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Praseodymium-Doped Fluoride Fiber Amplifier (PDFA), O-Band


  • Polarization-Insensitive Gain
  • Ripple-Free Gain Spectrum
  • No Cross-Talk Modulation, Pattern Dependence, or Modulation Format Dependence

PDFA100

Single Mode PDFA, FC/APC

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PDFA OutPut Power
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Typical PDFA100 Output Power as a Function of Input Power at 1310 nm. A complete set of performance graphs is available on the Graphs tab.
PDFA Internal Schematic
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Operating Principle of the PDFA

Features

  • Operating Wavelength Range: 1280 - 1330 nm (O-Band)
  • >20 dB Small Signal Gain
  • >16 dBm Output Power
  • <8 dB Noise Figure
  • Ideal for Use as a Preamplifier or Booster Amplifier 
  • OEM and Customization Options Available; Contact Tech Support for Details

Applications

  • O-Band Signal Transmission for Data Communications
  • Overload Testing of O-Band Receivers

Thorlabs' Praseodymium-Doped Fiber Amplifier (PDFA) offers high gain (>20 dB small signal gain), high output power (>16 dBm), and a low noise figure (<8 dB), making it ideal for use within optical networks as either a booster amplifier or preamplifier. As Pr ions in silica transition to a lower excited state nonradiatively, these PDFAs are designed and manufactured by Thorlabs using proprietary fluoride fiber. Please see the PDF Emission tab for more information on light emission in Pr-doped fluoride fibers (PDF).

Fiber amplifier technology offers key advantages over semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOAs) when used for boosting communication signals. Distortion effects typically associated with the saturation mechanism and gain dynamics of SOAs do not exist in PDFAs, leading to improved compatibility with wavelength division multiplexed systems, advanced modulation formats, and high data rates. In particular, undesirable distortion effects such as cross-gain modulation and pattern dependence are eliminated in the PDFA as a result of its high saturation energy and slow gain dynamics. The PDFA gain dynamics are independent of pulse shape or modulation format due to a long upper-state lifetime that leads to negligible cross-talk between adjacent channels. Featuring a ripple-free, or flat, gain spectrum, the PDFA produces uniform gain over a number of channels, which eliminates channel mismatches at the end of a link. The resulting clean, stable output is ideal for improving the power budget in data center applications.

As shown in the schematic to the right, the main components of the PDFA include a wavelength-division multiplexer (WDM), input and output isolators, and a PDF. The WDM is used to combine the pump laser and O-band signal light before the PDF, while the isolators, which only allow light to travel in one direction, prevent lasing by minimizing back reflections. The input and output isolators also serve to prevent any spontaneous emission signal from entering the amplifier and the pump light from exiting the amplifier, respectively.

Each fiber amplifier is enclosed in a compact benchtop package with FC/APC (2.0 mm narrow key) input and output connectors. The pump current of the PDFA is adjustable through the instrument's front panel, allowing the user to vary the gain and output power of the amplifier. This device also features a display screen that shows the pump level, as well as the temperature and emission status. To show when the internal laser is active, an indicator LED is included on the enable button; this will blink rapidly for three seconds before the amplifier turns on. For additional safety, the user may connect an interlock circuit to the BNC connector on the rear panel.

The PDFA uses a universal power supply allowing operation over 100 - 240 VAC without the need to select the line voltage. A region-specific power cord is included.

For applications that require PDFAs with custom form factors, power consumption, or optical specifications, please contact Tech Support. Thorlabs also offers Ytterbium-Doped Fiber Amplifiers (YDFAs) and Erbium-Doped Fiber Amplifiers (EDFAs), which operate in the 1025 - 1075 nm and 1530 - 1565 nm (C-band) wavelength ranges, respectively.

Item # PDFA100
Amplifier Specificationsa
Operating Wavelength Rangeb 1280 - 1330 nm (O-Band)
Output Power (@ 3 dBm Input Power)c,d >16 dBm
Small Signal Gain (@ -30 dBm Input Power)c >20 dB
Noise Figure (@ -30 dBm Input Power)c <8 dB
Output Power Stability (@ 3 dBm Input Power)e
<±2% Over 24 Hours
Laser Class 1M
Fiber Specifications
Polarization-Dependent Gain <0.5 dB
Return Loss at Input Port >50 dB
Input / Output Isolation >30 dB
Input / Output Fiber Type Single Mode
Input / Output Fiber Connectors FC/APC Compatible, 2.0 mm Narrow Key
  • Specifications are taken at 100% pump current set-point. SMF-28 Ultra fiber patch cables with FC/APC connectors are used at the input and output.
  • The wavelength range over which the small signal gain (at -30 dBm input power) does not fall below 10 dB.
  • Specified at 1310 nm. Please see the Graphs tab for typical curves showing the variation of each parameter.
  • Please refer to the Graphs tab for the scaling of the output power vs. the input power.
  • After 15 Minute Warm-Up, for Ambient Temperature Fluctuations ±2 °C
Absolute Maximum Ratings
Absolute Maximum Input Power 10 mW (10 dBm)
Absolute Maximum Output Power 150 mW (22 dBm)
Operating Temperature 15 to 30 °C
Storage Temperature -10 to 40 °C

 

General Specifications
Input Voltage 100 - 240 VAC, 50 - 60 Hz
Input Power 20 W (Max)
Fuse Rating 2 A, 250 V
Fuse Type Time-Lag (Slow-Blow)
Fuse Size 5 mm x 20 mm
Dimensions (W x D x H) 250.0 mm x 300.0 mm x 122.2 mm 
(9.84" x 11.81" x 4.81")
Weight 3.4 kg (7.5 lbs)

Performance Graphs

Performance may vary from unit to unit; this data reflects the typical performance of our PDFAs, and is presented for reference only. The gauaranteed specifications are shown in the Specs tab.


Wavelength Dependence 

PDFA Gain
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The typical gain as a function of the wavelength. The blue-shaded region denotes the specified operating wavelength range. Data is measured with the pump level set at 100%.
PDFA Noise Figure
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The typical noise figure as a function of the wavelength. The blue-shaded region denotes the specified operating wavelength range. Data is measured with the pump level set at 100%.

Input Power and Pump Level Dependence at 1310 nm

PDFA OutPut Power
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The typical output power as a function of input power at 1310 nm. Data is measured with the pump level set at 100%.
PDFA OutPut Power
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Click for Raw Data
The typical noise figure as a function of input power at 1310 nm. Data is measured with the pump level set at 100%.
PDFA Gain vs. Pump Level
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Click for Raw Data
The typical gain as a function of input power at 1310 nm. Data is measured with the pump level set at 100%.
PDFA Gain vs. Pump Level
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Click for Raw Data
Typical PDFA100 Gain as a Function of Pump Level at 1310 nm

Front and Back Panels

PDFA Front Panel
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Front Panel
Back Panel
Callout Description
1 USB Diagnostic Port for Factory Use Only
2 AC Power Cord Connector
3 Fuse Tray
4 AC Power Switch
5 Remote Interlock Input (BNC)
Front Panel
Callout Description
1 Push-Button Power Switch
2 Display to Show Pump Level, Temperature Status, and Emission Status
3 Control Knob to Adjust Pump Laser Current
4 Amplifier Enable Switch and Emission Indicator
5 Optical Output for Single Mode FC/APC Fiber Connector
6 Optical Input for Single Mode FC/APC Fiber Connector

The PDFA100 contains the following components:

  • Praseodymium-Doped Fiber Amplifier in Benchtop Package
  • Interlock-Shorting BNC Connector
  • Region-Specific Power Cord
  • FBC1 Connector and Bulkhead Cleaner

The Praseodymium-Doped Fluoride Fiber Amplifier (PDFA) achieves signal gain through stimulated emission, which is when an incident photon causes an excited-state ion to relax to a lower energy state by emitting a photon. For this fiber amplifier, silica cannot be used as the host material because the excited state decays to the ground state nonradiatively via phonon relaxation. Materials with lower phonon energies, such as fluorides or chalcogenide glasses, are more suitable hosts. Thorlabs uses proprietary fluoride fiber doped with the rare-earth metal praseodymium to generate radiative emission and achieve signal gain.

PDFA OutPut Power
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Schematics showing Pr3+ ion excitation and emission processes. 3H4, 3H5, and 1G4 are the ground, intermediate, and excited energy levels, respectively.

Stimulated Emission in the PDFA
The excitation and relaxation process in the Pr3+ ion behaves like a three-level system involving the ground state 3H4, metastable state 1G4, and intermediate state 3H5. In particular, when a ground state Pr3+ ion is pumped with a laser, the ion is excited to a metastable state with a long lifetime on the order of hundreds of microseconds. This long lifetime allows for population inversion, which means that the number of ions in the metastable state builds up and becomes larger than the number of ions in the ground state. The ion sits in the metastable state until a signal photon, with an energy matching the energy difference between the excited state and intermediate state, causes the ion to relax down to its ground state by photon emission. For the Pr3+ ion, this energy corresponds to a wavelength around 1.31 µm. The ion then fully decays to the ground state through nonradiative phonon relaxation. Absorption and stimulated emission, as well as the relevant energy states, are illustrated in the first two panels of the schematic to the right.

Note that the electronic states of the Pr3+ ion are energy bands and not discrete energy levels, and there is a range of wavelengths the emission processes occur over, i.e. the PDFA bandwidth. This is as a result of the Stark-splitting caused by the local electric fields from the surrounding host lattice acting on the Pr3+ ion, as well as site-to-site variation within the amorphous host.

Stimulated vs. Spontaneous Emission
Signal amplification occurs when the ion relaxes via stimulated emission because one signal photon in results in two signal photons out; this second photon has the same energy, phase, and direction as the incident signal photon (coherent radiation). If the excited ion is not triggered during the span of the metastable state lifetime, the ions relax on their own via spontaneous emission. As shown in the last panel of the schematic, these photons have random phase and direction. While most of the photons generated by spontaneous emission will leave through the sides of the fiber, some propagate through the fiber core and experience signal gain, resulting in noise called amplified spontaneous emission (ASE).


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