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Optoelectronics & Communications

Multi-input injection locking in a single-mode Fabry-Pérot laser for all-optical gates

A novel approach to signal processing proves well suited to all-optical logic gates, with associated advantages of energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
19 December 2011, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.1201112.003914

All-optical signal processing has attracted significant interest in recent years due to its higher data rates, reduced electromagnetic interference, crosstalk, heat dissipation, and risk-free short circuiting compared with its electronic counterparts.1 All-optical logic gates are the basic fundamental units of signal processing and computing for modern information and communication systems. Among other technologies, semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOAs) are widely used and have the advantage of compactness and integratability. However, they are expensive and require high driving current of ∼200mA. Fabry-Pérot laser diodes (FP-LDs)—whose threshold is just ∼9mA and cost a few tens of dollars—represent an energy-efficient, cost-effective all-optical alternative to SOAs. In addition, because this scheme uses single-mode (SM) FP-LDs,2 it requires no probe beam, as do SOAs and multi-mode (MM) FP-LDs: see Figure 1(i). Similarly, in Figure 2(ii), the supporting beams alone cannot suppress the dominant mode (λ1) even with two input beams. However, with one major beam and any supporting beam, it becomes possible.

Figure 1. Basic operating principles of (i) Fabry-Pérot laser diode (FP-LD), single-mode (SM) FP-LD, and multi-mode (MM) FP-LD, and (ii) injection locking. λ: Beam wavelength.

Figure 2. Spectrum schematic for (i) multi-input injection locking and (ii) the supporting beam. (iii) Power management for (a) injection locking, (b) multi-input injection locking, and (c) the supporting beam. B: Beam. i: Input beam. PS: Power required for suppression. Pm: Power of major beam. P1, P2: Power of beams 1 and 2. PS1, PS2: Power of supporting beams 1 and 2.

The basic principle of signal processing using FP-LDs is injection locking. This refers to a synchronizing effect that suppresses the dominant mode present in an SMFP-LD when an external beam is injected into any of its side modes: see Figure 1(ii).2,3 Our experiments indicate there is some range of power within which the input beam can be injection-locked, but the dominant mode is not suppressed. Consequently, the power range can be used for multi-input injection locking. The basic idea is to manage the input beams by varying their wavelength detuning and power and then exploit the power range between injection locking and suppression of the dominant mode.4, 5 Figure 2 shows the spectrum schematics and power-management technique. For example, beam 2 alone cannot suppress beam 1, but beams 2 and 3 together can: Figure 2(i).

We used multi-input injection locking to implement a variety of logic gates, including NAND, XNOR, and XOR (see Figure 3). SMFP-LD1 is based on multi-input injection locking, SMFP-LD2 on the supporting beam principle, and SMFP-LD3 on injection locking. One major beam (C) and any of the supporting beams are required to suppress the dominant mode of SMFP-LD2. Polarization controllers minimize the losses on the Mach-Zehnder modulator and pass only transverse electric (TE) polarized light to SMFP-LDs, as injection locking in this scheme occurs only with such light.

Figure 3. Experimental setup for all-optical logic gates using SMFP-LDs. TL: Tunable laser. PC: Polarization controller. PPG: Pulse pattern generator. Mod: Modulator. CO: Coupler. OC: Optical circulator. BPF: Band pass filter. A, B: Input beams. C: NAND gate output. D: Combination of A and B. E: XNOR gate output. F: XOR gate output.

Figure 4. Output of all-optical logic gates. (i) Spectrum domain. (ii) Output waveforms and eye diagram. A, B: Input beams. C: NAND gate output. E: XNOR gate output. F: XOR gate output. ps/div: Picosecond per division.

Figure 4 shows the outputs of each SMFP-LD: C (NAND), E (XNOR), and F (XOR). The 1s and 0s are the states of input and output data that verify the different logic gates. The suppression ratios for all the logic gates are greater than 20dB, which is sufficient to differentiate between logic 0 and logic 1.

The key issue with the approach we have described here is the suppression of the dominant mode with proper adjustment of input beam power at various stages. SMFP-LDs do not need any external probe beams, which means that schemes using SMFP-LDs are efficient and cost-effective compared with other all-optical technologies. The concept can be applied to combinational circuits, computation, optical sensor networks, and automation. We are now working on a combinational circuit and reconfigurable control unit using multi-input injection locking in SMFP-LDs, with potential application in optical computing and signal processing.

Bikash Nakarmi, Yong Hyub Won
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
Daejeon, South Korea

Bikash Nakarmi is currently a PhD candidate in information and communication engineering in the Convergence Optoelectronics Device Engineering Lab at KAIST. His research interests are FP-LD applications for photonic computing and power-efficient optical networks.

Yong Hyub Won received his PhD in electrical engineering from Cornell University, NY (1990), and is currently a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at KAIST. In 2006, he developed a single-mode light source using MMFP-LD and the world's first test bed for optical burst-switching add-drop multiplexing. His current research interests are FP-LD applications, terahertz communication, and next-generation Internet with ultra-low-power saving capability and power-saving-related components.

1. Y. Liu, E. Tangdiongga, Z. Li, H. de Waardt, A. M. J. Koonen, G. D. Khoe, X. Shu, I. Bennion, H. J. S. Dorren, Error-free 320-Gb/s all-optical wavelength conversion using a single semiconductor optical amplifier, J. Lightwave Technol. 25, pp. 103-108, 2007.
2. Y. D. Jeong, Y. H. Won, S. O. Choi, J. H. Yoon, Tunable single-mode Fabry-Pérot laser diode using a built-in external cavity and its modulation characteristics, Opt. Lett. 31, pp. 2586-2587, 2006. doi:10.1364/OL.31.002586
3. R. Lang, Injection locking properties of semiconductor laser, J. Quant. Electron. 18, pp. 976-983, 1982. doi:10.1109/JQE.1982.1071632
4. B. Nakarmi, M. Rakib-Uddin, Y. H. Won, All-optical exclusive-NOR and exclusive-OR logic gate based on multi-input injection locking in single mode Fabry-Pérot laser diode, Opt. Eng. 50, 2011. doi:10.1117/1.3595873
5. B. Nakarmi, M. Rakib-Uddin, Y. H. Won, Realization of all-optical multi-logic functions and a digital adder with input beam power management for multi-input injection locking in a single-mode Fabry-Pérot laser diode, Opt. Express 19, pp. 14121-14129, 2011. doi:10.1364/OE.19.014121