For the first time, to the authors' knowledge, distributed parametric amplification (DPA), i.e., the use of a transmission fiber itself for parametric amplification of communication signals is proposed and demonstrated. To account for the inevitable fiber loss, solutions were derived for the distributed amplifier, with either one or two pumps: They are obtained in terms of confluent hypergeometric functions. Low-penalty DPA of a 10-Gb/s nonreturn-to-zero (NRZ) signal over a 75-km dispersion-shifted fiber (DSF), is demonstrated by using only 66.5 mW of pump power. Three adjacent channels have been simultaneously transmitted, with little penalty due to nonlinear crosstalk. It is experimentally verified that DPA requires less pump power than distributed Raman amplification (DRA), for similar power penalties.
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