Scope of Semiconductor Optical Amplifiers Application Areas

SOAs also refer to semiconductor optical amplifiers that leverage semiconductors as the gain medium to increase the optical launch power. It compensates for the loss of optical power in other optical devices. The SOA is primarily seen in telecommunication systems as Fiber-Pigtailed components. These components operate at signals with wavelengths between 0.85 and 1.6 micrometres (1 micrometer = 0.0000001m).

For compensating the loss, the gains generated by SOA are up to 30dB. These amplifiers are useful in single mode or polarized states to maintain fiber input-output and are ranging anywhere between 1310nm, 1400nm, 1500nm, and 1600nm wavelength.

Scope of Semiconductor Optical Amplifiers Application Areas

What Is Semiconductor Optical Amplifier?

Semiconductor optical amplifiers are essentially laser diodes in which feedback from input and output ports is absent. This is the reason they are also referred to as TWA (Travelling Wave Amplifier). SOA is made up of a combination of 5 parameters that can be used to represent the following:

  1. Gain
  2. Gain Bandwidth
  3. Saturation output power
  4. Noise Figure
  5. Polarization Dependent Gain (PDG)

Thus, an SOA is an optical amplifier that is based on a semiconductor gain medium, without feedback as in laser diodes. The end mirrors, for the reflection, are coated with an anti-reflection coating. Wavelengths can also be tuned to further reduce the end reflectivities.

Application of Semiconductor Optical Amplifier

Since the semiconductor optical amplifiers have special properties such as low power consumption, wavelength flexibility and nonlinearities, it is important in development and optimization of electronic devices. It has major applications in optical reflections and related sectors, let us take a look at some of them:

1. Direct Signal Amplification:

Signal amplification refers to increasing the strength of the signal. Long-distance signal transmission via optical arrangement is prone to power loss, due to constant optical reflection. Semiconductor optical amplifiers help to mitigate these losses and continue the signal by amplifying the signal strength.

2. External Modulation:

SOA works as an efficient modulator. Modulating refers to the process of superimposing the amplitude, frequency, etc., parameters of the wave onto another wave. Thus external modulation is one of the primary applications of semiconductor optical amplifiers. 

3. Optical Pulse Generation and Manipulation:

Any impulse has to be generated in order to be carried via optical reflection. Optical pulse generation can be achieved by SOA and the same can also manipulate the generated wave. Semiconductor optical amplifiers work as an amplifying tool, meaning they can amplify the input signal to ensure continuity.

4. Optical Wireless Communication:

Optical wireless communication systems are the new future of the world. It works on the principle of optical reflection and receiver. The ability of SOA to amplify the signal, helps the generated impulse/signal to be received as an optical reflection by the receiver. The cycle continues thus creating a communication medium.

5. Optical Tests and Measurement Techniques:

Optical tests and measurement techniques act as a driving force for many industries today. And semiconductor optical amplifiers have a very important position in this type of technique due to their speed, flexibility and efficiency. These optical tests and measurement systems bring advancements in applications ranging from industrial production monitoring to forensics and natural sciences.

As we discussed, the semiconductor optical amplifiers with their vital features enhance the signal strength and compensate for the loss of optical power upon reflection. SOA technology is critical in industries and sectors where long-term optical reflection takes place. These work on sets of wavelengths and have a power gain level up 30dB. The above-mentioned give a brief description of semiconductor optical amplifiers and note some of their significant applications.

Inphenix is a US-based company that specializes in lasers and light sources products. The company was established in 1999 and over the years we have managed to manufacture all types of products such as superluminescent diodes, swept light sources, SOA, Driver boards, and more. Contact us to know more about our products.