Digital Compensation of Transmission Impairments in Multi-Subcarrier Fiber Optic Transmission Systems
University of Kansas
Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
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Time and again, fiber optic medium has proved to be the best means for transporting global data traffic which is following an exponential growth trajectory. Rapid development of high bandwidth applications since the past decade based on cloud, virtual reality, 5G and big data to name a few have resulted in a sudden surge of research activities across the globe to maximize effective utilization of available fiber bandwidth which until then was supporting low speed (< 10Gbps) services. To this end, higher order modulation formats together with multicarrier super channel based fiber optic transmission systems have proved to enhance spectral efficiency and achieve multi tera-bit per second bit rates. However, spectrally efficient systems are extremely sensitive to transmission impairments stemming from both optical devices and fiber itself. Therefore, such systems mandate the use of robust digital signal processing (DSP) to compensate and/or mitigate the undesired artifacts. The central theme of this research is to propose and validate few efficient DSP techniques to compensate specific impairments as delineated in the next three paragraphs. For short reach data center and passive optical network related applications which adopt direct detection, a single optical amplifier is generally used to meet the power budget requirements in order to achieve the desired receiver sensitivity or bit error ratio (BER). Semiconductor Optical Amplifier (SOA) with its small form factor is a low-cost power booster that can be designed to operate in any desired wavelength and more importantly can be integrated with other electro-optic components. However, saturated SOAs exhibit nonlinear amplification that introduce distortions on the amplified signal. Alongside SOA, the photodiode also introduces nonlinear mixing among the signal subcarriers in the form of Signal-Signal Beat Interference (SSBI). In this research, we study the impact of SOA nonlinearity on the effectiveness of SSBI compensation in a direct detection OFDM based transmission system. We experimentally demonstrate a digital compensation technique to undo the SOA nonlinearity effect by digitally backpropagating the received signal through a virtual SOA with inverse gain characteristics, thereby effectively eliminating the SSBI. With respect to transmission sources, laser technology has made some significant strides especially in the domain of multiwavelength sources such as quantum dot passive mode-locked laser (QD-PMLL) based optical frequency combs. In the present research work, we characterize the phase dynamics of comb lines from a QD-PMLL based on a novel multiheterodyne coherent detection technique. The inherently broad linewidth of comb lines which is on the order of tens of MHz make it difficult for conventional digital phase noise compensation algorithms to track the large phase noise especially for low baud rate subcarriers using higher cardinality modulation formats. In the context of multi-subcarrier, Nyquist pulse shaped, superchannel transmission system with coherent detection, we demonstrate through measurements and numerical simulations an efficient phase noise compensation technique called “Digital Mixing” that operates using a shared pilot tone exploiting mutual phase coherence among the comb lines. For QPSK and 16 QAM modulation formats, digital mixing provided significant improvement in BER performance in comparison to conventional phase tracking algorithms. Coherent solutions for regional and long haul systems make use of in-line optical amplifiers to compensate fiber loss. Ideally, distributed amplification based on stimulated Raman effect offers enhanced optical signal to noise ratios (OSNR) compared to lumped amplification using erbium doped fiber amplifiers and semiconductor optical amplifiers. However, this benefit of enhanced OSNRs in distributed Raman amplification is offset by the transfer of intensity noise of pump laser on to both signal’s phase and intensity, resulting in performance degradation. In this work, we propose and experimentally validate a practical pilot aided relative phase noise compensation technique for forward pumped distributed Raman amplified, digital subcarrier multiplexed coherent transmission systems.
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