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Furukawa Review No.20

Development of a Variable Optical Attenuator

Kouki Sato, Takuma Aoki, Yasuhiro Watanabe, Yuichiro Oguri, Nobuyuki Shibata, Toshimitsu Nishiwaki, Mizuki Oike, Toshihiko Ota


In response to higher levels of traffic on optical communications networks, wavelength-division multiplexing or WDM--the mainstream system now in use--is developing in two directions: higher data rates and a larger number of channels. The erbium-doped amplifier (EDFA) is an indispensable component of WDM systems, and, in order to provide dynamically flexible gain level adjustment, is often used in combination with variable optical attenuators (VOAs), which have flat wavelength characteristics over a wide band range. This paper reports the development of a VOA able to withstand the 200-mW power produced by high-output EDFAs.

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