Erbium-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA) is the first successful optical amplifier invented by the UK Southampton University and JP Tohoku University. It is one of the greatest invention in optical communication. Erbium-doped optical fiber is incorporated a small amount of a rare earth element erbium (Er) ion. It is the core of the EDFA. From the late 1980s, the EDFA research has been making a major breakthrough continuously. As WDM technology greatly increases the capacity of optical communication, it becomes the most widely used optical amplifier device in the optical fiber communication.
EDFA is constituted by a period of erbium-doped fiber (about 10-30m) and pump light source. The stimulated emission of erbium-doped fiber under the action of the pump light source (wavelength 980nm or 1480nm), and the radiation of light varies with the change of the input optical signal, which is equivalent to the input optical signal the amplification. Studies have shown that the erbium-doped fiber amplifiers are typically 15-40dB of gain can be obtained, and the distance relay can be increased on the basis of the original more than 100km. So, why did scientists use erbium-doped fiber element to increase the intensity of light? We know that erbium is a kind of rare earth elements, and rare earth elements has its special structural features. Over the years, people have been using the method which doped rare earth elements in optical devices to improve the performance of optics, so this is not an accidental factor. In addition, why is the pump source wavelength chosen from 980nm or 1480nm? In fact, the pumping light source wavelength could be 520 nm, 650nm, 980nm and 1480nm. But the practice has proved that the 1480nm wavelength pumping light source laser efficiency is the highest, followed by the 980nm wavelength.
The main advantage of EDFA is a high gain, wide bandwidth, high output power, high pumping efficiency, low insertion loss, and not sensitive to the polarization state.
When EDFA is used in conventional optical digital communication system applications, we can save a lot of optical repeaters, and the distance relay could also be increased significantly, which is of great significance for the long-haul fiber optic cable trunking systems.
The main applications include: