We compare the output spectra and data streams of a conventional 1550-nm semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA) with its gain-clamped (GCSOA) counterpart, in order to assess the impact of gain clamping on cross-gain modulation (XGM) and difference frequency generation (DFG). Whereas the conventional SOA exhibits a large amount of crosstalk due to XGM, there is virtually no XGM present in the GCSOA. However, the XGM effect in the SOA shows evidence of diminished efficiency at moderate input levels. We observe much higher DFG levels from the GCSOA (roughly 10 dB greater than the SOA). These DFG levels are such that cascaded wavelength cross-connect devices, in-line amplifiers,and even optical gates could experience inhibited performance.


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