All-optical data processing is expected to play a major role in future optical communications. The fiber nonlinear optical loop mirror (NOLM) is a valuable tool in optical signal processing applications. This paper presents an overview of our recent advances in developing NOLM-based all-optical processing techniques for application in fiber-optic communications. The use of in-line NOLMs as a general technique for all-optical passive 2R (reamplification, reshaping) regeneration of return-to-zero (RZ) on-off keyed signals in both high-speed, ultralong-distance transmission systems and terrestrial photonic networks is reviewed. In this context, a theoretical model enabling the description of the stable propagation of carrier pulses with periodic all-optical self-regeneration in fiber systems with in-line deployment of nonlinear optical devices is presented. A novel, simple pulse processing scheme using nonlinear broadening in normal dispersion fiber and loop mirror intensity filtering is described, and its employment is demonstrated as an optical decision element at a RZ receiver as well as an in-line device to realize a transmission technique of periodic all-optical RZ-nonreturn-to-zero-like format conversion. The important issue of phase-preserving regeneration of phase-encoded signals is also addressed by presenting a new design of NOLM based on distributed Raman amplification in the loop fiber. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Bibliographical noteInvited review paper
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Optical fiber technology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Boscolo, S, Turitsyn, S & Blow, K, 'Nonlinear loop mirror-based all-optical signal processing in fiber-optic communications', Optical fiber technology, vol 14, no. 4 (2008). DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yofte.2008.01.003
- nonlinear fiber optics
- optical fiber communications
- optical signal processing
- optical regeneration