The 40-year history of research on semiconductor lasers for high-speed long-distance optical fiber communications, so-called dynamic single-mode (DSM) lasers, is reviewed. DSM lasers include phase-shift distributed feedback (DFB) lasers, uniform DFB lasers, wavelength tunable (WT) distributed Bragg reflector lasers, WT distributed reflector lasers, and external reflector lasers. The vertical cavity surface emitting laser is also a type of DSM laser that is applied for rather short-distance communication. Photonic-integrated circuits with monolithic integration of DSM lasers with other devices, as well as photonic crystal lasers, have advanced significantly to support stable operation of photonic subsystems. The DSM laser is currently essential for most long-haul optical communications and transoceanic submarine cables, as well as medium-distance local area networks. Its application to sensing systems is another interesting area.
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