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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: Andrew M. Weiner
  • Vol. 21, Iss. 23 — Nov. 18, 2013
  • pp: 28559–28569
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Demonstration of amplified data transmission at 2 µm in a low-loss wide bandwidth hollow core photonic bandgap fiber

M. N. Petrovich, F. Poletti, J. P. Wooler, A.M. Heidt, N.K. Baddela, Z. Li, D.R. Gray, R. Slavík, F. Parmigiani, N.V. Wheeler, J.R. Hayes, E. Numkam, L. Grűner-Nielsen, B. Pálsdóttir, R. Phelan, B. Kelly, John O’Carroll, M. Becker, N. MacSuibhne, J. Zhao, F.C. Garcia Gunning, A.D. Ellis, P. Petropoulos, S.U. Alam, and D.J. Richardson  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 21, Issue 23, pp. 28559-28569 (2013)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.21.028559


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Abstract

The first demonstration of a hollow core photonic bandgap fiber (HC-PBGF) suitable for high-rate data transmission in the 2 µm waveband is presented. The fiber has a record low loss for this wavelength region (4.5 dB/km at 1980 nm) and a >150 nm wide surface-mode-free transmission window at the center of the bandgap. Detailed analysis of the optical modes and their propagation along the fiber, carried out using a time-of-flight technique in conjunction with spatially and spectrally resolved (S2) imaging, provides clear evidence that the HC-PBGF can be operated as quasi-single mode even though it supports up to four mode groups. Through the use of a custom built Thulium doped fiber amplifier with gain bandwidth closely matched to the fiber’s low loss window, error-free 8 Gbit/s transmission in an optically amplified data channel at 2008 nm over 290 m of 19 cell HC-PBGF is reported.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

1. Introduction

Since the advent and commercialization of the Erbium doped fiber amplifier and dispersion shifted fibers in the late 1980s, research and development in long-haul telecoms optical fibers has focused on the 1.55 µm wavelength region. Over the past decade, R&D efforts have been almost exclusively focused on optimizing the transmitters and receivers and on designing ever more advanced modulation formats. In contrast, comparatively little progress has been reported on the transmission fiber itself. More recently, however, the quest for radical solutions to increase transmission capacity per fiber, decrease fiber loss and nonlinearity and reduce signal latency has stimulated interest in novel and more exotic fiber types [1

1. E. Desurvire, C. Kazmierski, F. Lelarge, X. Marcadet, A. Scavennec, F. A. Kish, D. F. Welch, R. Nagarajan, C. H. Joyner, R. P. Schneider Jr, S. W. Corzine, M. Kato, P. W. Evans, M. Ziari, A. G. Dentai, J. L. Pleumeekers, R. Muthiah, S. Bigo, M. Nakazawa, D. J. Richardson, F. Poletti, M. N. Petrovich, S. U. Alam, W. H. Loh, and D. N. Payne, “Science and technology challenges in XXIst century optical communications,” C. R. Phys. 12(4), 387–416 (2011), http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1631070511000922. [CrossRef]

, 2

2. D. J. Richardson, J. M. Fini, and L. E. Nelson, “Space-division multiplexing in optical fibres,” Nat. Photonics 7(5), 354–362 (2013), doi:. [CrossRef]

]. High-risk, high-payoff fiber solutions are being actively pursued, which may eventually justify a shift away from the traditional operating wavelengths. Hollow core-photonic bandgap fibers (HC-PBGFs) hold great promise as a transmission medium due to their ultra-low nonlinearity and lower latency as compared to conventional solid fibers. These properties stem from the unique ability of HC-PBGFs to guide light in a hollow core, with minimal overlap (as low as 0.1%) between the optical field and the silica glass structure. Still a maturing technology, HC-PBGFs cannot yet rival the loss levels of standard silica single mode fiber [3

3. M. Hirano, T. Haruna, Y. Tamura, T. Kawano, S. Ohnuki, Y. Yamamoto, Y. Koyano, and T. Sasaki, “Record low loss, record high FOM optical fiber with manufacturable process, ” in Optical Fiber Communication Conference/National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference 2013, OSA Technical Digest (online) (Optical Society of America, 2013), paper PDP5A.7.

]. However, steady and substantial progress has been made recently in understanding and engineering the transmission properties of these complex optical fibers. For instance, an eight-fold improvement in the transmission bandwidth of low loss (3.5 dB/km) HC-PBGFs has recently been reported [4

4. F. Poletti, N. V. Wheeler, M. N. Petrovich, N. K. Baddela, E. Numkam, J. R. Hayes, D. R. Gray, Z. Li, R. Slavík, and D. J. Richardson, “Towards high-capacity fibre optic communications at the speed of light in vacuum,” Nat. Photonics 7(4), 279–284 (2013), doi:. [CrossRef]

]. This result was achieved by combining a 19-cell core design, offering low scattering loss [5

5. B. J. Mangan, L. Farr, A. Langford, P. J. Roberts, D. P. Williams, F. Couny, M. Lawman, M. Mason, S. Coupland, R. Flea, H. Sabert, T. A. Birks, J. C. Knight, and P. St. J. Russell, “Low loss (1.7 dB/km) hollow core photonic bandgap fiber,” in Proceedings of the Optical Fiber Communication Conference, 2004. OFC 2004, paper PDP24. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=1362294&isnumber=29847

], with a thin wall surround [6

6. R. Amezcua-Correa, N. G. Broderick, M. N. Petrovich, F. Poletti, and D. J. Richardson, “Optimizing the usable bandwidth and loss through core design in realistic hollow-core photonic bandgap fibers,” Opt. Express 14(17), 7974–7985 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

], enabling surface mode-free operation over a 160 nm wide window at the center of the optical bandgap. Through a similar fiber design principle, a wide bandwidth low loss 37 cell HC-PBGF was also recently demonstrated [7

7. N. K. Baddela, M. N. Petrovich, Y. Jung, J. R. Hayes, N. V. Wheeler, D. R. Gray, N. Wong, F. Parmigiani, E. Numkam, J. P. Wooler, F. Poletti, and D. J. Richardson, “First demonstration of a low loss 37-cell hollow core photonic bandgap fiber and its use for data transmission,” in CLEO: Science and Innovations, OSA Technical Digest (online) (Optical Society of America, 2013), paper CTu2K.3.

]. The ability to obtain a wide, low-loss transmission region is a key step to enable dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) in these fibers, where a well-tempered dispersion profile [8

8. F. Poletti, E. R. Numkam Fokoua, M. N. Petrovich, N. V. Wheeler, N. K. Baddela, J. R. Hayes, and D. J. Richardson, “Hollow core photonic bandgap fibers for telecommunications: opportunities and potential issues,” in Optical Fiber Communication Conference, OSA Technical Digest (Optical Society of America, 2012), paper OTh1H.3. [CrossRef]

] is also of crucial importance. Furthermore, whilst low-loss HC-PBGFs are inherently multi-moded, it was shown that, through a combination of optimized fiber structure (to suppress surface modes) and selective input and output coupling [4

4. F. Poletti, N. V. Wheeler, M. N. Petrovich, N. K. Baddela, E. Numkam, J. R. Hayes, D. R. Gray, Z. Li, R. Slavík, and D. J. Richardson, “Towards high-capacity fibre optic communications at the speed of light in vacuum,” Nat. Photonics 7(4), 279–284 (2013), doi:. [CrossRef]

], these fibers can be operated as quasi-single mode to a level that meets the challenging requirements for error-free data transmission. Recently, 1.5 Tbit/s transmission (37x40 Gbit/s on-off keyed DWDM channels on a 100-GHz ITU grid) was demonstrated over 250 m of a HC-PBGF [9

9. R. Slavík, M. N. Petrovich, N. V. Wheeler, J. R. Hayes, N. K. Baddela, D. R. Gray, F. Poletti, and D. J. Richardson, “1.45 Tbit/s, low latency data transmission through a 19-cell hollow core photonic band gap fibre,” in European Conference and Exhibition on Optical Communication, OSA Technical Digest (online) (Optical Society of America, 2012), paper Mo.2.F.2. [CrossRef]

], further improved to 30.7 Tbit/s (96x320 Gb/s) dual-polarization (DP)-32QAM using coherently-detected, polarization-multiplexed transmission [10

10. V. A. Sleiffer, Y. Jung, P. Leoni, M. Kuschnerov, N. V. Wheeler, N. K. Baddela, R. G. H. van Uden, C. M. Okonkwo, J. R. Hayes, J. Wooler, E. Numkam, R. Slavik, F. Poletti, M. N. Petrovich, V. Veljanovski, S. U. Alam, D. J. Richardson, and H. de Waardt, “30.7 Tb/s (96x320 Gb/s) DP-32QAM transmission over 19-cell photonic band gap fiber, ” in Optical Fiber Communication Conference, OSA Technical Digest (Optical Society of America, 2013), paper OW1I.5. [CrossRef]

]. More recently, a record capacity of 73.7 Gbit/s was demonstrated through a combination of DWDM and mode-division multiplexing (MDM) using the three lowest order modes of a 37 cell HC-PBGF [11

11. Y. Jung, V. A. J. M. Sleiffer, N. K. Baddela, M. N. Petrovich, J. R. Hayes, N. V. Wheeler, D. R. Gray, E. R. Numkam Fokoua, J. Wooler, N. Wong, F. Parmigiani, S. Alam, J. Surof, M. Kuschnerov, V. Veljanovski, H. de Waardt, F. Poletti, and D. J. Richardson, “First demonstration of a broadband 37-cell hollow core photonic bandgap fiber and its application to high capacity mode division multiplexing,” in Optical Fiber Communication Conference/National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference 2013, OSA Technical Digest (online) (Optical Society of America, 2013), paper PDP5A.3.

].

2. Fiber fabrication and characterization

The HC-PBGF utilized in the present study had a 19-cell core structure and was fabricated from a stacked preform using a two-step drawing procedure. A Scanning Electron Micrograph (SEM) image of the fiber is shown in Fig. 1(b).
Fig. 1 (a) HC-PBGF transmission loss (300 m to 5 m cutback, 2 nm resolution) superimposed on the TDFA output to illustrate the location of the signal channel at 2008 nm and extent of ASE emission as an indicator of the amplifier bandwidth. (b) SEM image of the fiber. (c) High resolution (~50 pm) transmission of 290 m of HC-PBGF at 2000-2020 nm collected using a Tm:ASE source and SMF input and output coupling fibers and normalized against input intensity. Also shown the signal wavelength (green line) tuned off the CO2 absorption lines.
The cladding is composed of 6½ rings of holes with an average spacing of ~5.5 µm and average relative hole size of ~0.96-0.965. The hollow core, 36 µm in diameter, has a thin surround and an expansion ratio relative to the cladding engineered to minimize the number of surface modes and thus to obtain low-loss guidance over a broad wavelength interval [4

4. F. Poletti, N. V. Wheeler, M. N. Petrovich, N. K. Baddela, E. Numkam, J. R. Hayes, D. R. Gray, Z. Li, R. Slavík, and D. J. Richardson, “Towards high-capacity fibre optic communications at the speed of light in vacuum,” Nat. Photonics 7(4), 279–284 (2013), doi:. [CrossRef]

]. The sample used in this particular experiment was about 300m long, however it is possible to obtain about 2 km of HC-PBGF per single draw using our current fabrication process and we are actively investigating strategies to substantially further increase the yield per draw.

The fiber’s spectral attenuation, measured via a careful cutback from 300 m to 5 m using a white light source and a long wavelength optical spectrum analyzer (OSA), is shown in Fig. 1(a). This measurement procedure was chosen to preserve the fiber sample but this measurement procedure leads to a probable overestimate of the loss due to the residual presence of higher order modes. The minimum loss value of 4.5 dB/km at 1980 nm is the lowest reported to date for a HC-PBGF operating in the 2 µm wavelength region. The 3 dB transmission window of the HC-PBGF is approximately 152 nm wide, which is well matched to the TDFA gain bandwidth, see Fig. 1(a).

In order to investigate potential intermodal cross-coupling over a longer fiber length and to assess the potential of single-mode operation we used a time-of-flight (ToF) technique [4

4. F. Poletti, N. V. Wheeler, M. N. Petrovich, N. K. Baddela, E. Numkam, J. R. Hayes, D. R. Gray, Z. Li, R. Slavík, and D. J. Richardson, “Towards high-capacity fibre optic communications at the speed of light in vacuum,” Nat. Photonics 7(4), 279–284 (2013), doi:. [CrossRef]

]. For this, a mode-locked fiber laser operating at 1940 nm (1 ps pulses at 25 MHz repetition rate, from AdValue Photonics), an 8 GHz bandwidth extended InGaAs PIN photodetector (Electro-Optics Technology, ET-5010F) and a fast sampling oscilloscope were used. Both ends of the HC-PBGF were butt-coupled to SMF-28, providing selective input and output coupling into the fundamental LP01 mode.
Fig. 3 Time-of-flight measurement at 1940 nm over a 290 m long HC-PBGF. The expected position of higher order modes (obtained from DGD values measured via S2) is also shown, highlighting excellent suppression through optimized input and output coupling.
Figure 3 shows the results for a 290 m long HC-PBGF sample under optimum coupling conditions to the LP01 mode. The photodiode exhibited some ringing in the 0–1.5 ns range, which has been corrected for in Fig. 3, but results in a slightly elevated residual noise floor. The expected peak positions corresponding to the higher order modes, determined from differential group delay (DGD) values obtained from the S2 measurement, are also shown in Fig. 3.

Despite the large mismatch between the LP01 mode of the HC-PBGF and that of the launch/collection fibers, we achieved a remarkable 33 dB suppression of the LP11 mode with any contributions of higher order modes falling below the noise floor of 37 dB (Fig. 3). The peak marked ‘X’ in the figure, which appears with about 1 ns delay and 28 dB below the fundamental mode, has no counterpart in the measured S2 spectrum and thus has not yet been clearly attributed (we speculate that it could be due to a discrete coupling point between LP01 and LP11 along the fiber length).

3. Experimental set-up

A schematic of the full transmission set-up used in this work, highlighting the various components, is shown in Fig. 4.
Fig. 4 Schematic of the full transmission setup. Signal from laser diode is modulated via an external LiNbO modulator through on-off keying (OOK), passed through a Thulium fiber amplifier (TDFA), a fiber Bragg grating (FBG) filter to remove the ASE noise, launched into the 290 m of HC-PBGF, passed through a variable optical attenuator (VOA) and finally detected by a fast photodetector and bit error rate tester and digital communications analyzer (BERT/DCA)
The single mode diode laser used for the transmission experiments was a discrete-mode continuous-wave laser based on a multiple quantum well ridge waveguide InGaAs structure on InP substrate [19

19. R. Phelan, J. O’Carroll, D. Byrne, C. Herbert, J. Somers, and B. Kelly, “In0.75Ga0.25As/InP multiple quantum-well discrete-mode laser diode emitting at 2 μm,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 24(8), 652–654 (2012). [CrossRef]

]. The device was purpose-developed for this experiment but is now commercially available [20

20. Eblana Photonics, EP2000-DM Series.

]. The output intensity vs. bias current, showing a threshold current (Ith) of ~16 mA and slope efficiency (SE) of 0.06 mW/mA, is represented in Fig. 5(a).
Fig. 5 (a) Discrete mode CW laser power as a function of bias current showing the threshold current and slope efficiency (SE). (b) Optical emission spectrum at a bias current of 100 mA.
The laser provided 6 dBm maximum output power at ~2008 nm with side mode suppression ratio of ~45 dB, as shown in Fig. 5(b). The laser wavelength was temperature tuned to ensure that it lay between two adjacent CO2 absorption lines (as shown in Fig. 1(c)). The laser diode, packaged in a butterfly module which contained a TEC and thermistor, had a very high frequency stability (~100 MHz or ~1.3 pm maximum excursion measured over a 60 min period). Furthermore, the CO2 absorption lines are very insensitive to environmental effects and the shift with temperature is extremely small (<<1 MHz/K) and thus is totally negligible for this study.

The laser was intensity modulated with a 231-1 pseudorandom bit sequence (PRBS) using an external lithium niobate Mach-Zehnder modulator (Photline Technologies). Its nominal electro-optical bandwidth was 1-2 GHz; however in this particular experiment it was operating at 8 Gbit/s, which was the maximum repetition rate for which we could achieve error-free back-to-back operation. Two examples of optical eye diagrams at 1Gbit/s and 8 Gbit/s, measured using an InGaAs high speed PIN detector (this was the same device used for the ToF measurements) are shown in Fig. 6.
Fig. 6 Performance of the optical modulator at 1 Gbit/s (top) and 8 Gbit/s (bottom): electrical driving signal (left) and optical modulated signal (right).
The corresponding electrical eye diagrams are also reported for completeness. The modulator had ~60 ps rise time and over 25 dB extinction ratio with an overall loss of 8 dB.

The generated non-return-to-zero on-off keyed (NRZ-OOK) signal was then amplified using a TDFA pumped at 1565 nm, a schematic of which is shown in Fig. 7.
Fig. 7 (a) Detailed schematic of the Tm doped fiber amplifier shown as a single block in Fig. 4. (b) Gain and noise figure of the TDFA operating at the signal wavelength of 2008 nm.
The TDFA [21

21. Z. Li, A. M. Heidt, J. M. O. Daniel, Y. Jung, S. U. Alam, and D. J. Richardson, “Thulium-doped fiber amplifier for optical communications at 2 µm,” Opt. Express 21(8), 9289–9297 (2013). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

] was built with a commercially available Tm3+-doped fiber (OFS TmDF200) having a mode field diameter of ~6.2 μm at 2000 nm and a core absorption of ~20 dB/m at 1565 nm. The amplifier consisted of two sections of TDF. Firstly, a 12 m long length of TDF was forward core pumped by an in-house built fiber Bragg grating (FBG)-stabilized single mode Er3+/Yb3+ co-doped fiber laser operating at 1565 nm. The 1565 nm pump wavelength was chosen rather than the 790 nm pumping scheme commonly used for high power TDF devices since this offers lower noise performance around 2000 nm [22

22. D. Y. Shen, J. K. Sahu, and W. A. Clarkson, “High-power widely tunable Tm:fibre lasers pumped by an Er,Yb co-doped fibre laser at 1.6 mum,” Opt. Express 14(13), 6084–6090 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. The pump and signal wavelengths were combined using a 1570/2000 nm WDM coupler. Isolators were placed both at the input and output ends to prevent parasitic lasing. A second, 4 m long length of TDF was inserted between the input isolator and the WDM coupler. This additional piece of fiber was indirectly pumped by the backward-travelling amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) generated from the directly pumped 12 m TDF section and provided additional signal gain at the longer wavelength end of the Tm gain window, i.e. around 2000 nm. This pumping scheme is similar to that used in L-band EDFA designs [23

23. J. H. Lee, U.-C. Ryu, S. J. Ahn, and N. Park, “Enhancement of power conversion efficiency for an L-band EDFA with a secondary pumping effect in the unpumped EDF section,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 11(1), 42–44 (1999). [CrossRef]

].

4. Transmission results

5. Conclusions

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the European Community under grant agreement 258033 (MODE-GAP), by the UK EPSRC through grant numbers EP/H02607X/1 (EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Photonics) and EP/I01196X/1 (HYPERHIGHWAY) and by Science Foundation Ireland under grant numbers 06/IN/I969 and 11/SIRG/I2124.

References and links

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16.

M. N. Petrovich, F. Poletti, J. Wooler, A. Heidt, N. K. Baddela, Z. Li, D. R. Gray, R. Slavík, F. Parmigiani, N. V. Wheeler, J. R. Hayes, E. Numkam Fokoua, L. Grüner-Nielsen, B. Pálsdóttir, R. Phelan, B. Kelly, M. Becker, N. MacSuibhne, J. Zhao, F. C. Garcia Gunning, A. Ellis, P. Petropoulos, S. U. Alam, and D. J. Richardson, “First demonstration of 2µm data transmission in a low-loss hollow core photonic bandgap fiber,” in European Conference and Exhibition on Optical Communication, OSA Technical Digest (online) (Optical Society of America, 2012), paper Th.3.A.5. [CrossRef]

17.

N. V. Wheeler, M. N. Petrovich, N. K. Baddela, J. R. Hayes, E. N. Fokoua, F. Poletti, and D. J. Richardson, “Gas absorption between 1.8 and 2.1 µm in low loss (5.2 dB/km) HC-PBGF,” in CLEO: Science and Innovations, OSA Technical Digest (online) (Optical Society of America, 2012), paper CM3N.5.

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19.

R. Phelan, J. O’Carroll, D. Byrne, C. Herbert, J. Somers, and B. Kelly, “In0.75Ga0.25As/InP multiple quantum-well discrete-mode laser diode emitting at 2 μm,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 24(8), 652–654 (2012). [CrossRef]

20.

Eblana Photonics, EP2000-DM Series.

21.

Z. Li, A. M. Heidt, J. M. O. Daniel, Y. Jung, S. U. Alam, and D. J. Richardson, “Thulium-doped fiber amplifier for optical communications at 2 µm,” Opt. Express 21(8), 9289–9297 (2013). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

22.

D. Y. Shen, J. K. Sahu, and W. A. Clarkson, “High-power widely tunable Tm:fibre lasers pumped by an Er,Yb co-doped fibre laser at 1.6 mum,” Opt. Express 14(13), 6084–6090 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

23.

J. H. Lee, U.-C. Ryu, S. J. Ahn, and N. Park, “Enhancement of power conversion efficiency for an L-band EDFA with a secondary pumping effect in the unpumped EDF section,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 11(1), 42–44 (1999). [CrossRef]

24.

Z. Li, A. M. Heidt, N. Simakov, Y. Jung, J. M. O. Daniel, S. U. Alam, and D. J. Richardson, “Diode-pumped wideband thulium-doped fiber amplifiers for optical communications in the 1800 – 2050 nm window,” Opt. Express 21(22), 26450–26455 (2013). [CrossRef]

OCIS Codes
(060.2280) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber design and fabrication
(060.2300) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber measurements
(060.4005) Fiber optics and optical communications : Microstructured fibers
(060.5295) Fiber optics and optical communications : Photonic crystal fibers

ToC Category:
Fiber Optics and Optical Communications

History
Original Manuscript: August 9, 2013
Revised Manuscript: October 28, 2013
Manuscript Accepted: November 2, 2013
Published: November 13, 2013

Citation
M. N. Petrovich, F. Poletti, J. P. Wooler, A.M. Heidt, N.K. Baddela, Z. Li, D.R. Gray, R. Slavík, F. Parmigiani, N.V. Wheeler, J.R. Hayes, E. Numkam, L. Grűner-Nielsen, B. Pálsdóttir, R. Phelan, B. Kelly, John O’Carroll, M. Becker, N. MacSuibhne, J. Zhao, F.C. Garcia Gunning, A.D. Ellis, P. Petropoulos, S.U. Alam, and D.J. Richardson, "Demonstration of amplified data transmission at 2 µm in a low-loss wide bandwidth hollow core photonic bandgap fiber," Opt. Express 21, 28559-28569 (2013)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-21-23-28559


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References

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  22. D. Y. Shen, J. K. Sahu, and W. A. Clarkson, “High-power widely tunable Tm:fibre lasers pumped by an Er,Yb co-doped fibre laser at 1.6 mum,” Opt. Express14(13), 6084–6090 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  23. J. H. Lee, U.-C. Ryu, S. J. Ahn, and N. Park, “Enhancement of power conversion efficiency for an L-band EDFA with a secondary pumping effect in the unpumped EDF section,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett.11(1), 42–44 (1999). [CrossRef]
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