Statistical noise properties of an optical pulse propagating in a nonlinear semiconductor optical amplifier

Alberto Bilenca, Gadi Eisenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We present a theoretical analysis and an experimental study of the statistical properties of the noise accompanying an optical pulse propagating in a nonlinear semiconductor optical amplifier. Several degrees of gain saturation corresponding to different levels of optical signal-to-noise ratios (OSNRs) are examined. We employ the Heun numerical procedure to ensure proper convergence to the Stratonovich solution of the multiplicative propagation equation. This algorithm takes also into account the effect of gain saturation due to the amplified spontaneous emission noise. Moreover, the multicanonical Monte Carlo algorithm is used to efficiently calculate the probability density functions (pdfs), including the tails, of the peak of a pulse which emerges at the output of a saturated semiconductor optical amplifier. The results are compared to the corresponding pdfs obtained in a linear amplification system (where the optical noise is additive and Gaussian) having the same gain and under identical OSNR levels. We demonstrate that the pdf of the saturated amplifier is shifted toward lower power levels and is narrower, or equivalently, the mean and variance for the saturated amplifier case are smaller. Also, the difference between the two configurations increases with the degree of gain saturation. The theoretical predictions are confirmed by a series of experiments in which the pdfs at the output of the linear amplification scheme and saturated semiconductor optical amplifier are measured for an optical pulse of ∼ 70-ps duration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-44
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Noise
  • Optical pulses
  • Semiconductor optical amplifiers
  • Statistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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