The trend in long-haul lightwave communications is toward higher information capacity and longer repeaterless spans. The former entails high bit rates and wavelength multiplexing, while the latter requires maximum transmitter power and higher receiver sensitivity. In both cases, the ultimate limitations in lightwave transmission are nonlinear optical interactions between the optical waves and the transmission medium, the optical fiber. These optical nonlinearities can lead to severe signal distortion and fading. Until recently, the whole area of optical nonlinearities in fibers has been viewed by systems engineers as a curiosity which requires large solid-state or gas lasers to generate the nonlinear effects.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

PDF Article