Abstract

We propose and demonstrate a novel and simple wavelength switchable multi-wavelength erbium-doped fiber (EDF) laser based on polarization-dependent loss (PDL) modulation with cascaded fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs) as the wavelength comb filter. PDL is generated and controlled by different polarization angles between the polarization state of each lasing line and the optical fiber polarizer in the laser cavity. The PDL modulation balances the difference between the total loss and the wavelength-dependent lasing gain. The relations among gain, loss, and laser output power under different PDL conditions are numerically analyzed on the basis of a simplified Giles model in an EDF laser system. Results show that multi-wavelength lasing lines can be built up by properly tuning the PDLs in different wavelengths. The amount of lasing lines can be switched by changing the PDL intensity in a certain wavelength. In an experiment, the PDL in that certain wavelength is modulated by utilizing four polarization controllable elements, each of which includes an FBG and a corresponding polarization controller (PC). One PC is used to control the polarization state of the reflected lasing line on the center wavelength of the FBG. A four-wavelength individually switchable EDF laser system is demonstrated by utilizing this wavelength switchable method, in which the switching operation for the single-, dual-, triple-, and four-wavelength laser output is verified. The experimental results are consistent with the theoretical results. All wavelength switching operations are conveniently controlled by merely adjusting the PCs. This simple structure and flexible wavelength switchable operations show that this multi-wavelength EDF laser has great potential in practical applications.

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