Commercial Tunable Low Cost Laser for WDM

Period of Performance: 09/20/1996 - 09/20/1998


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Sdl, Inc.
80 Rose Orchard Way
San Jose, CA 95134
Principal Investigator


SDL proposes to develop a new generation of sources for wavelength division multiplexed (WDM ) optical communications. The sources consist of arrays of high-power distributed feedback (DFB) lasers that are efficiently coupled on a single chip to one port for single-mode optical fiber coupling. The proposed approach will aviod the serious pitfalls associated with the commonly adopted strategy of using on-chip optical amplifiers for power boosting, instead incorporating SDL's high-power oscillators and an efficient multi-mode interference power combiner. Furthermore, the proposed source will incorporate a laser structure specificallly designed for improved precision of wavelength alignment to channel allocations in WDM systems, one of the most challenging barriers to the practical application of array technologies to WDM sources. In Phase I of the program, SDL developed high-power single-mode DFB lasers with very stable spectral characteristics. Compared to conventional DFB lasers, the SDL lasers provide much greater power and are less sensitive in operating wavelength to fabrication inaccuracies. This laser has already been successfully commercially offered as a high-power single wavelenth source for CATV links. SDL will extend this technology in Phase II to WDM digital systems. The SDL array WDM source will be more robust and manufacturable than previous research demonstrations that suffered from low power, low yield due to wavelength inaccuracy, and serious, unaddressed difficulties in system control due to unmonitored booster amplifier degradation. The choice and design of components in the SDL source are expected to improve both the perfomance and manufacturability of WDM sources.