Generation of a CW Local Oscillator Signal Using a Stabilized Injection Locked Semiconductor Laser

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In high speed-communications, it is desirable to be able to detect small signals while maintaining a low bit-error rate. Conventional receivers for high-speed fiber optic networks are Amplified Direct Detectors (ADDs) that use erbium-doped fiber amplifiers (EDFAs) before the detector to achieve a suitable sensitivity. In principle, a better method for obtaining the maximum possible signal to noise ratio is through the use of homodyne detection.

The major difficulty in implementing a homodyne detection system is the generation of a suitable local oscillator signal. This local oscillator signal must be at the same frequency as the received data signal, as well as be phase coherent with it. To accomplish this, a variety of synchronization techniques have been explored, including Optical Phase-Lock Loops (OPLL), Optical Injection Locking (OIL) with both Fabry-Perot and DFB lasers, and an Optical Injection Phase-Lock Loop (OIPLL).

For this project I have implemented a method for regenerating a local oscillator from a portion of the received optical signal. This regenerated local oscillator is at the same frequency, and is phase coherent with, the received optical signal. In addition, we show that the injection locking process can be electronically stabilized by using the modulation transfer ratio of the slave laser as a monitor, given either a DFB or Fabry-Perot slave laser. We show that this stabilization technique maintains injection lock (given a locking range of ~1GHz) for laser drift much greater than what is expected in a typical transmission system. In addition, we explore the quality of the output of the slave laser, and analyze its suitability as a local oscillator signal for a homodyne receiver.