The erbium-doped planar amplifier: from laboratory to local loop
At OSA Topical Meeting on Optical Amplifiers and their Applications, Switzerland.
15 - 17 Jun 1995.
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I review the status of research into planar erbium-doped waveguide amplifiers, highlighting the challenges and prospects through examination of a typical application. Introduction:
The erbium-doped fibre amplifier (EDFA) was invented at the University of Southampton in 1987, and rapidly recognised as a very significant advance. The first commercial EDFAs were available only four years later, making possible fully transparent transoceanic cables with unprecedented bandwidth and expanding the scope of land-based optical networks. Despite their unsurpassed performance, however, EDFAs remain expensive components whose cost must usually be shared among hundreds or even thousands of customers in order to make their use economically viable. They are thus to be found as head-end power amplifiers or booster amplifiers in trunk lines and submarine cables, but not in applications in the local loop.
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