We present our recent work on high-speed optical interconnects with advanced modulation formats and directly modulated 850 nm VCSELs. Data transmission at nearly 100 Gbps was achieved with 4-PAM. Forward error correction, equalization and preemphasis are also explored. The system aspects of the advanced modulation formats and their impact on the VCSEL requirements are discussed. Requirements on the optical output power, frequency response and the relative intensity noise are discussed. Finally, co-optimization of the VCSELs and VCSEL driver amplifiers in CMOS and InP technologies is discussed.
The first error-free data transmission beyond 1 km of multi-mode fiber at bit-rates exceeding 20 Gb/s is demonstrated
using a high modulation bandwidth, quasi-single mode (SMSR~20 dB) 850 nm VCSEL. A VCSEL with small ~3 μm
aperture shows quasi-single mode operation with a narrow spectral width. The top mirror reflectivity of the VCSEL is
optimized for high speed and high output power by shallow etching. A combination of narrow spectral width and high optical power reduces the effects of fiber dispersion and fiber and connector losses and enables such a long transmission distance at high bit-rates.
We have explored the possibility to extend the data transmission rate for standard 850-nm GaAs-based VCSELs beyond
the 10 Gbit/s limit of today's commercially available directly-modulated devices. By sophisticated tailoring of the design
for high-speed performance we demonstrate that 10 Gb/s is far from the upper limit. For example, the thermal
conductivity of the bottom mirror is improved by the use of binary compounds, and the electrical parasitics are kept at a
minimum by incorporating a large diameter double layered oxide aperture in the design. We also show that the intrinsic
high speed performance is significantly improved by replacing the traditional GaAs QWs with strained InGaAs QWs in
the active region. The best overall performance is achieved for a device with a 9 μm diameter oxide aperture, having in
a threshold current of 0.6 mA, a maximum output power of 9 mW, a thermal resistance of 1.9 °C/mW, and a differential
resistance of 80 Ω. The measured 3dB bandwidth exceeds 20 GHz, and we experimentally demonstrate that the device is
capable of error-free transmission (BER<10<sup>-12</sup>) under direct modulation at a record-high bit-rate of 32 Gb/s over 50 m of
OM3 fiber at room temperature, and at 25 Gb/s over 100 m of OM3 fiber at 85 °C. We also demonstrate transmission at
40 Gb/s over 200 m of OM3+ fiber at room temperature using a subcarrier multiplexing scheme with a spectrally
efficient 16 QAM modulation format. All transmission results were obtained with the VCSEL biased at current densities
between 11-14 kA/cm<sup>2</sup>, which is close to the 10 kA/cm<sup>2</sup> industry benchmark for reliability. Finally, we show that by a
further reduction of the oxide capacitance and by reducing the photon lifetime using a shallow surface etch, a record
bandwidth of 23 GHz for 850 nm VCSELs can be reached.
We demonstrate an all-optical waveform sampling system with simultaneous sub-mW optical signal sensitivity (20 dB SNR) and sub-picosecond temporal resolution over more than 60 nm optical bandwidth. The optical sampling was implemented by four-wave mixing in a 10 m highly nonlinear fiber using a sampling pulse source with a sampling pulse peak power of only 16 W. The sampling performance was evaluated in terms of sensitivity, temporal resolution and optical bandwidth with respect to fiber length, sampling pulse source wavelength offset from the zero-dispersion wavelength of the highly nonlinear fiber, sampling pulse peak power and walk-off due to chromatic dispersion. We also present a summary of the available methods to achieve polarization-independent optical sampling.
We review recent developments of fiber-based optical parametric amplifiers (FOPA). While a theoretical framework based on highly efficient four-wave mixing is provided, emphasis is on applications enabled by the parametric gain including optical sampling, wavelength conversion, and pulse generation. As these amplifiers offer high gain and low noise at arbitrary wavelengths with proper fiber design and pump wavelength allocation, they are also candidate enablers to increase overall WDM system capacities similar to the better-known Raman amplifiers. A comparison with Raman amplifiers is also made and the future outlook of parametric amplifiers is discussed. As this is yet a very new (enabled by the availability of highly nonlinear fiber and inexpensive high power pump lasers) and not fully explored type of amplifier, there is reason to believe that substantial progress may be made in the future, perhaps involving ”holey fibers” to further enhance the nonlinearity and thus the gain.
A 980 nm ridge waveguide pseudomorphic InGaAs/GaAs/AlGaAs single quantum well laser with a maximum single-ended output power of 240 mW from a facet coated device has been fabricated from a graded index separate confinement heterostructure grown by molecular beam epitaxy. The laser oscillates in the fundamental spatial mode, allowing 22% coupling efficiency into a 1.55 micrometers single-mode optical fiber. Life testing at an output power of 30 mW per facet from uncoated devices reveals a superior reliability to GaAs/AlGaAs quantum well lasers but also the need for protective facet coatings for long term reliability at power levels required for pumping Er-doped fiber amplifiers.