We use an information-theoretic method developed by Neifeld and Lee [J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 25, C31 (2008)] to analyze the performance of a slow-light system. Slow-light is realized in this system via stimulated Brillouin scattering in a -long, room-temperature, highly nonlinear fiber pumped by a laser whose spectrum is tailored and broadened to . We compute the information throughput (IT), which quantifies the fraction of information transferred from the source to the receiver and the information delay (ID), which quantifies the delay of a data stream at which the information transfer is largest, for a range of experimental parameters. We also measure the eye-opening (EO) and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the transmitted data stream and find that they scale in a similar fashion to the information-theoretic method. Our experimental findings are compared to a model of the slow-light system that accounts for all pertinent noise sources in the system as well as data-pulse distortion due to the filtering effect of the SBS process. The agreement between our observations and the predictions of our model is very good. Furthermore, we compare measurements of the IT for an optimal flattop gain profile and for a Gaussian-shaped gain profile. For a given pump-beam power, we find that the optimal profile gives a 36% larger ID and somewhat higher IT compared to the Gaussian profile. Specifically, the optimal (Gaussian) profile produces a fractional slow-light ID of 0.94 (0.69) and an IT of 0.86 (0.86) at a pump-beam power of and a data rate of . Thus, the optimal profile better utilizes the available pump-beam power, which is often a valuable resource in a system design.
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