Optical fiber communications applications have clearly acted as the major driving force behind the development of optical amplifiers in general, and fiber amplifiers in particular. However, there exist a number of other applications areas in which optical amplifiers will play a significant role. This paper will discuss the potential role of optical amplifiers in lightwave measurements. In particular, we will focus on how optical amplifiers might be used both to improve existing measurements and to enable new ones. Emphasis will be placed on applications of rare-earth doped fiber amplifiers, which may be particularly useful because of their excellent polarization and noise characteristics.

© 1992 Optical Society of America

PDF Article