Optical bistability phenomenon in a single fiber ring laser employing erbium-doped fiber (EDF) as gain medium is observed in our experiment. In the EDF amplifiers, the photons of pump light cannot completely transfer into that of signal light because of various attenuation factors. This part of loss (useless pump loss) and active spontaneous emission (ASE) can both lower the small-signal gain of the EDF, and can eventually result in the bistability phenomenon. The range of this bistability has a complicated relationship with the length of the EDF, the erbium-ion doping concentration, the cavity loss and the useless loss coefficient of the pump light.
© 2007 Optical Society of America
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