The modulation instability (MI) in optical fiber amplifiers and lasers with anomalous dispersion leads to cw radiation breakup. This can be both a detrimental effect limiting the performance of amplifiers and an underlying physical mechanism in the operation of MI-based devices. Here we revisit the analytical theory of MI in fiber optical amplifiers. The results of the exact theory are compared with the previously used adiabatic approximation model, and the range of applicability of the latter is determined.
© 2010 Optical Society of America
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