We experimentally validate a numerical model to study multimode erbium-doped fiber amplifiers (MM-EDFAs). Using this model, we demonstrate the improved performance achievable in a step index MM-EDFA incorporating a localized erbium doped ring and its potential for Space Division Multiplexed (SDM) transmission. Using a pure LP01 pump beam, which greatly simplifies amplifier construction, accurate modal gain control can be achieved by carefully tuning the thickness of the ring-doped layer in the active fiber and the pump power. In particular, by optimizing the erbium-ring-doped structure and the length of active fiber used, over 20dB gain for both LP01 and LP11 signals with a maximum gain difference of around 2 dB across the C band are predicted for a pure LP01 pump beam delivering 250mW power at 980nm.
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