We demonstrate an elementary grating-based optical code division multiple access (OCDMA) code generation and recognition system incorporating a nonlinear optical loop mirror (NOLM) within the receiver. We show that the NOLM can act as a nonlinear processing element capable of reducing both the pedestal associated with conventional matched filtering and the width of the associated code-recognition pulse. The pedestal rejection allows for an improved code recognition signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) relative to simple matched filtering alone, and reduced intra-and interchannel interference noise due to code overlap. The system benefits of using the NOLM are experimentally demonstrated under both single-and multiuser operation within a variety of seven-and 63-chip 160-Gchip/s code generation, recognition, and transmission experiments based on the use of bipolar superstructure fiber Bragg grating (SSFBG) coding-decoding pairs. Incorporation of the NOLM is shown to allow error-free penalty-free operation at data rates as high as 2.5 Gb/s under single-user operation, and to provide error-free performance with reduced power penalty in two-user experiments. The narrowed pulse recognition signature offers major advantages in terms of the further all-optical processing of decoded signals, such as code regeneration and recoding.


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