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Integrated cladding-pumped multicore few-mode erbium-doped fibre amplifier for space-division-multiplexed communications

Nature Photonics volume 10, pages 529533 (2016) | Download Citation


Space-division multiplexing (SDM), whereby multiple spatial channels in multimode1 and multicore2 optical fibres are used to increase the total transmission capacity per fibre, is being investigated to avert a data capacity crunch3,4 and reduce the cost per transmitted bit. With the number of channels employed in SDM transmission experiments continuing to rise, there is a requirement for integrated SDM components that are scalable. Here, we demonstrate a cladding-pumped SDM erbium-doped fibre amplifier (EDFA) that consists of six uncoupled multimode erbium-doped cores. Each core supports three spatial modes, which enables the EDFA to amplify a total of 18 spatial channels (six cores × three modes) simultaneously with a single pump diode and a complexity similar to a single-mode EDFA. The amplifier delivers >20 dBm total output power per core and <7 dB noise figure over the C-band. This cladding-pumped EDFA enables combined space-division and wavelength-division multiplexed transmission over multiple multimode fibre spans.

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This work was supported in part by the ICT R&D program of MSIP/IITP, Republic of Korea (R0101-15-0071, ‘Research of mode-division-multiplexing optical transmission technology over 10 km multimode fibre’), by the National Basic Research Program of China (973, project no. 2014CB340103/4), by the Canada Research Chair in Advanced Photonics Technologies for Communications (APTEC), by the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Enabling Photonic Innovations for Information and Communications (CERCP) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and by NSFC Projects 61377076, 61307085 and 61335005. The authors acknowledge OFS Labs for the few-mode fibre. The authors also thank R.W. Tkach and P.J. Winzer for support and valuable discussions.

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  1. Nokia Bell Labs, 791 Holmdel Road, Holmdel, New Jersey 07733, USA

    • H. Chen
    • , C. Jin
    • , B. Huang
    • , N. K. Fontaine
    • , R. Ryf
    • , K. Shang
    •  & R.-J. Essiambre
  2. Center for Optics, Photonics and Lasers, Université Laval, Québec G1V0A6, Canada

    • C. Jin
    • , N. Grégoire
    • , S. Morency
    • , Y. Messaddeq
    •  & S. LaRochelle
  3. CREOL, The College of Optics & Photonics, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida 32816, USA

    • B. Huang
    •  & G. Li
  4. The College of Precision Instruments and Opto-electronic Engineering, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China

    • G. Li


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H.C. and C.J. developed the concept. C.J. and S.L. designed the fibre. N.G., S.M. and Y.M. fabricated the fibre. H.C., C.J., B.H. and K.S. conducted the fibre amplifier characterization. H.C. and C.J. conducted the ray tracing simulation. H.C., B.H. and N.K.F. fabricated the fan-in/fan-out. H.C., N.K.F. and R.R. conducted the transmission experiments. H.C. and N.K.F. wrote the manuscript. R.-J.E., G.L., Y.M. and S.L. helped write the article and provided funding.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to H. Chen.

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