Abstract

We present the characterization of high extinction ratio ($\varepsilon$) square optical pulses using a photon counting technique, as other techniques only offer a limited range of measurement up to 60 dB. High-$\varepsilon$ pulses are generated by applying a square pulse modulation on sinusoidally modulated optical signals, then inducing self-phase modulation (SPM) using the nonlinear Kerr effect and extracting an SPM-generated sideband. We measured a 10 ns Kerr-generated optical pulse exhibiting a 120.1 dB extinction ratio, originating from a conventional electro-optic modulator delivering a pulse with a 20-dB extinction ratio, by counting the number of photons at the peak and the pedestal of the generated pulse. These proven high-$\varepsilon$ pulses allow for long-range distributed vibration sensing in optical time-domain reflectometry systems and open new horizons in high-Q microring sensors.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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