Side-pumped monolithic optical amplifier arrays based in erbium-doped phosphate glass

Period of Performance: 05/01/2002 - 11/01/2002

$70K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

NP Photonics, Inc.
9030 South Rita Road Suite 120
Tucson, AZ 85747
Principal Investigator

Abstract

This project will focus on the development of side-pumped, monolithic amplifier and amplifier arrays based on short-length, high gain erbium-doped phosphate glass. The proposal will attempt to bring together two exciting approaches aimed at producing compact, highly functional optical amplifiers with the potential for rapid reduction in the cost per amplifier port. First, we will investigate a novel side-pumping geometry using inexpensive, high power multimode pump laser sources to simultaneously energize an array of erbium-doped active cores. The pumping geometry allows for massive sharing of the pump power over several amplifier ports. It also eliminates the need for the complicated and costly pump-signal wavelength-division multiplexers used in conventional erbium-doped amplifiers. Second, we will explore low cost fiber drawing methods to produce compact, monolithic amplifier array structures. In contrast to other fabrication approaches, fiber drawing technologies support the formation of active core elements with very high erbium and ytterbium doping concentrations, circular cross sections, and dramatically lower per unit cost. The demonstration of side-pumped monolithic amplifier arrays will pave the way for widespread deployment of low-cost, compact amplification throughout a variety of optical communication networks. The side-pumped, monolithic amplifier array device proposed here has the potential to be widely used in optical communication networks, optical processing components and networks, and sensor networks.