Abstract

The major drawback of incoherent broadband sources (BBSs) is their inherent intensity noise. Semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOAs) can be exploited at the transmitter to mitigate this noise. Optical filtering at the receiver, however, leads to the return of most of suppressed noise. Wider filtering at the receiver is the best known strategy to maintain performance gains, at the price of reduced spectral efficiency due to the tradeoff between noise cleaning and adjacent channel crosstalk. We introduce a novel balanced receiver for wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) systems that maintains greater noise cleaning and leaves spectral efficiency unchanged. Unlike standard receivers, our balanced scheme does not filter the desired signal. In this paper, we first demonstrate that the newly proposed receiver is equivalent to standard WDM receivers when no SOA for noise cleaning is present at the transmitter. Although a 2.9-dB power penalty is incurred, network capacity is unchanged, i.e., bit error rate (BER) floors due to intensity noise are the same. When SOAs are employed to mitigate severe intensity noise, we show that our receiver outperforms the wide filtering strategy by two orders of magnitude. Dense WDM capacity is demonstrated up to 10 Gb/s using a thermal source, a saturated SOA, and the balanced detection scheme. A BER of $10^{-6}$ is achieved at 10 Gb/s; further improvement is possible using low overhead forward error correction or a better SOA design. This demonstrates the ability of spectrum-sliced wavelength division multiplexing (SS-WDM) passive optical networks (PONs) to operate at 10 Gb/s at good spectral efficiency. Error performance better than $10^{-9}$ is achieved up to 8 Gb/s with 30-GHz optical channel bandwidth and 100-GHz spacing.

© 2009 IEEE

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