We consider the combined effects of amplified spontaneous emission noise, optical Kerr nonlinearity, and chromatic dispersion on phase noise in an optical communication system. The effect of amplified spontaneous emission noise and Kerr nonlinearity were considered previously by Gordon and Mollenauer [Opt. Lett. 15, 1351 (1990)], and the effect of nonlinearity was found to be severe. We investigate the effect of chromatic dispersion on phase noise and show that it can either enhance or suppress the nonlinear noise amplification. For large absolute values of dispersion the nonlinear effect is suppressed, and the phase noise is reduced to its linear value. For a range of negative values of dispersion, however, nonlinear phase noise is enhanced and exhibits a maximum related to the modulation instability found in amplitude fluctuations. Nonlinear phase noise is quenched by these effects even in dispersion-compensated systems; the degree of suppression is sensitively dependent on the dispersion map. We demonstrate these results analytically with a simple linearized model.
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