In this Letter, we present a comprehensive comparison of the performance of a zirconia-based erbium-doped fiber amplifier (Zr-EDFA) and a bismuth-based erbium-doped fiber amplifier (Bi-EDFA). The experimental results reveal that a Zr-EDFA can achieve comparable performance to the conventional Bi-EDFA for C-band and L-band operations. With a combination of both Zr and Al, we could achieve a high erbium-doping concentration of about (parts per million) in the glass host without any phase separations of rare earths. The Zr-based erbium-doped fiber (Zr-EDF) was fabricated using in a ternary glass host, zirconia–yttria–aluminum codoped silica fiber through a solution-doping technique along with modified chemical vapor deposition. At a high input signal of , a flat gain at average value of is obtained with a gain variation of less than within the wavelength region of and using of Zr-EDF and pump power. The noise figures are less than 9.2 at this wavelength region. It was found that a Zr-EDFA can achieve even better flat-gain value and bandwidth as well as lower noise figure than the conventional Bi-EDFA.
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