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What Are Optical Amplifiers?

Across many optical communication systems, signals are prone to disruption, compromising the data received. In these systems, data is transmitted in the form of light through a fiber cable, and when the signal travels, it is often distorted. As such, an optical amplifier should be used to boost the electrical signal without altering its form. While electronic amplifiers may be used for a similar purpose, optical amplifiers are less time consuming and do not require signal conversion. For all of your optical fiber communication applications, consider integrating one of the following optical amplifiers for a distortionless data signal.

A basic optical communication system comprises a transmitter, a receiver, and a fiber cable for carrying information from one end of the system to the other. The optical amplifier is then placed somewhere between the transmitter and the receiver to boost the signal. The original optical input signal enters the first coupler of the amplifier, where it then causes the excited electrons in the active medium to return to a grounded state, releasing photons in an amplified signal through the second coupler.

There are three placement options for the optical amplifier in an optical communication system between the receiver and the transmitter. Based on their position, each is given a different name. The first of these we will cover is a power amplifier, that of which is an amplifier placed immediately after the transmission unit, working to enhance the signal before it travels through the cable. This option allows for long-distance transmission. Meanwhile, an in-line amplifier unit is placed somewhere along the fiber link to restore a distorted signal; however, it offers medium gain, so multiple in-line amplifiers may be necessary for long distances. Lastly, a pre-amplifier may be placed at the receiving end of the system before the receiver as a means of aiding itr in detecting the signal.

The types of optical amplifiers may also be categorized into one of three types based on their amplification methods: semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOA), doped fiber amplifiers (DFA), and Raman optical amplifiers. The first of these, SOAs, comprise an active medium of alloys that operate well with both O-bands and C-bands. Meanwhile, DFA relies on an active medium formed by lightly doping silica core with rare earth elements. Lastly, Raman amplifiers rely on a method known as Raman scattering.

Prior to optical amplifiers, a popular choice for amplification were electronic amplifiers, those of which required the conversion of optical signals to electrical signals. This also required additional units and slowed the rate of data transmission. Therefore, optical amplifiers have been slowly replacing electrical units to allow for signal transmissions across longer distances without attenuation.

When you are in the market for reliable optical amplifiers and other related parts you can rely on with ease, look no further than AFR Enterprises. We are a leading supplier of such part types, all of which we source reliably from trusted distributors around the globe. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we proudly conduct business with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accreditation, in tandem with a strict No China Sourcing policy. This ensures that all items in our inventory of over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find parts are vetted for fit and function before they are shipped to you alongside their applicable manufacturer trace documents. To begin procuring any item that piques your interest, simply submit a Request for Quote (RFQ) form with as much detail as possible. Within 15 minutes of receiving a completed form, a member team of professionals will contact you with a custom quote for your comparisons.


August 19, 2022
February 24, 2022

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