Optical amplifier

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An optical amplifier is a device that amplifies an optical signal directly, without the need to first convert it to an electrical signal. An optical amplifier may be thought of as a laser without an optical cavity, or one in which feedback from the cavity is suppressed. Stimulated emission in the amplifier's gain medium causes amplification of incoming light. Optical amplifiers are important in optical communication and laser physics.

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Laser amplifiers

Almost any laser active gain medium can be pumped to produce gain for light at the wavelength of a laser made with the same material as its gain medium. Such amplifiers are commonly used to produce high power laser systems. Special types such as regenerative amplifiers and chirped-pulse amplifiers are used to amplify ultrashort pulses.

Doped fibre amplifiers

Doped fibre amplifiers (DFAs) are optical amplifiers that use a doped optical fibre as a gain medium to amplify an optical signal. They are related to fibre lasers. The signal to be amplified and a pump laser are multiplexed into the doped fibre, and the signal is amplified through interaction with the doping ions. The most common example is the Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifier (EDFA), where the core of a silica fiber is doped with trivalent Erbium ions and can be efficiently pumped with a laser at a wavelength of 980 nm or 1,480 nm, and exhibits gain in the 1,550 nm region.

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