We present a novel optical bit-pattern-recognition technique that uses erbium-doped fiber at room temperature. Counterpropagating beams write a patterned gain-depletion grating in pumped erbium-doped fiber. This grating, recorded in the erbium gain medium, can be used for correlation with other optical bit patterns. We have demonstrated correlation of arbitrary return-to-zero bit patterns of as many as 8 bits at . Theory suggests that scaling to higher bit rates is feasible.
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