Abstract

We have developed a transfer standard for the spectral density of relative intensity noise (RIN) of optical fiber sources near 1550 nm. Amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) from an erbium-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA), when it is optically filtered over a narrow band (<5 nm), yields a stable RIN spectrum that is practically constant to several tens of gigahertz. The RIN is calculated from the power spectral density as measured with a calibrated optical spectrum analyzer. For a typical device it is -110 dB/Hz, with uncertainty ⩽0.12 dB/Hz. The invariance of the RIN under attenuation yields a considerable dynamic range with respect to rf noise levels. Results are compared with those from a second method that uses a distributed-feedback laser (DFB) that has a Poisson-limited RIN. Application of each method to the same RIN measurement system yields frequency-dependent calibration functions that, when they are averaged, differ by ⩽0.2 dB.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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