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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: Michael Duncan
  • Vol. 14, Iss. 8 — Apr. 17, 2006
  • pp: 3288–3293
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Multiwavelength Raman fiber laser with a continuously-tunable spacing

Xinyong Dong, P. Shum, N. Q. Ngo, and C. C. Chan  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 14, Issue 8, pp. 3288-3293 (2006)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.14.003288


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Abstract

A spacing-tunable multiwavelength Raman fiber laser with an independently-adjustable channel number is proposed and demonstrated. It uses a novel free-spectral-range (FSR)-tunable comb filter based on a superimposed chirped-fiber Bragg grating (CFBG) and a linear cavity formed by a bandwidth-tunable CFBG reflector, a pumped highly-nonlinear fiber for Raman gain, and an optical circulator based loop mirror. Multiwavelength laser operations with spacing tuning from 0.3 to 0.6 nm and channel number adjustment from 2 to 10 have been achieved.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

1. Introduction

Multiwavelength fiber laser sources have attracted a lot of research interests due to their potential applications in wavelength-division-multiplexing (WDM) optical fiber communication, sensing and testing systems. Several gain mechanisms such as erbium-doped fiber, semiconductor optical amplifier and stimulated Raman scattering, have been employed in these lasers [1–9

1. A. Bellemare, M. Karasek, M. Rochette, S. LaRochelle, and M. Tetu, “Room temperature multifrequency erbium-doped fiber lasers anchored on the ITU frequency grid,” J. Lightwave Technol. 18, 825–831 (2000). [CrossRef]

]. Among them, multiwavelength Raman fiber laser has been regarded as a potential and prosperous solution with several important advantages such as the stable multiwavelength operation at room temperature and the extremely broad workable wavelength band nearly without limitation, given pump lasers at the corresponding wavelengths are available [5–7

5. C. S. Kim, R. M. Sova, J. U. Kang, and J. B. Khurgin, “Novel multiwavelength cascaded-Raman source based on tunable fiber Sagnac loop filter,” in Tech. Dig. OFC 2002, paper WJ1 (2002).

]. For all multiwavelength fiber lasers, the channel spacing should preferably be tunable in order to provide design flexibility and functionality. Because the current WDM systems have different channel spacings based on their specific applications, spacing-tunable multiwavelength lasers may have flexible applications in these systems with various channel spacings. However, most of the multiwavelength fiber lasers reported to date are not tunable or are only discretely tunable in spacing [4–9

4. X. Yang, X. Dong, S. Zhang, F. Lu, X. Zhou, and C. Lu, “Multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber laser with 0.8nm spacing using sampled Bragg grating and photonic crystal fiber” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 17, 2538–2540 (2005). [CrossRef]

]. In this paper, based on the successful demonstration of a free-spectral-range (FSR)-tunable comb filter with a superimposed chirped-fiber Bragg gratin (CFBG), we obtain a novel multiwavelength Raman fiber laser with a continuously-tunable spacing and an independently adjustable channel number.

Fig. 1. Proposed laser configuration. CFBG, chirped-fiber Bragg grating; OC, optical circulator; PC, polarization controller; WDM, wavelength division multiplexer.

2. Laser design

The proposed multiwavelength Raman fiber laser, as shown in Fig. 1, has a linear cavity formed by a bandwidth-tunable CFBG reflector, a length of highly nonlinear fiber and an optical circulator (OC)-based loop mirror. In the experiment, the highly nonlinear fiber [a 3-km-long dispersion-compensating fiber (DCF)] is pumped through a 1480/1550 nm WDM coupler by a 1455-nm Raman laser, which has a high output power of ~800 mW. The wavelength of the peak Raman gain is around 1554 nm and the 3-dB gain bandwidth may be up to 20 nm [10

10. M. Tang, P. Shum, and Y. D. Gong, “Design of double-pass discrete Raman amplifier and the impairments induced by Rayleigh backscattering,” Opt. Express 11, 1887–1893 (2003) http://www.opticsinfobase.org/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-11-16-1887. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. A novel FSR-tunable comb filter based on a superimposed-CFBG, with details given in following paragraphs, is inserted in the OC-based loop to provide multiple-channel transmission filtering (the reflected light is isolated by the OC) in a wide band of over 20 nm centered at ~1546 nm. The CFBG reflector has an initial bandwidth of 2.6 nm, a center wavelength at 1551.8 nm and a reflectivity higher than 30 dB. Its bandwidth is tuned by using the beam-bending method reported in Ref. [11

11. X. Dong, P. Shum, N. Q. Ngo, C. C. Chan, J. H. Ng, and C.-L. Zhao, “Largely tunable CFBG-based dispersion compensator with fixed center wavelength,” Opt. Express 11, 2970–2974 (2003) http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-11-22-2970. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. Since the CFBG reflector has a smaller bandwidth than the comb filter, only selected transmission channels with a channel number jointly determined by the bandwidth of the CFBG reflector and the FSR of the comb filter can be at resonant. A polarization controller (PC) is used to adjust the polarization state of the intra-cavity light. A 10:90 optical fiber coupler is used to output the laser light through the 10% port.

Fig. 2. Schematic diagram of the FSR tuning principle of the superimposed-CFBG comb filter.

3. FSR-tunable filter

The superimposed-CFBG based comb filter can be formed by inscribing two identical CFBGs successively into the same part of a fiber with only a small longitudinal offset between them. Distributed Fabry-Perot interference is then generated in the fiber core due to the reflections of the two CFBGs. This produces a small size, in-fiber comb filter whose FSR is inversely proportional to the longitudinal offset and the effective bandwidth is roughly equal to the reflection bandwidth of the CFBG [12

12. S. Doucet, R. Slavik, and S. LaRochelle, “High-finesse large band Fabry-Perot fibre filter with superimposed chirped Bragg gratings,” Electron. Lett. 38, 402–403 (2002). [CrossRef]

, 13

13. R. Slavik, S. Doucet, and S. LaRochelle, “High-performance all-fiber Fabry-Perot filters with superimposed chirped Bragg gratings,” J. Lightwave Technol. 21, 1059–1065 (2003). [CrossRef]

]. Usually, the FSR is fixed once the superimposed-CFBG is fabricated. But, in this work, we found that it can be tuned continuously by changing the chirp rate of the superimposed-CFBG. A schematic diagram of the tuning principle is shown in Fig. 2, where d is the offset between the two CFBGs (also the initial cavity length), L is the cavity length after chirp tuning, Lg is the length of each CFBG, B w0 and Bw are bandwidths of the CFBG before and after tuning, respectively. It shows clearly that the cavity length of the distributed Fabry-Perot interference is changed by chirp tuning.

The central point of the superimposed-CFBG is supposed to experience no strain effect by using the chirp tuning method reported in Ref. [11

11. X. Dong, P. Shum, N. Q. Ngo, C. C. Chan, J. H. Ng, and C.-L. Zhao, “Largely tunable CFBG-based dispersion compensator with fixed center wavelength,” Opt. Express 11, 2970–2974 (2003) http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-11-22-2970. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

], thus there are no wavelength shifts for the two CFBGs at that point. For each individual point along the superimposed-CFBG, the two CFBGs experience the same strain so that the difference in Bragg wavelength, Δλ, keeps fixed. Based on a geometric analysis of Fig. 2, one can get the following relationship

Δλ=Ltgθ=dtgθ0,
(1)

where

tgθ=BwLg=Rc,
(2)
tgθ0=Bw0Lg=Rc0,
(3)

Rc and R co are the chirp rates of the CFBGs with and without tuning, respectively. Therefore the FSR of the comb filter can be expressed by

FSR=λ22nL=FSR0(1+ΔRcRc0)
(4)

where n is the fiber group index, FSR 0 = λ 2/(2nd) is the FSR before tuning, and ΔRc = (Rc -R c0) is the variation in chirp rate after tuning. It shows that FSR of the comb filter can be changed linearly by tuning chirp rates of the CFBGs.

Fig. 3. Transmission spectra of the superimposed-CFBG comb filter (a) with reducing chirp rate, (b) without chirp-tuning and (c) with increasing chirp rate.

In the experiment, the superimposed-CFBG was fabricated in a hydrogen-loaded photosensitive fiber using a beam scanning method with a 244-nm, 100-mW, continuous-wave UV laser through a 5-cm-long, 4.8-nm/cm-chirped phase mask. The longitudinal offset between the two CFBGs was ~2 mm. After annealing, it was glued in a slant direction onto the lateral surface of a flexible, right-angled, triangle cantilever beam and tuned by applying a deflection to the cantilever beam at its free end [11

11. X. Dong, P. Shum, N. Q. Ngo, C. C. Chan, J. H. Ng, and C.-L. Zhao, “Largely tunable CFBG-based dispersion compensator with fixed center wavelength,” Opt. Express 11, 2970–2974 (2003) http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-11-22-2970. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. A linear response can be expected for the FSR-tunable comb filter to the deflection variation since the chirp tuning is also a linear process.

4. Experimental results and discussion

Stable multiwavelength laser operation at room temperature was achieved, and the channel spacing was tuned smoothly through chirp-tuning of the superimposed-CFBG comb filter. Figure 4 shows the measured laser output spectra with different channel spacing of 0.3, 0.4, 0.5 and 0.6 nm, while the CFBG reflector was not tuned. The channel numbers are 9, 7, 6 and 5 and the 3-dB peak linewidths are ~0.055, 0.06, 0.065 and 0.08 nm for different spacing of 0.3, 0.4, 0.5 and 0.6 nm, respectively. The power difference among the laser channels and the side-mode suppression ratio (SMSR) were improved with increasing channel spacing. The minimum power uniformity of 1.7 dB and the best SMSR of 34 dB were achieved in the case of 0.6-nm spacing. The inset shows the laser channel spacing against beam deflection at the free end. A linear tuning rate of 0.054 nm/cm was achieved.

Fig. 4. Laser output spectra with various channel spacing of (a) 0.3, (b) 0.4, (c) 0.5 and (d) 0.6 nm, without tuning of the CFBG reflector. The inset shows the laser spacing against beam deflection. A linear tuning rate of 0.054 nm/cm was achieved.

When the bandwidth of the CFBG reflector was tuned, the channel number can be adjusted independently. In this case, the channel number was jointly determined by the bandwidth of the CFBG reflector and the channel spacing. Laser operations with different channel numbers from 2 to 10 and even more can be achieved. Figure 5 shows the measured laser output spectra with various channel numbers of 2, 4 and 10 at 0.5-nm channel spacing. The corresponding reflection spectra of the CFBG reflector are also shown in this figure by dashed lines; the 3-dB bandwidths are 1.2, 2.2 and 5.2 nm, respectively. Due to the high initial reflectivity of the CFBG reflector, no obvious reduction in reflectivity was observed even when the bandwidth was broadened by two fold. This may help to maintain the good laser performance by keeping a nearly fixed intra-cavity loss when the channel number was changed. The capability of independently adjustable channel number may be very useful in some situations where a specific channel number is required.

Fig. 5. Laser output spectra with different channel numbers of (a) 2, (b) 4 and (c) 10. The channel spacing is 0.5 nm.

5. Summary

In summary, we have proposed and demonstrated a novel multiwavelength Raman fiber laser source with a continuously-tunable channel spacing and an independently adjustable channel number. The spacing was tuned by using a special FSR-tunable comb filter based on a superimposed-CFBG, and the channel number was adjusted by a bandwidth-tunable CFBG reflector. Multiwavelength laser operations at room temperature with spacing of 0.3 to 0.6 nm, and channel number of 2 to 10 have been achieved.

Acknowledgments

Author Xinyong Dong appreciates the Singapore Millennium Foundation (SMF) for his postdoctoral fellowship award. The project was partially supported by the Open Fund from Key Laboratory of OCLT, BUPT, P. R. China.

References and links

1.

A. Bellemare, M. Karasek, M. Rochette, S. LaRochelle, and M. Tetu, “Room temperature multifrequency erbium-doped fiber lasers anchored on the ITU frequency grid,” J. Lightwave Technol. 18, 825–831 (2000). [CrossRef]

2.

S. Yamashita and T. Baba, “Spacing-tunable multiwavelength fibre laser,” Electron. Lett. 37, 1015–1017 (2001). [CrossRef]

3.

H. Chen, “Multiwavelength fiber ring lasing by use of a semiconductor optical amplifier,” Opt. Lett. 30, 619–621 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

4.

X. Yang, X. Dong, S. Zhang, F. Lu, X. Zhou, and C. Lu, “Multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber laser with 0.8nm spacing using sampled Bragg grating and photonic crystal fiber” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 17, 2538–2540 (2005). [CrossRef]

5.

C. S. Kim, R. M. Sova, J. U. Kang, and J. B. Khurgin, “Novel multiwavelength cascaded-Raman source based on tunable fiber Sagnac loop filter,” in Tech. Dig. OFC 2002, paper WJ1 (2002).

6.

Y.-G. Han, C.-S. Kim, J. U. Kang, U.-C. Paek, and Y. Chung, “Multiwavelength Raman fiber-ring laser based on tunable cascaded long-period fiber gratings,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 15, 383–385 (2003). [CrossRef]

7.

L. R. Chen, “Tunable multiwavelength fiber ring lasers using a programmable high-birefringence fiber loop mirror,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 16, 410–412 (2004). [CrossRef]

8.

S. Yamashita and K. Hotate, “Multiwavelength erbium-doped fibre laser using intracavity etalon and cooled by liquid nitrogen,” Electron. Lett. 32, 1298–1299 (1996). [CrossRef]

9.

Y. G. Han, G. Kim, J. H. Lee, S. H. Kim, and S. B. Lee, “Lasing wavelength and spacing tunable multiwavelength fiber laser from 1510 to 1620nm,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 17, 989–991 (2005). [CrossRef]

10.

M. Tang, P. Shum, and Y. D. Gong, “Design of double-pass discrete Raman amplifier and the impairments induced by Rayleigh backscattering,” Opt. Express 11, 1887–1893 (2003) http://www.opticsinfobase.org/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-11-16-1887. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

11.

X. Dong, P. Shum, N. Q. Ngo, C. C. Chan, J. H. Ng, and C.-L. Zhao, “Largely tunable CFBG-based dispersion compensator with fixed center wavelength,” Opt. Express 11, 2970–2974 (2003) http://www.opticsexpress.org/abstract.cfm?URI=OPEX-11-22-2970. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

12.

S. Doucet, R. Slavik, and S. LaRochelle, “High-finesse large band Fabry-Perot fibre filter with superimposed chirped Bragg gratings,” Electron. Lett. 38, 402–403 (2002). [CrossRef]

13.

R. Slavik, S. Doucet, and S. LaRochelle, “High-performance all-fiber Fabry-Perot filters with superimposed chirped Bragg gratings,” J. Lightwave Technol. 21, 1059–1065 (2003). [CrossRef]

OCIS Codes
(140.3510) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers, fiber
(140.3550) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers, Raman
(140.3600) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers, tunable
(230.1480) Optical devices : Bragg reflectors

ToC Category:
Lasers and Laser Optics

History
Original Manuscript: January 3, 2006
Revised Manuscript: March 27, 2006
Manuscript Accepted: March 30, 2006
Published: April 17, 2006

Citation
Xinyong Dong, P. Shum, N. Q. Ngo, and C. C. Chan, "Multiwavelength Raman fiber laser with a continuously-tunable spacing," Opt. Express 14, 3288-3293 (2006)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-14-8-3288


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References

  1. A. Bellemare, M. Karasek, M. Rochette, S. LaRochelle, and M. Tetu, "Room temperature multifrequency erbium-doped fiber lasers anchored on the ITU frequency grid," J. Lightwave Technol. 18, 825-831 (2000). [CrossRef]
  2. S. Yamashita and T. Baba, "Spacing-tunable multiwavelength fibre laser," Electron. Lett. 37, 1015-1017 (2001). [CrossRef]
  3. H. Chen, "Multiwavelength fiber ring lasing by use of a semiconductor optical amplifier," Opt. Lett. 30, 619-621 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. X. Yang, X. Dong, S. Zhang, F. Lu, X. Zhou, and C. Lu, "Multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber laser with 0.8nm spacing using sampled Bragg grating and photonic crystal fiber" IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 17, 2538-2540 (2005). [CrossRef]
  5. C. S. Kim, R. M. Sova, J. U. Kang, and J. B. Khurgin, "Novel multiwavelength cascaded-Raman source based on tunable fiber Sagnac loop filter," in Tech. Dig. OFC 2002, paper WJ1 (2002).
  6. Y.-G. Han, C.-S. Kim, J. U. Kang, U.-C. Paek, and Y. Chung, "Multiwavelength Raman fiber-ring laser based on tunable cascaded long-period fiber gratings," IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 15, 383-385 (2003). [CrossRef]
  7. L. R. Chen, "Tunable multiwavelength fiber ring lasers using a programmable high-birefringence fiber loop mirror," IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 16, 410-412 (2004). [CrossRef]
  8. S. Yamashita, and K. Hotate, "Multiwavelength erbium-doped fibre laser using intracavity etalon and cooled by liquid nitrogen," Electron. Lett. 32, 1298-1299 (1996). [CrossRef]
  9. Y. G. Han, G. Kim, J. H. Lee, S. H. Kim, and S. B. Lee, "Lasing wavelength and spacing tunable multiwavelength fiber laser from 1510 to 1620nm," IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 17, 989-991 (2005). [CrossRef]
  10. M. Tang, P. Shum, and Y. D. Gong, "Design of double-pass discrete Raman amplifier and the impairments induced by Rayleigh backscattering," Opt. Express 11, 1887-1893 (2003) [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  11. X. Dong, P. Shum, N. Q. Ngo, C. C. Chan, J. H. Ng, and C.-L. Zhao, "Largely tunable CFBG-based dispersion compensator with fixed center wavelength," Opt. Express 11, 2970-2974 (2003) [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  12. S. Doucet, R. Slavik, and S. LaRochelle, "High-finesse large band Fabry-Perot fibre filter with superimposed chirped Bragg gratings," Electron. Lett. 38, 402-403 (2002). [CrossRef]
  13. R. Slavik, S. Doucet, and S. LaRochelle, "High-performance all-fiber Fabry-Perot filters with superimposed chirped Bragg gratings," J. Lightwave Technol. 21, 1059-1065 (2003). [CrossRef]

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