Date: 19 Jan 2007

Fiber-based tunable dispersion compensation

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Tunable dispersion has been implemented in various technology platforms, including fiber gratings, planar waveguides, thin film etalons, and bulk optic technologies. This paper will focus on fiber grating based tunable dispersion compensation, because fiber gratings are at present one of the best developed TDC technologies available. The paper is divided into three parts. In the first part we describe grating based TDC technologies and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. We focus on thermally tuned linearly chirped fiber gratings, as these have to date been the most successful grating technology for 40 Gbit/s. We also compare grating TDCs to two other prominent tunable dispersion technologies: thin film etalons and planar waveguide ring resonators. In the second section we describe the techniques used to fabricate high performance dispersion compensation gratings as well as the theory of the primary defect of fiber grating dispersion compensation: group delay ripple (GDR). In the third section we describe the telecom system related issues for tunable gratings, including characterization of grating performance, tunability requirements and results from actual system trials using tunable FBGs.