Thin film (TF)-based coupled cavity all-pass filters (CCAP) have the potential for providing compact, low-loss, and highly stable third-order dispersion (TOD) compensation in ultrafast optical fiber transmission systems employing optical time-division multiplexing (OTDM). In this paper, a methodology for designing CCAP filters for TOD compensation is presented. First, we develop a theory necessary for designing the cavity structure, that is, mirror reflectivity and cavity spacing, of CCAP filters. As a next step, we discuss how we can represent such filters as TF devices and demonstrate several TF-layer design examples. Finally, a coupled two-cavity filter is constructed and tested. The filter has a center wavelength that can be varied over a range of 8 nm and can compensate for fiber TOD between 2.0 and 15.5 ps3 over a bandwidth between 3.6 and 1.2 nm, respectively. The peak spectral ripple of the filter is 1.0 dB. The experimentally measured dispersion curves of the filter agree well with the theory.
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