. D. M. Baney, W. V. Sorin, and S. A. Newton, “High-frequency photodiode characterization using a filtered intensity noise technique,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 6, 1258–1260 (1994).
  17. D. Baney and W. Sorin, “Broadband frequency characterization of optical receivers using intensity noise,” Hewlett-Packard J., February 1995, pp. 6–12.
  18. L. Mandel, “Fluctuations of light beams,” in Progress in Optics, E. Wolf, ed. (North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1963), Vol. 2, pp. 181–248.
  19. L. Mandel, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y. 14627 (personal communications, June, 1999). Professor Mandel acknowledges an error of a factor of 2 in Eq. (9.8.26) of their text; see Ref. 11. The factor of 1/2 in front of the middle integral should be removed.
  20. A. Girard, EXFO Fiber Optic Test Equipment Corporation, 465 Godin Avenue, Vanier, Quebec G1M 3G7 Canada (personal communications, January 1999).
  21. “Analysis of variance,” in Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement (International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland, 1993), Sec. H-5, pp. 85–87.
  22. B. N. Taylor and C. E. Kuyatt, Guidelines for Evaluating and Expressing the Uncertainty of NIST Measurement Results, Natl. Inst. Stand. Technol. Tech. Note 1297 (1994).
  23. S. Machida and Y. Yamamoto, “Quantum-limited operation of balanced mixer homodyne and heterodyne receivers,” IEEE J. Quantum Electron. QE-22, 617–624 (1986).
  24. M. C. Cox, N. J. Copener, and B. Williams, “High sensitivity precision relative intensity noise calibration standard using low noise reference laser source,” IEE Proc. Sci. Meas. Technol. 145, 163–165 (1998).
  25. G. E. Obarski and J. D. Splett, “Measurement assurance program for the spectral density of relative intensity noise of optical fiber sources near 1550 nm,” NIST Spec. Publ. 250–57 (2000).

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited