Ultrafast all-optical signal processing with modelocked semiconductor lasers

Hisakazu Kurita, Ichiro Ogura, Hiroyuki Yokoyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


The novel application potential of modelocked laser diodes (MLLDs) in ultrafast optical signal processing in addition to coherent optical pulse generation is described. As the most fundamental function of MLLDs, we show that the generation of ultrashort (-2 ps) coherent optical pulses with low timing jitter (<0.5 ps) at precisely controlled wavelen'gth and repetition frequency can be achieved by employing a rigid module configuration for an external-cavity MLLD. We then discuss new aspects of MLLDs which are functions of ultrafast all-optical signal processing such as optical clock extraction and optical gating. All-optical clock extraction is based on the timing synchronization of MLLD output to the injected optical data pulse. When the passive mode-locking frequency of an MLLD is very close to the fundamental clock pulse frequency of optical data, the former frequency is pulled into the latter frequency by optical data injection. We show that same-frequency and subharmonic-frequency optical clock pulses can successfully be extracted from optical data pulses at bit rates of up to 80 Gbit/s with very simple configurations and very low excess timing jitter (<0.1 ps). On the other hand, optical gating is due to absorption saturation and the following picosecond absorption recovery in a saturable absorber (SA) in an MLLD structure incorporating optical gate-pulse amplification. Here, MLLDs are anti-reflection coated and used as traveling wave devices instead of laser oscillators, and small saturation energy (<I pJ) and ultrafast recovery time (<8ps) are demonstrated. By combining all these MLLD functions, we successfully demonstrated an experiment with 40- to 10-Gbit/s all-optical demultiplexing processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-138
Number of pages10
JournalIEICE Transactions on Electronics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1998 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Clock extraction
  • Gate switch
  • Iiltrashort light pulses
  • Modelocking
  • Nonlinear optical effects
  • Semiconductor lasers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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