Coherent Optical Receiver with Widely Tunable Local Oscillator Laser (2007)

Christoph Wree, Dan Mohr, Don Becker, Abhay Joshi
Discovery Semiconductors, Inc.
119 Silvia Street
Ewing, New Jersey, 08628, USA


Recently, there has been a renewed interest in coherent optical detection. The reasons for this are: a) coherent optical receivers achieve high receiver sensitivities; b) multilevel modulation formats can be detected very efficiently; c) optical WDM systems with high spectral efficiency can be implemented; and d) preservation of the optical phase allows electrical equalizers to efficiently compensate optical channel impairments. These advantages of coherent optical detection over direct detection can be used to overcome some of the obstacles that limit the data capacity and the reach of current direct detection systems, both fiber and free-space based.

The essential part of the coherent optical receiver is the optical local oscillator (LO) laser. It has to provide a high optical output power with low linewidth and low relative intensity noise (RIN). With a widely tunable LO laser a frequency-agile receiver can be constructed.

To determine the best candidates for tunable LO lasers, different laser technologies are discussed in terms of output power, power variation, electrical power dissipation, switching time, control leads, package dimensions, tuning range, linewidth and RIN.

A heterodyne receiver to detect 2.5 Gb/s and 10 Gb/s signals has been implemented with a standard distributed feed back (DFB) laser. Upgrades of the coherent receiver with a widely tunable LO will be presented. Experimental comparison of the LO lasers and their impact on the receiver sensitivity will be shown.

* Paper presented at Defense and Security Symposium, Orlando, Florida, USA, 2007, Proc. SPIE Vol. 6572.

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