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Introduction to Semiconductor Optical Amplifier (SOA)

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Optical amplifier, with the introduction in 1990s, conquered the regenerator technology and opened doors to the WDM technology. It is mainly used to amplify an optical signal directly, without the need to first convert it to an electrical signal. There are many types of optical amplifiers, namely Raman amplifiers, erbium doped-fiber amplifiers (EDFAs), and semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA). This article will make a clearer introduction to SOA amplifier, and analyze its advantages and disadvantages. The Basics of Semiconductor Optical Amplifier (SOA) SOA optical amplifiers use the semiconductor as the gain medium, which are designed to be used in general applications to increase optical launch power to compensate for loss of other optical devices. Semiconductor optical amplifiers are often adopted in telecommunication systems in the form of fiber-pigtailed components, operating at signal wavelengths between 0.85 µm and 1.6 µm and generating gains of up to 30 dB. Semiconductor optic…