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Benchtop, Fiber-Coupled Booster & Semiconductor Optical Amplifiers

  • Use as Signal Amplifiers or Optical Shutters
  • Center Wavelengths from 1050 to 1625 nm
  • Typical Small Signal Gain up to 30 dB


Polarization Maintaining
1030 to 1070 nm


Polarization Insensitive
1528 to 1562 nm

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Key Specificationsa

Item # Amplifier
Optical 3 dB
Saturation Output
Power @ -3 dB
Signal Gain
@ Pin = -20 dBm
S9FC1137P BOA 1050 nm 50 nm 9 dBm 21 dB 1M
S9FC1132P BOA 1300 nm 87 nm 15 dBm 30 dB
S7FC1013S SOA 1550 nm 74 nm 14 dBm 13 dB
S9FC1004P BOA 1550 nm 100 nm 15 dBm 28 dB
S9FC1080P BOA 1590 nm 90 nm 15 dBm 25 dB
S9FC1082P BOA 1625 nm 80 nm 13 dBm 18 dB
  • Additional specifications are provided on the Specs and Performance Plots tabs.


  • Center Wavelength: 1050, 1300, 1550, 1590, or 1625 nm
  • Typical Noise: <0.5%
  • Saturation Output Powers from 9 dBm to 15 dBm
  • FC/APC Input and Output Connections
  • Analog Modulation Input (0 to 5 V)
  • Polarization Insensitive and Polarization Maintaining Versions
  • TEC Temperature Stabilized to <0.01 °C
  • USB Interface for Remote Operation

Thorlabs has integrated our fiber-coupled optical amplifiers into easy-to-use benchtop units. To use, simply connect fiber patch cables with FC/APC connectors to the input and output connectors and set the drive current and temperature with the dial on the front panel. The drive current can be modulated at up to 250 kHz using an input signal from 0 - 5 V (corresponding to zero transmission and maximum gain, respectively) via a BNC connector located on the rear panel of the unit. An internal microcontroller ensures that the amplifier is not overdriven from the modulation voltage. The unit's LCD displays the drive current and measured temperature of the amplifier, as well as the center wavelength of the unit and the amplifier type (SOA or BOA). The USB interface allows these amplifiers to be controlled remotely via a PC (see the manual for a list of commands for running the unit from a command line interface).

A booster optical amplifier (BOA) is a polarization sensitive device that only amplifies light with a specific polarization. Our BOAs are pigtailed with PM fiber and will amplify light aligned to the slow axis of the input fiber connector. Our benchtop BOAs are available with center wavelengths at 1050, 1300, 1550, 1590, and 1625 nm. For amplication at 1550 nm, we also offer a semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA) that provides polarization-insensitive amplification at a lower maximum gain than the BOA counterpart. For more information on amplifiers, see the Optical Amplifiers tab above.

For butterfly packaged BOAs and SOAs, please see our 1050 nm, O-Band, E-Band, C-Band, and L-Band offerings.

Polarization Insensitive Semiconductor Optical Amplifiers (SOA)

This data is given for 25 °C.

Item #S7FC1013S
Wavelength (nm)152815501562
Saturation Output Power at -3 dB (dBm)1214-
Optical 3 dB Bandwidth (nm)7074-
Signal Gain @ Pin = -20 dBm (dB)1013-
RMS Gain Ripple (dB)-0.10.5
Noise Figure (dB)-89.5
Polarization Dependent Gain (dB)-1.01.8
Chip Length (mm)-1.5-
Waveguide Refractive Index-3.2-

Polarization-Maintaining Booster Optical Amplifiers (BOAs)

This data is given for 25 °C.

Item #S9FC1137PS9FC1132PS9FC1004PS9FC1080PS9FC1082P
Wavelength (nm)103010501070129013001315153015501570157015901610160016251650
Saturation Output Power at -3 dB (dBm)69-1517-1315-1215-1013-
Optical 3 dB Bandwidth (nm)4050-8087-90100-8090-7080-
Signal Gain @ Pin = -20 dBm (dB)1721-2730-2528-2025-1418-
RMS Gain Ripple (dB)--0.5-0.20.3-0.10.2-0.050.2-0.050.3
Noise Figure (dB)-1114-7.09.0-7.09.0-7.09.0-7.09.0
Chip Length (mm)1.5---1.5--1.5--1.5--1.5-
Waveguide Refractive Index3.3---3.2--3.2--3.2--3.2-

General Specifications

The following specifications apply to all of the BOAs and SOAs in the tables above.

Controller Specifications
Performance Specifications
Temperature Setpoint Resolution±0.01 °C
Temperature ControlTEC
Temperature Stability<0.01 °C
Temperature Adjustment Range20.00 to 30.00 °C
Noise (RMS)<0.5% Typical (Source Dependent)
Analog Modulation Input0 - 5 V
(Zero Transmission to Maximum Gain)
Analog Modulation Bandwidth250 kHz for Full Depth of Modulation
Rise/Fall Time1.4 µsec / 1.6 µsec
(For a Square-Wave Modulation Input)
Fiber PortsFC/APC (One Input and One Output)
Modulation Input ConnectorBNC (Referenced to Chassis)
AC Input100 - 240 VAC, 50 - 60 Hz
Dimensions (L x W x H)5.8" x 11.4" x 2.6"
(147 x 290 x 66 mm)

SOA Performance Plots

S7FC1013S: 1550 nm Center Wavelength

BOA Performance Plots

S9FC1137P: 1050 nm Center Wavelength

S9FC1132P: 1300 nm Center Wavelength

S9FC1004P: 1550 nm Center Wavelength

S9FC1080P: 1590 nm Center Wavelength

S9FC1082P: 1625 nm Center Wavelength

Comparison of a SOA to a standard Fabry-Perot Laser Diode

Semiconductor and Booster Optical Amplifiers (SOAs and BOAs) are similar in design to Fabry-Perot Laser Diodes, the difference being that Fabry-Perot laser diodes have reflective coatings on both end faces of the semiconductor chip (see the diagrams to the right). The optical feedback from the end faces establishes a cavity in which lasing can occur. SOAs and BOAs have an anti-reflection (AR) coating on both end faces of the semiconductor chip. The AR coatings limit the optical feedback into the chip so that lasing does not occur.

As is typical for all amplifiers, SOA/BOAs operate in two regimes: a linear, flat, constant gain regime and a non-linear, saturated output regime (see the plot below). When used to amplify a modulated signal, the linear regime is typically used to eliminate pattern-dependent distortion, multi-channel cross-talk and transient response issues common to EDFAs. The non-linear regime is used to take advantage of the highly non-linear attributes of the semiconductor gain medium (cross-gain modulation, cross phase modulation) to perform wavelength conversion, optical 3R regeneration, header recognition, and other high-speed optical signal processing functions.

For a CW input signal, the amount of power that can be produced by the amplifier is determined by the saturation output power (Psat) parameter. Psat is defined as the output power at which the small-signal gain has been compressed by 3 dB. The maximum amount of CW power that can be extracted is approximately 3 dB higher than the saturation power.

SOA Linear verse Non-linear Regimes

Modulation Input

BNC Female

BNC Female

0 to 5 V at up to 250 kHz

Computer Connection

USB Type B

USB Type B

USB Type A to Type B Cable Included


2.5 mm Mono Phono Jack

Interlock Connector

Connector must be shorted in order for device to be in the "ON" state.

S7FC1013S Software

Version 1.2.0

Software package to operate Thorlabs' S7FC1013S Semiconductor Optical Amplifier, including a GUI, drivers, and LabVIEW/C++ SDK for secondary development.

Software Download

Posted Comments:
ZHANG Luan  (posted 2021-02-13 10:08:41.907)
I am using S7FC1013S (Polarization Insensitive 1528 to 1562 nm). The operating wavelength is 1550 nm. Why does the screen display 1500 nm instead of 1550 nm? Is it right? Is it normal?
ZHANG Luan  (posted 2021-02-03 18:45:02.847)
Hi, Thanks a lot for reading this message. We bought this SOA recently. I wonder if is can be used bidirectionally. Can I put the light into the output port and get the amplified light at the input port? According to the datasheet, there are no isolators inside the SOA. I should be most grateful if you would reply to me. All my best, Luan
YLohia  (posted 2021-02-03 11:22:42.0)
Hello Luan, thank you for contacting Thorlabs. The SOA is built with a symmetric structure so they can be used bidirectionally. If it is operated backwards, the gain will stay the same, but saturation power and noise figure will be different (if coupling efficiency of input and output fibers are different, which can be true in practice).
Gong-Ru Lin  (posted 2020-01-08 21:02:16.883)
Dear Sales Engineering, Can you provide the same unit with SMF package? Such as S9FC1132S (polarization independent). Gong-Ru Lin
asundararaj  (posted 2020-01-10 04:49:58.0)
Thank you for contacting Thorlabs. While we may be able to offer a single mode fiber version of the S9FC1132P as a custom, an alternative would be to use the BOA1132S with the CLD1015. This is usually a preferred option since the polarization in the single mode fiber is sensitive to stresses, vibrations, and changes in temperature. In this case, the fiber itself is accessible when using the CLD1015 for any manipulation for polarization using the fiber polarization controllers.
wtxqgg  (posted 2016-10-10 03:34:28.363)
What will happen when it is used for a transform limited pulse@1310 nm. The width of the pulse is about 50fs. Will the pulse get wider or get chirped?
jlow  (posted 2016-10-13 05:02:26.0)
Response from Jeremy at Thorlabs: The SOA/BOA would not be able to amplify a short pulse like this without distorting the waveform.
sears  (posted 2015-10-06 09:55:01.81)
Can I specify a center wavelength at the short wavelength end (1530nm) given in the specs? I will be using this to amplify an ECDL and I want decent power (20mW +) out to 1500 nm if possible with seeding at 1 mW or so. Thanks, Trevor
besembeson  (posted 2015-10-13 09:33:01.0)
Response from Bweh at Thorlabs USA: I will follow-up regarding this special version.
scw52  (posted 2015-07-27 17:41:40.163)
Hi, we are using the S9FC1004P optical amplifier (OA) in a fibre-based Mach Zender interferometer, along with your fibres (P1-1550PM-FC-1) and phase modulators (LN65S-FC) to vary the path length. I have found that feeding the OA output into the interferometer gives interference fringes, even if no input light source is used (i.e. when we are just amplifying noise); the coherence length of the light produced is about 0.1mm. What's more, if we connect a loose optical fibre to the OA input - still with no input light source - the signal is amplified by a factor 10, and the coherence length increases by a factor 10 (approx.). In both cases the maximum fringe contrast (Imax-Imin)/(Imax+Imin) is about 0.9, so these are very prominent fringes. We are wondering if you know what is causing this effect (presumably the noise amplified has a temporal coherence determined by the amplifier medium's spontaneous decays), particulaly what is happening when we connect a loose fibre. Please feel free to contact me directly to discuss/clarify this. Many thanks, Sid Wright
besembeson  (posted 2015-08-21 03:03:37.0)
Response from Bweh at Thorlabs USA: I will be contacting you by email.
vishalsaxena  (posted 2015-03-13 10:34:10.34)
Hi, I am looking for an optical amplifier for our silicon photonics setup. We work with TE polarization type waveguides. I am trying to decide between polarization maintaining or polarization insensitive optical amplifiers. Are there selective to one polarization? Do they change the polarization of the output light? Thanks
jlow  (posted 2015-03-24 03:45:54.0)
Response from Jeremy at Thorlabs: The SOA series will amplify both polarization states whereas the BOA series will amplify only one polarization state. The advantage of the BOA series is the higher gain achievable. The selection of this will depend on your exact application and how you plan on using them. I will contact you directly to discuss about this further.
mark.childers  (posted 2013-12-18 15:00:07.077)
You list a possible center wavelength at 1500. I am trying to figure out if this product S7F1013S can amplify 1510, and what would be the saturation output power. Could you tell me?
jlow  (posted 2013-12-19 12:31:34.0)
Response from Jeremy at Thorlabs: We guarantee at least 12dBm (14dBm typical) saturation output power for the SOA1013S (the SOA inside the S7FC1013S) over the full range of 1528-1562nm. The saturation output power will be lower at 1510nm; we estimate around 11dBm. The 1500nm number is the center of the ASE curve but the gain curve is typically shifted some to longer wavelengths.

Polarization Insensitive Semiconductor Optical Amplifier (SOA)

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available
S7FC1013S Support Documentation
S7FC1013SSemiconductor Optical Amplifier, 1528 - 1562 nm, Polarization Insensitive

Polarization Maintaining Booster Optical Amplifiers (BOAs)

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available
S9FC1137P Support Documentation
S9FC1137PBooster Optical Amplifier, 1030 - 1070 nm, Polarization Maintaining
S9FC1132P Support Documentation
S9FC1132PBooster Optical Amplifier, 1290 - 1315 nm, Polarization Maintaining
S9FC1004P Support Documentation
S9FC1004PBooster Optical Amplifier, 1530 - 1570 nm, Polarization Maintaining
S9FC1080P Support Documentation
S9FC1080PBooster Optical Amplifier, 1570 - 1610 nm, Polarization Maintaining
S9FC1082P Support Documentation
S9FC1082PBooster Optical Amplifier, 1600 - 1650 nm, Polarization Maintaining
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