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POWER LIMITATIONS
DUE TO FOUR-WAVE MIXING DEPLETION
IN WDM SYSTEMS WITH UNEQUALLY SPACED CHANNELS
Fabrizio Forghieri Robert W. Tkach Andrew R. Chraplyvy
Universitk di Parma AT&T Bell Laboratories AT&T Bell Laboratories
Dip. di Ing. dell'hformazione Crawford Hill Laboratory Crawford Hill Laboratory
1-43100 Parma, Italy Holmdel, NJ 07733 Holmdel, NJ 07733
Very high capacity long-haul optical com- If amplifiers with gain G =exp(-d) are
munication systems can be designed by using inserted after each of N fiber segment of length
erbium-doped fiber amplifiers, wavelength divi- I, the power of channel i at the receiver can be
sion multiplexing (WDM) and dispersion-shifted found to be
fiber. The use of dispersion-shifted fiber allows
higher bit-rates, but enhances the efficiency of
Pi(NI) =Pi(O) - e"'Pij~(N~) ,
four-wavc milcing (FWM) wave generation by re-
ducing the phase-mismatch naturally provided
by the fiber dispersion [l], thus causing FWM to
become the dominant nonlinear effect [2].
FWM is a nonlinear process in which three
waves of frequencies f i , fj, and f b (k #i, j) in-
teract through the third-order electric suscepti-
bility of the optical fiber to generate a wave of
frequency f i j b =fi +fj - f b [3].
In this process power is transferred (in ap-
proximately equal amount) from channels i and
j to channel k and to the FWM wave at f i j b,
causing depletion of channels i and j. The power
lost by channel i can be computed by adding the
power that has been transferred at frequency f i j b
at the end of the fiber to the power lost by the
FWM wave during propagation.
Denoting with P; j b( z ) the power of the
FWM wave at the point z in the fiber, the power
of channel i, Bi(z), is given by
where a is the fiber loss coefficient. The first
term on the right side is due to fiber loss, the
remaining two represent the power loss due to
FWM. The differential equation yields
This approach can be extented to the case
in which optical amplifiers are employed through
the transmission line to compensate fiber loss, by
writing a differential equation for each fiber path
between amplifiers.
where the initial condition Pi . b(o) =0 has been
used. The relative power depiction of channel i
due to the generation of the FWM wave at f i j b
is therefore given by
If D; is small, as it should be if a large eye
opening is desired, P i j b ( N I ) can be computed
in the usual undepleted-pump approximation,
thus slightly overestimating the power transfer.
An expression for pi j h( ( N1) can be found in [4,
In a WDM system, nine new optical waves
are generated through FWM for each choice of
three channels [2], therefore, even with only ten
channels, hundreds of FWM waves are generated
by FWM. If some of them have the same fre-
quency, their build-up is affected by their beat-
ing. For example, if two F W M waves with same
frequency but opposite phase are generated from
Merent triplets of channels, they cancel each
other, so that there is no power transfer at all.
In WDM systems with equally spaced chan-
nels, all the waves generated by FWM inside the
bandwidth of the system fall precisely at one of
the channel frequencies [5], [6]. This effect can be
avoided by using unequal channel separations. A
design methodology of the channel spacings has
been presented in [7], by which no FWM waves
are generated at any channel frequency. This
result is obtained by choosing the frequency se-
paration of any two channels different from that
of m y other pair of channels.
eq. (11)l.
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With this optimum choice of channel separa-
tions the FWM waves are generated at frequen-
cies evenly distributed between channels, only a
few of them for each frequency. The few FWM
waves that are generated at the same frequency
usually have very different phase-mismatch, so
that the one with lower phase-mismatch will dom-
inate. For this reason, in the unequal channel
spacing case, the power depletion of each chan-
nel can be evaluated by considering the F W M
waves with higher efficiency that that channel
contributes to generate, and just add the deple-
tion relative to each one of them. This is correct
if the FWM waves considered are generated at
different frequencies and are the dominant ones
at their frequency. Also note that to get maxi-
mum depletions of a channel, onl y the signals in
that channel and in the channels involved in gen-
erating the dominant FWM waves need to be at
1. If the dominant FWM waves are only a few,
this is an event with high probability, even if the
number of channels is very high.
As an example, the power depletion has been
computed with this method for the system re-
ported in [7]. It is a 500 km long, 10 channel
WDM system with 10 Gb/s per channel, with
amplifiers spaced by 50 km using dispersion-
shifted fiber with second order dispersion 0.08
ps/nm2/ktn. The channels are unequally spaced,
with minimum separation of 1 nm. nom the
power depletion D, the eye aperture of each chan-
nel has been computed as 1 - D 12.
Peakpower (mW)
Fig. 1. Eye aperture of the worst channel vs. input
peak power per channel. (-) Depletion limit and (*)
simulations with unequal spacing. ( 0 ) Simulations
for equal spacing.
The eye aperture of the worst case channel
is shown versus input power in Fig. 1, where
simulation results are also given, denoted with
stars. Simulation for the equal channel sp&g
are reported as reference with circles. The lower
eye aperture shown by the simulations for low
input power might be due to linear distortion
of the pulses or to interactions with the FWM
waves generated at fiequendes near the channel
frequencies, that partially overlap with the chan-
nels. When the input power increases, depletion
due to FWM starts to dominate. At high deple-
tion levels, the variation of the channel power
should be considered when computing Pijb(z),
therefore the theoretical result is less accurate
provides a lower bound of the eye aperture.
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