A bidirectional data signal input scheme of a semiconductor optical amplifier––Mach–Zehnder interferometer (SOA–MZI) wavelength converter was proposed and experimentally verified for a nonreturn-to-zero (NRZ)-format signal. Theoretical analyses reveal that it is possible to mitigate the patterning effect induced by cross-gain modulation (XGM) by utilizing the difference of the ratio between the XGM and cross-phase modulation on the injection directions of data signals. A hybrid integrated SOA–MZI all-optical wavelength converter, in which the coupling loss between the SOA and the silica waveguide was as small as 1 dB owing to a unique active alignment technique, was used for the experiment. We have verified the superior characteristics of the proposed operation scheme for the first time. Error-free wavelength-conversion operation for an NRZ signal at 40 Gb/s was confirmed.
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