The use of loop mirrors and chirped fibre Bragg gratings in actively-modelocked fibre lasers
The development of an all-optical communications infrastructure requires appropriate optical switching devices and supporting hardware. This thesis presents several novel fibre lasers which are useful pulse sources for high speed optical data processing and communications. They share several attributes in common: flexibility, stability and low-jitter output. They all produce short (picosecond) and are suitable as sources for soliton systems. The lasers are all-fibre systems using erbium-doped fibre for gain, and are actively-modelocked using a dual-wavelength nonlinear optical loop mirror (NOLM) as a modulator. Control over the operating wavelength and intra-cavity dispersion is obtained using a chirped in-fibre Bragg grating. Systems operating both at 76MHz and gigahertz frequencies are presented, the latter using a semiconductor laser amplifier to enhance nonlinear action in the loop mirror. A novel dual-wavelength system in which two linear cavities share a common modulator is presented with results which show that the jitter between the two wavelengths is low enough for use in switching experiments with data rates of up to 130Gbit/s.