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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 16, Iss. 3 — Feb. 4, 2008
  • pp: 1460–1465
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Switchable multiwavelength erbium doped fiber laser based on a nonlinear optical loop mirror incorporating multiple fiber Bragg gratings

Thi Van Anh Tran, Kwanil Lee, Sang Bae Lee, and Young-Geun Han  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 16, Issue 3, pp. 1460-1465 (2008)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.16.001460


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Abstract

We propose and experimentally demonstrate a switchable multiwavelength erbium doped fiber laser based on a highly nonlinear dispersion shifted fiber and multiple fiber Bragg gratings. A nonlinear optical loop mirror based on a highly nonlinear dispersion shifted fiber is implemented in the ring laser cavity to stabilize the multiwavelength output at room temperature. Multiple fiber Bragg gratings with the wavelength spacing of 0.8 nm are connected with an arrayed waveguide grating to establish a multichannel filter. The high quality of the multiwavelength output with a high extinction ratio of ~60 dB and high output flatness of ~0.5 dB is realized. The nonlinear polarization rotation based on the nonlinear optical loop mirror can provide the switching performance of the proposed multiwavelength fiber laser. The lasing wavelength can be switched individually by controlling the polarization controller and the cavity loss.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

1. Introduction

Multiwavelength fiber lasers have been attracted considerable interest because of their potential applications in wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) systems and optical fiber sensor [1–11

1. N. park and P. F. Wysocki, “24-line multiwavelength operation of Erbium doped fiber ring laser,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 8, 1459–1461 (1996). [CrossRef]

]. Multiwavelength fiber lasers have been realized by using versatile gain media including erbium doped fiber amplifiers (EDFA), Raman amplifiers, and semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA). Multiwavelength fiber lasers based on EDFAs have advanced significantly because of their advantages such as high power conversion efficiency, low threshold, and low cost. However, since the homogeneous line broadening of erbium ions leads to strong mode competition, it is not easy to obtain the stable multiwavelength operation at room temperature. Various techniques including the cooling of the EDF in the liquid nitrogen [1

1. N. park and P. F. Wysocki, “24-line multiwavelength operation of Erbium doped fiber ring laser,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 8, 1459–1461 (1996). [CrossRef]

], four wave mixing (FWM) effect by utilizing high nonlinear fiber such as photonic crystal fibers (PCFs) [2

2. A. Zhang, H. Liu, M. S. Demokan, and H.Y. Tam, “Stable and broad bandwidth multiwavelength fiber ring laser incorporating a highly nonlinear photonic crystal fiber,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 178, 2535–2537 (2005). [CrossRef]

] or dispersion shifted fibers (DSFs) [3

3. Y. G. Han, T. V. A. Tran, and S. B. Lee “Wavelength-spacing tunable multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber laser based on four-wave mixing of dispersion-shifted fiber,” Opt. Lett. 31, 697–699 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

] or bismuth-oxide fibers (Bi-NLFs) [4

4. M. P. Fok and C. Shu, “Tunable dual-wavelength erbium-doped fiber laser stabilized by four-wave mixing in a 35cm highly nonlinear bismuth-oxide fiber,” Opt. Express 15, 5925–5930 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

], hybrid gain medium with both Raman fiber and EDF [5

5. S. Qin, D. Chen, Y. Tang, and S. He, “Stable and uniform multi-wavelength fiber laser based on hybrid Raman and Erbium-doped fiber gains,” Opt. Express 14, 10522–10527 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

], have been proposed to suppress the homogeneous line broadening of erbium ions. A nonlinear optical loop mirror (NOLM) based on a SMF was also proposed to obtain the stable multiwavelength EDF laser [6

6. X. Feng, H. Y. Tam, H. Liu, and P. K. A. Wai, “Multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber laser employing a nonlinear optical loop mirror,” Opt. Commun. 268, 278–281 (2006). [CrossRef]

]. Recently switchable multiwavelength EDF lasers have been investigated intensively [7–12

7. S. Hu, L Zhan, Y. J. Song, W. Li, S. Y. Luo, and Y.X. Xia, “Switchable multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber ring laser with a multisection high-birefringence fiber loop mirror,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 17, 1387–1389 (2005). [CrossRef]

]. Most of techniques for switchable multiwavelength EDF laser are based on fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs) such as cascade FBG cavities [8

8. X. Feng, Y. Liu, S. Yuan, G. Kai, W. Zhang, and X. Song, “Switchable multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber laser with cascaded fiber grating cavities,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 14, 612–614 (2002). [CrossRef]

], cascade FBGs inscribed in birefringence fibers [9

9. C. L. Zhao, X. Yang, L. Chao, J. H. Ng, X. Guo, R. C. Partha, and X. Dong, “Switchable multi-wavelength erbium-doped fiber lasers by using cascaded fiber Bragg gratings written in high birefringence fiber,” Opt. Commun. 230, 313–317 (2004). [CrossRef]

], sampled FBGs [10

10. D. H. Zhao, K. T. Chan, Y. Liu, L. Zhang, and I. Bennion, “Wavelength switched optical pulse generation in a fiber ring laser with a Febry-perot semiconductor modulator and sampled fiber Bragg grating,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 13, 191–193 (2001). [CrossRef]

], and multimode FBGs [11

11. X. Feng, H. Y. Tam, and P. K. A Wai, “Switchable Multiwavelength Erbium-doped fiber laser with a multimode Fiber Bragg grating and photonic crystal fiber,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 18, 1088–1090 (2006). [CrossRef]

]. Both the four wave mixing effect and the nonlinear polarization rotation based on a nonlinear optical loop mirror were exploited to stabilize the multiwavelength output at room temperature [6

6. X. Feng, H. Y. Tam, H. Liu, and P. K. A. Wai, “Multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber laser employing a nonlinear optical loop mirror,” Opt. Commun. 268, 278–281 (2006). [CrossRef]

, 12

12. X. M. Liu, X. Q. Zhou, X. F. Tang, J. H. Ng, J. Z Hao, T. Y. Chai, E. W. Leong, and C. Lu, “Switchable and tunable multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber laser with fiber Bragg gratings and Photonic crystal fiber,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 17, 1626–1628 (2005). [CrossRef]

].

In this paper we propose and experimentally demonstrate a switchable multiwavelength EDF laser based on a NOLM incorporating multiple FBGs. The NOLM is utilized as an amplitude equalizer to induce intensity-wavelength dependent loss and nonlinear polarization variation. By inserting the NOLM in the laser ring cavity with multiple FBGs, the stable multiwavelength operation at room temperature can be achieved. Four FBGs with the wavelength spacing of 0.8 nm are connected with an array waveguide grating (AWG). The high quality of the multiwavelength output with a high extinction ratio of ~60 dB and high peak flatness of ~0.5 dB are achieved. The output power of the proposed multiwavelength EDF laser is stable and its power fluctuation is measured to be less than ~1 dB. The lasing wavelengths are effectively switched by two polarization controllers (PCs) because the nonlinear polarization phenomenon based on NOLM induces the polarization-dependence loss and the birefringence-induced wavelength-dependent loss in the laser ring cavity. Since the number of lasing wavelengths is effectively controlled by adjusting two PCs appropriately, the proposed multiwavelength can be operated in the single-, dual, triple- and quadruple-lasing wavelength states.

2. Switchable multiwavelength EDF laser based on a nonlinear optical loop mirror incorporating multiple fiber Bragg gratings

The experimental configuration for the proposed switchable multiwavelength EDF laser is shown in Fig. 1. The proposed laser consists of an EDFA, a NOLM with a highly nonlinear DSF with the length of 1 km, multiple FBGs, an array waveguide grating (AWG), a circulator, two PCs, an optical isolator, and a 10/90 optical coupler. The saturated output power of the EDFA at an input signal of 0 dBm was 26 dBm. Its small-signal gain at an input power of -30 dB was ~25 dB. The polarization-dependent gain of the EDFA was less than ~0.5 dB. An isolator with the insertion loss and the isolation of 0.5 dB and 55 dB, respectively, is implemented for the unidirectional operation of the laser. Two PCs are exploited to adjust the polarization state at the ring cavity, the input of the NOLM, and inside of the NOLM for the polarization state biasing the loop. An optical spectrum analyzer with 0.1 nm resolution was used for all measurement of the multiwavelength laser output through the 10 % output port of the optical fiber coupler. Four FBGs with the center wavelengths of 1552.5 nm (λ 1), 1553.3 nm (λ 2), 1554.1 nm (λ 3), and 1554.9 nm (λ 4) incorporating the NOLM were employed to generate the multiwavelength output. The NOLM was constructed by splicing two output ports of the optical coupler with a 30/70 power splitting ratio. A PC and a highly nonlinear DSF with the length of 1 km were inserted within the NOLM. The zero-dispersion wavelength and the nonlinear coefficient of the highly nonlinear DSF were 1552 nm and 15W-1km-1, respectively. Its insertion loss is 1.8 dB. The AWG was used for the parallel connection of multiple FBGs to reduce insertion loss and multipath interference. Such device was inserted in the laser cavity via the optical circulator with the insertion loss between port 1 to port 2 and port 2 to port 3 of 0.7 and 0.9 dB. The insertion loss and the 3 dB channel bandwidth of the AWG were ~4 dB and less than 0.4 nm, respectively. The polarization dependent loss was less than ~0.3 dB.

Fig. 1. Experimental scheme for the proposed switchable multiwavelength EDF laser.
Fig. 2. Reflection spectrum of four FBGs through the AWG.

T=PtpI=12r(1r)[1+cos(ϕ+(12r)γ],
γ=2πn2PiLλAeff
(1)

where r is the power splitting ratio of the NOLM, γ is the nonlinear phase shift. P t and P i is the transmitted and input powers, respectively. L is loop length, λ is the operating wavelength, and A eff is effective area of the fiber. ϕ is the additional phase difference produced by two PCs. The transmission of the NOLM can be changed by the input power depending on polarization states [6

6. X. Feng, H. Y. Tam, H. Liu, and P. K. A. Wai, “Multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber laser employing a nonlinear optical loop mirror,” Opt. Commun. 268, 278–281 (2006). [CrossRef]

]. The NOLM can be operated as a saturable absorber or a gain equalizer by setting two PC appropriately [6

6. X. Feng, H. Y. Tam, H. Liu, and P. K. A. Wai, “Multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber laser employing a nonlinear optical loop mirror,” Opt. Commun. 268, 278–281 (2006). [CrossRef]

, 14

14. N. J. Doran and D. Wood, “Nonlinear optical loop mirror,” Opt. Lett. 13, 56–58 (1988). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. The high intensity light in the laser ring cavity can experience larger loss than that of the low intensity one because of intensity-wavelength dependent loss of the NOLM [6

6. X. Feng, H. Y. Tam, H. Liu, and P. K. A. Wai, “Multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber laser employing a nonlinear optical loop mirror,” Opt. Commun. 268, 278–281 (2006). [CrossRef]

]. Therefore, the NOLM can alleviate the mode competition in the EDF and generate the stable operation of the multiwavelength EDF laser at room temperature.

Fig. 3. (a) Output sectrum of the multiwavelength EDF laser at room temperature and (b) the experimental result of the RIN of multiwavelength EDF laser.

Figure 3(a) shows the output spectrum of the proposed switchable multiwavelength EDF laser based on the NOLM with a 1 km highly nonlinear DSF incorporating four FBGs. Since the intensity-wavelength dependent loss induced by the NOLM can effectively mitigate the mode competition of the EDF, the stable multiwavelength EDF laser at room temperature could be obtained by adjusting two PCs. The spectral bandwidth of the lasing wavelengths was less than ~0.06 nm. We could achieve four channel lasing wavelengths with the 0.8 nm spacing and the peak power was about -23 dBm with high extinction ratio of more than ~60 dB, which resulted from the combined effect of both multiple FBG cavities and the NOLM. The output peak flatness among four lasing channels was measured to be ~0.5 dB. In our work, the number of lasing wavelengths was limited to 4 channels because the lack of the nonlinearity of the 1km DSF. We believe that the specialty fiber with stronger nonlinearity in the NOLM can increase the number of laser wavelengths. After selecting a single lasing peak, we measured the relative intensity noise (RIN) spectrum of the proposed laser with a photodetector (Newfocus model 1611, 1-GHz bandwidth)) and an electrical spectrum analyzer (Advantest U3772). The RIN of the proposed multiwavelength laser was higher than that of normal DFB laser (~-140 dB/Hz) as seen in Fig. 3(b). We measured the stability of the laser by monitoring the output laser with 10 minute’s interval for period of 1 hour. The output power of the proposed multiwavelength EDF laser was stable and the power fluctuation was measured to be less than ~1 dB, as shown in Fig. 4.

Fig. 4. Repeatedly scanned output spectra of the multiwavelength EDF laser.

The lasing wavelength of the proposed multiwavelength EDF laser could be switched individually by appropriately adjusting two PCs in the fiber ring cavity and the NOLM. The lasing wavelengths were switched individually by two PCs because the nonlinear polarization phenomenon based on the NOLM induces the polarization-dependence loss and the birefringence-induced wavelength-dependent loss in the laser ring cavity, which can determine the total loss of the laser ring cavity [9

9. C. L. Zhao, X. Yang, L. Chao, J. H. Ng, X. Guo, R. C. Partha, and X. Dong, “Switchable multi-wavelength erbium-doped fiber lasers by using cascaded fiber Bragg gratings written in high birefringence fiber,” Opt. Commun. 230, 313–317 (2004). [CrossRef]

]. Consequently, the number of lasing wavelength could be changed by two PCs. Figure 5 shows output spectra of the proposed switchable multiwavelength EDF laser by controlling two PCs. As seen in Fig. 5(a), a single lasing operation could be achieved because the cavity loss at the lasing wavelength was minimized by the nonlinear polarization phenomenon based on the NOLM by controlling the PC inside the NOLM. If the PC in the ring cavity is controlled appropriately, double- or triple-lasing wavelengths can be achieved because intensity-dependent loss is also changed, as shown in Fig. 5(b) or 5(c), respectively. The combination of the lasing wavelengths could be arbitrarily selected from four wavelengths by controlling two PCs. For all lasing combination, the output power was stable, which was measured to be less than ~1 dB.

Fig. 5. Output spectra of the proposed switchable multiwavelength EDF laser; (a) a single-wavelength lasing, (b) dual-wavelength lasing, and (c) triple-wavelength lasing at room temperature.

3. Discussion and conclusion

In conclusion, we experimentally investigated a simple technique of a switchable multiwavelength EDF laser based on the NOLM with a highly nonlinear DSF incorporating multiple FBGs. The NOLM with the 1 km highly nonlinear DSF could induce the intensitydependence loss within the ring cavity, which could equipoise between the mode competition of erbium ions and the gain-clamping effect. Consequently the homogeneous line broadening of erbium ions could be suppressed effectively and the stable multiwavelength EDF laser at room temperature could be realized. We achieved four channel lasing wavelengths with the 0.8 nm spacing. The extinction ratio of the multiwavelength output was as high as ~60 dB. The multiwavelength EDF laser output was very stable and the peak fluctuation was less than ~1 dB. The flatness of the multiwavelength output was measured to be ~0.5. By adjusting two PCs precisely, a single, dual, or triple wavelength can be lasing simultaneously because of the polarization-dependence loss and the birefringence-induced wavelength-dependent loss based on the NOLM. The proposed multiwavelength EDF laser is useful for applications to WDM systems, multiwavelength optical switching devices, and optical sensors.

References and links

1.

N. park and P. F. Wysocki, “24-line multiwavelength operation of Erbium doped fiber ring laser,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 8, 1459–1461 (1996). [CrossRef]

2.

A. Zhang, H. Liu, M. S. Demokan, and H.Y. Tam, “Stable and broad bandwidth multiwavelength fiber ring laser incorporating a highly nonlinear photonic crystal fiber,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 178, 2535–2537 (2005). [CrossRef]

3.

Y. G. Han, T. V. A. Tran, and S. B. Lee “Wavelength-spacing tunable multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber laser based on four-wave mixing of dispersion-shifted fiber,” Opt. Lett. 31, 697–699 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

4.

M. P. Fok and C. Shu, “Tunable dual-wavelength erbium-doped fiber laser stabilized by four-wave mixing in a 35cm highly nonlinear bismuth-oxide fiber,” Opt. Express 15, 5925–5930 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

5.

S. Qin, D. Chen, Y. Tang, and S. He, “Stable and uniform multi-wavelength fiber laser based on hybrid Raman and Erbium-doped fiber gains,” Opt. Express 14, 10522–10527 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

6.

X. Feng, H. Y. Tam, H. Liu, and P. K. A. Wai, “Multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber laser employing a nonlinear optical loop mirror,” Opt. Commun. 268, 278–281 (2006). [CrossRef]

7.

S. Hu, L Zhan, Y. J. Song, W. Li, S. Y. Luo, and Y.X. Xia, “Switchable multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber ring laser with a multisection high-birefringence fiber loop mirror,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 17, 1387–1389 (2005). [CrossRef]

8.

X. Feng, Y. Liu, S. Yuan, G. Kai, W. Zhang, and X. Song, “Switchable multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber laser with cascaded fiber grating cavities,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 14, 612–614 (2002). [CrossRef]

9.

C. L. Zhao, X. Yang, L. Chao, J. H. Ng, X. Guo, R. C. Partha, and X. Dong, “Switchable multi-wavelength erbium-doped fiber lasers by using cascaded fiber Bragg gratings written in high birefringence fiber,” Opt. Commun. 230, 313–317 (2004). [CrossRef]

10.

D. H. Zhao, K. T. Chan, Y. Liu, L. Zhang, and I. Bennion, “Wavelength switched optical pulse generation in a fiber ring laser with a Febry-perot semiconductor modulator and sampled fiber Bragg grating,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 13, 191–193 (2001). [CrossRef]

11.

X. Feng, H. Y. Tam, and P. K. A Wai, “Switchable Multiwavelength Erbium-doped fiber laser with a multimode Fiber Bragg grating and photonic crystal fiber,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 18, 1088–1090 (2006). [CrossRef]

12.

X. M. Liu, X. Q. Zhou, X. F. Tang, J. H. Ng, J. Z Hao, T. Y. Chai, E. W. Leong, and C. Lu, “Switchable and tunable multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber laser with fiber Bragg gratings and Photonic crystal fiber,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 17, 1626–1628 (2005). [CrossRef]

13.

K. Smith, N. J. Doran, and P. G. J. Wigley, “Pulse shaping, compression, and pedestal suppression employing a nonlinear-optical loop mirror,” Opt. Lett. 15, 1294–1296 (1990). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

14.

N. J. Doran and D. Wood, “Nonlinear optical loop mirror,” Opt. Lett. 13, 56–58 (1988). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

OCIS Codes
(060.2310) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber optics
(060.2340) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber optics components

ToC Category:
Fiber Optics and Optical Communications

History
Original Manuscript: November 29, 2007
Revised Manuscript: January 16, 2008
Manuscript Accepted: January 17, 2008
Published: January 18, 2008

Citation
Thi Van Anh Tran, Kwanil Lee, Sang Bae Lee, and Young-Geun Han, "Switchable multiwavelength erbium doped fiber laser based on a nonlinear optical loop mirror incorporating multiple fiber Bragg gratings," Opt. Express 16, 1460-1465 (2008)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-16-3-1460


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References

  1. N. park and P. F. Wysocki, "24-line multiwavelength operation of Erbium doped fiber ring laser," IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 8, 1459 - 1461 (1996). [CrossRef]
  2. A. Zhang, H. Liu, M. S. Demokan, and H.Y. Tam, "Stable and broad bandwidth multiwavelength fiber ring laser incorporating a highly nonlinear photonic crystal fiber," IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 178, 2535-2537 (2005). [CrossRef]
  3. Y. G. Han, T. V. A. Tran, S. B. Lee "Wavelength-spacing tunable multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber laser based on four-wave mixing of dispersion-shifted fiber," Opt. Lett. 31, 697 - 699 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. M. P. Fok and C. Shu, "Tunable dual-wavelength erbium-doped fiber laser stabilized by four-wave mixing in a 35cm highly nonlinear bismuth-oxide fiber," Opt. Express 15, 5925 - 5930 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. S. Qin, D. Chen, Y. Tang, and S. He, "Stable and uniform multi-wavelength fiber laser based on hybrid Raman and Erbium-doped fiber gains," Opt. Express 14, 10522 - 10527 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. X. Feng, H. Y. Tam, H. Liu and P. K. A. Wai, "Multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber laser employing a nonlinear optical loop mirror," Opt. Commun. 268, 278 - 281 (2006). [CrossRef]
  7. S. Hu, L. Zhan, Y. J. Song, W. Li, S. Y. Luo and Y.X. Xia, "Switchable multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber ring laser with a multisection high-birefringence fiber loop mirror," IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 17, 1387 - 1389 (2005). [CrossRef]
  8. X. Feng, Y. Liu, S. Yuan, G. Kai, W. Zhang and X. Song, "Switchable multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber laser with cascaded fiber grating cavities," IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 14, 612 - 614 (2002). [CrossRef]
  9. C. L. Zhao, X. Yang, L. Chao, J. H. Ng, X. Guo, R. C. Partha and X. Dong, "Switchable multi-wavelength erbium-doped fiber lasers by using cascaded fiber Bragg gratings written in high birefringence fiber," Opt. Commun. 230, 313 - 317 (2004). [CrossRef]
  10. D. H. Zhao, K. T. Chan, Y. Liu, L. Zhang, and I. Bennion, "Wavelength switched optical pulse generation in a fiber ring laser with a Febry-perot semiconductor modulator and sampled fiber Bragg grating," IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 13, 191 - 193 (2001). [CrossRef]
  11. X. Feng, H. Y. Tam, P. K. A Wai, "Switchable Multiwavelength Erbium-doped fiber laser with a multimode Fiber Bragg grating and photonic crystal fiber," IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 18, 1088 - 1090 (2006). [CrossRef]
  12. X. M. Liu, X. Q. Zhou, X. F. Tang, J. H. Ng, J. Z Hao, T. Y. Chai, E. W. Leong and C. Lu, "Switchable and tunable multiwavelength erbium-doped fiber laser with fiber Bragg gratings and Photonic crystal fiber," IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 17, 1626 - 1628 (2005). [CrossRef]
  13. K. Smith, N. J. Doran and P. G. J. Wigley, "Pulse shaping, compression, and pedestal suppression employing a nonlinear-optical loop mirror," Opt. Lett. 15, 1294 - 1296 (1990). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  14. N. J. Doran and D. Wood, "Nonlinear optical loop mirror," Opt. Lett. 13, 56 - 58 (1988). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

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