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EE 230: Optical Fiber Communication Lecture 9

Light Sources

From the movie


Warriors of the Net

Conditions for gain (lasing)


E2-E1<Fc-Fv (population inversion)
g(1/L)ln(1/R)+ (net gain)
=2nL/p, p an integer (phase
coherence)

Reflectivity

n 1
R

n 1

Longitudinal mode spacing


2nL
2

Laser Diode Structure and Optical


modes

Conditions for continuous lasing


(steady state)
Net rate of change of density of
conduction band electrons is zero
(injection minus recombination and
depletion)
Net rate of change of density of photons
created is zero (stimulated emission
minus leakage and spontaneous
emission)

Laser Electrical Models


Package Lead Bond wire
Inductance
Inductance
Package Lead
Capacitance

Laser contact
resistance

Laser Pad
Capacitance

Simple large signal model


Use a large signal diode model for the laser
Laser
Junction junction, this neglects the optical resonance

More exactly the laser rate equations can be


implemented in SPICE to give the correct
Assume that the light output is
transient behavior under large signal modula
proportional to the current through the laser junction

Small signal model

(Hitachi)

Steady-state lasing conditions

dN
J
N

b( N N )
dt
2de
N

d
fs N
b N N

dt
P N

Turn-on delay

J Jb

t d N ln
J

J
th

Ip

Input Current
Output Light Signal

Turn on Delay (ns)

Turn-on Delay
Ib=0
Ib=0.5Ith
Ib=0.9Ith

For and applied current pulse of amplitude I p


the turn on delay is given by:

Ip
d th ln

I p Ith

with a bias current Ib applied:

Ip

I p Ib Ith

where th is the delay at threshold (2ns Typ.)

d th ln

To reduce the turn on delay:


Use a low threshold laser and make
Ip large
Bias the laser at or above threshold

Relaxation oscillation
Decays as e-t/2, where

1
b
N
and with a freqency , where

b N th N

J J th

P N J th

Modulation frequency
Difference between optical output at
modulation frequency m and steady-state
output is proportional to

1
2
r

2 2
m

Resonance Frequency
Laser Small Signal Frequency Response=

f02
Photon Density
s(f ) s(0)

Excitation Current i (f ) i (0) f02 f 2 jffd

where

f0
fd

1
2 p estim

gS
1

p
2

g
I Ith =Resonance frequency
p

S
=Damping frequency
2 p

fp= f02

fd2
=Frequency of peak response
4

g=differential gain

S= I Ith

p photon lifetime estim carrier lifetime

Semiconductor lasers
exhibit an inherent second
order response due to energy
sloshing back-and-forth
between excited electrons
and photons
1
gS

Large Signal Transient Response

Effects of current and temperature


Applying a bias current has the same
effect as applying a pump laser;
electrons are promoted to conduction
band. Fc and Fv get farther apart as well
Increasing the temperature creates a
population distribution rather than a
sharp cutoff near the Fermi levels

Fabry Perot Laser Characteristics

(Hitachi Opto Data Book)

Quantum efficiency
Internal quantum efficiency i, photons
emitted per recombination event,
determined empirically to be 0.650.05
for diode lasers
External quantum efficiency e given by
i g th
e
g th

Total quantum efficiency


Equal to emitted optical power divided by
applied electrical power, or he/qV
For GaAs lasers, TQE 50%
For InGaAsP lasers, TQE 20%

Chirping
Current modulation causes both intensity and frequency modulation(chirp)
As the electron density changes the gain (imaginary part of refractive index n i) and the real
part of the refractive index (nr) both change.
The susceptability of a laser to chirping is characterized by the alpha parameter.
n r
N whereNistheelectrondensity.Largeimplieslotsofchirping.
n i
N
P / t
v
f

v(t )
P
j
forP= P 0 Pe j t

4 P
P
2P0
1-3 is expected for only the very best lasers
Chirping gets worse at high frequencies
Relaxation oscillations will produce large dp/dt which leads to large chirping
Damping of relaxation oscillations will reduce chirp
Correctly adjusting the material composition and laser mode volume can reduce

Reflection Sensitivity

Problem

Solution

R. G. F. Baets, University of Ghent, Belgium

Example
A GaInAs diode laser has the following
properties:
Peak wavelength: 1.5337 m
Spacing between peaks: 1.787x10 -3 m
J/Jth=1.2
What are the turn-on delay time, the
cavity length, the threshold electron
density, and the threshold current?

Turn-on delay time

J Jb

t d N ln
J J th
=3.7 ln(1.2/1.2-1) = 6.63 ns

Cavity length


2nL
2

L = (1.5337)2/(2)(3.56)(1.787x10-3)
= 184.9 m

Threshold electron density


n 1
R

n 1

R = 0.3152
g(1/L)ln(1/R)+
gth=1/.01849 ln(1/.3152)+100=162.4 cm-1
From figure, N=1.8x1018 cm-3

Threshold current

dN
J
N

b( N N )
dt
2de
N
J/2de = I/2deLW
Ith=(0.5x10-4)(1.6x10-19)(1.8x1018)(.01849)(4x10-4)/(3.7x10-9)

Ith=29 mA

Laser Diode Structures

Most require multiple growth steps


Thermal cycling is problematic for electronic devices

Laser Reliability and Aging

Power degradation over time

P P0 e

t / D

Lifetime decreases with current density


and junction temperature

Problems with Average Power Feedback


control of Bias

Average
Power

Turn on delay increased


Frequency response decreased

Light

Light

Problem: L-I curves shift with Temperature


and aging

Average
Power

Current

Current

Ideal L-I Characteristic


Laser

Output power, frequency response decreased

L-I Characteristic with temperature


dependent threshold
Monitor Photodiode
-

Light

Data

Average
Power
Current
L-I Characteristic with temperature
dependent threshold and decreased
quantum efficiency

Vref

-5V

Average number of 1s and Os


(the Mark Density) is linearly
related to the average power. If
this duty cycle changes then the
bias point will shift

Light Emitting Diodes

An Introduction to Fiber Optic Systems-John Powers

LED Output Characteristics


Typical Powers
1-10 mW
Typical beam divergence
120 degrees FWHM Surface emitting LEDs
30 degrees FWHM Edge emitting LEDs
Typical wavelength spread
50-60 nm

An Introduction to Fiber Optic Systems-John Powers

Distributed Feedback (DFB) Laser


Structure
Laser of choice for optical
fiber communication
Narrow linewidth, low chirp for direct modulation
Narrow linewidth good stability for external modulation
Integrated with Electro-absorption modulators

Distributed FeedBack (DFB) Laser

Distributed Bragg Reflector(DBR) Laser

As with Avalanche photo-diodes


these structures are challenging enough
to fabricate by themselves without requiring
yield on an electronic technology as well
Hidden advantage: the facet is not as critical
as the reflection is due to the integrated
grating structure

Bragg wavelength for DFB lasers


2n
B
k

m 1 / 2
B
2nL
2
B

Thermal Properties of DFB Lasers

Light output and slope efficiency decrease


at high temperature

Agrawal & Dutta 1986

Wavelength shifts with temperature


The good: Lasers can be temperature tuned for WDM systems
The bad: lasers must be temperature controlled,
a problem for integration

VCSELs
Much shorter cavity length (20x)
Spacing between longitudinal modes
therefore larger by that factor, only one
is active over gain bandwidth of medium
Mirror reflectivity must be higher
Much easier to fabricate
Drive current is higher
Ideal for laser arrays

Choosing between light sources


Diode laser: high optical output, sharp
spectrum, can be modulated up to tens of
GHz, but turn-on delay, T instability, and
sensitivity to back-reflection
LED: longer lifetime and less T sensitive, but
broad spectrum and lower modulation limit
DFB laser: even sharper spectrum but more
complicated to make
MQW laser: less T dependence, low current,
low required bias, even more complicated
VCSEL: single mode and easy fabrication,
best for arrays, but higher current required