In this paper, we present an experimental and numerical study of semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA)-based noise suppression and its relevance to high-channel-density spectrum-sliced wavelength-division-multiplexed systems. We show that the improvement in signal quality is accompanied by spectral distortion, which renders it susceptible to deterioration in the presence of subsequent optical filtering. This phenomenon originates from the loss of intensity correlation between spectral components of the SOA output when the signal spectrum is altered. As a consequence, a design tradeoff is introduced between intensity noise and crosstalk in high-channel-density systems. These adverse effects can be overcome by optimized SOA design, resulting in a significant improvement in signal quality.
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