Long distance dispersion managed soliton transmission experiments
This thesis presents results of transmission experiments using optical solitons in a dispersion managed optical fibre recirculating loop. The basic concepts of pulse propagation in optical fibre are introduced before optical solitons and their use in optically amplified fibre systems are discussed. The role of dispersion management in such systems is then considered. The design, operation and limitations of the recirculating loop and soliton sources which were used and the experimental techniques are described before the experimental work is presented. The experimental work covers a number of areas all of which used dispersion management of the transmission line. A novel ultra-long distance propagation scheme which achieved low timing jitter by suppression of the amplifier noise and by working close to the zero dispersion wavelength has been discovered. The use of fibre Bragg gratings as wavelength filters to suppress noise and reduce timing jitter has been investigated. The performance of the fibre grating compared favourably with that of a bulk device and was in good agreement with theoretical predictions. The upgrade of existing standard fibre systems to higher bit rates is currently an important issue. The possibility of using solitons with dispersion compensation to allow an increase in data rate of existing standard fibre systems to 10Gbit/s over 5000km has been demonstrated. The applicability of this technique to longer distances, higher bit rates or longer amplifier spans is also investigated by optimisation of the dispersion management scheme. The use of fibre Bragg gratings as the dispersion compensating elements in such standard fibre transmission experiments has been examined and the main problem that these devices currently have, high polarisation mode dispersion, is discussed. The likely future direction of optical communications and what part solitons and dispersion management will play in this development is discussed in the thesis conclusions.