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Signal Degradation in Optical Fiber (Attenuation & Dispersion)
Signal Degradation
in
Optical Fiber
(Attenuation & Dispersion)

In this Chapter we are going to discuss,

 In this Chapter we are going to discuss, 1. What are attenuation fiber? the loss

1. What

are

attenuation

fiber?

the

loss

signal

or

mechanisms

in

a

2. Why

to what degree do

optical signals get distorted as they propagate along a fiber?

and

Signal Attenuation: ( fiber power loss or signal loss )

It is among the most important properties of an optical fiber, it largely determines the maximum unamplified or repeater less

separation between a transmitter and a receiver.

(How Far?)

separation between a transmitter and a receiver. (How Far?) Signal Distortion Mechanisms:  These makes optical

Signal Distortion Mechanisms:

These makes optical signal pulses to broaden as they travel along a fiber.

The signal distortion mechanisms thus limit

the information-carrying capacity of a fiber.

(How Fast?)

Transmission Effects/Channel Impairments:  Linear effects : Power independent effects . • Attenuation and

Transmission Effects/Channel Impairments:

Linear effects : Power independent effects .

Attenuation and dispersion

Nonlinear effects : Power dependent effects .

Parametric & Scattering effects

:: NONLINEAR SCATTERING ::
:: NONLINEAR SCATTERING ::
DWDM
DWDM

Interaction of light waves with phonons in the silica medium.

Energy gets transferred from lower λ1 to higher wavelength λ4.

:: SELF & CROSS PHASE MODULATION ::
:: SELF & CROSS PHASE MODULATION ::
DWDM
DWDM

Phase angle depends on light intensity.

Φ = γ Pin Leff for SPM .

Φ 1= γ (Pin 1 + Pin 2 + Pin 3 ) L eff for CPM/XPM .

:: FOUR WAVE MIXING ::
:: FOUR WAVE MIXING ::
DWDM
DWDM

FWM gives rise to new frequencies .

These signals appear as crosstalk to existing signals .

Effect is higher when ∆λ is less .

FWM increases as CWDM WDM DWDM

Attenuation
Attenuation
:: ATTENUATION ::
:: ATTENUATION ::
DWDM
DWDM

Effect of Attenuation and Noise

Reduces the signal power during transmission .

Limits the Link Length . i . e . How FAR ?

Attenuation (fiber loss):

As light travels along a fiber, light power decreases exponentially with distance.

fiber, light power decreases exponentially with distance . Z= l Z=0 P(0) mW P l (
fiber, light power decreases exponentially with distance . Z= l Z=0 P(0) mW P l (
fiber, light power decreases exponentially with distance . Z= l Z=0 P(0) mW P l (

Z= l

Z=0

P(0) mW

P

l

( )

P

(0)

(

P z

)

P

(0)

e

p

z

e

p

l

mw

P(O) is the optical power in a fiber at the origin (at z = 0),then the

power P(z) at distance z further down the fiber.

The parameter is called fiber attenuation coefficient in a units of for example [1/km] or [nepers /km]. A more common unit is [dB/km] that is defined by:

p

[dB/km]

10

l

log

P (0)

P l

( )

4.343

p

[1/ km]

Fiber loss in dB/km:

Fiber loss in dB/km: z=0 P (0)[dBm] Z = l P ( l )[dBm]  P
Fiber loss in dB/km: z=0 P (0)[dBm] Z = l P ( l )[dBm]  P
Fiber loss in dB/km: z=0 P (0)[dBm] Z = l P ( l )[dBm]  P

z=0

P(0)[dBm]

Z=l

P(l)[dBm] P(0)[dBm][dB/km]l[km] [3- 3]

Where [dBm] or dB milli watt is 10 log (P [mW]).

Basic attenuation mechanisms in a fiber:

Absorption (Intrinsic & Extrinsic)

Scattering ( Linear & Non linear)

Bending losses (Micro bending & Macro bending)

• Bending losses (Micro bending & Macro bending)  Attenuation hence proper selection of operating

Attenuation

hence

proper selection of operating wavelength is

required. (i.e. for specific wavelength, attenuation is fixed)

is

wavelength

dependent

of operating wavelength is required. ( i.e. for specific wavelength, attenuation is fixed) is wavelength dependent

(1) Absorption: (Material Absorption)

Material absorption is a loss mechanism related to the material composition and fiber fabrication process.

This results in the dissipation of some of the transmitted

optical power as heat in the waveguide.

Absorption is classified into two basic categories:

 Absorption is classified into two basic categories: Intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic Absorption:  It is

Intrinsic and extrinsic.

Intrinsic Absorption:

It is caused due to the interaction of free electrons within the fiber material and the light wavelength.

This wavelength spectrum interacts differently with the atoms of the fiber material.

Extrinsic Absorption:

It is mainly due to the impurities injected into the optical fiber mix during the fabrication process.

The metal ions are the most undesirable impurity in an

optical fiber mix because the presence of metal ions influence and alter the transmission properties of the fiber.

of metal ions influence and alter the transmission properties of the fiber.  This results the

This results the loss of optical power.

(2) SCATTERING LOSS:

Scattering loss is the loss associated with the interaction of the light with density fluctuations in the fiber.

of the light with density fluctuations in the fiber.  Small (compared to wavelength) variation in

Small (compared to wavelength) variation in material density, chemical composition, and structural inhomogeneity scatter light in other directions and absorb energy from guided optical wave.

composition, and structural inhomogeneity scatter light in other directions and absorb energy from guided optical wave.

Linear scattering:

Here the amount of optical power transferred from a wave is proportional to the power in the wave. There is no frequency change in the scattered wave.

Rayleigh scattering

Mie Scattering

scattered wave.  Rayleigh scattering  Mie Scattering Rayleigh scattering:  It results from the interaction

Rayleigh scattering:

It results from the interaction of the light with the inhomogeneties in the medium that are one-tenth of the wavelength of the light. Rayleigh scattering in a fiber can be expressed as :

light. Rayleigh scattering in a fiber can be expressed as :  It means that a

It means that a system operating at longer wavelengths have lower intrinsic loss.

Mie Scattering:

If the defects in optical fibers are larger than λ/10 the scattering mechanism is known as 'Mie scattering'.

These large defect sites are developed by the

inhomogeneities in the fiber and are associated with in

complete mixing of waveguide dopants or defects formed in the fabrication process.

dopants or defects formed in the fabrication process.  These defects physically scatter the light out

These defects physically scatter the light out of the fiber core.

Mie

scattering

is

rarely

seen

in

commercially

available silica-based fibers due to the high level of

manufacturing expertise.

Non-linear scattering:

High electric fields within the fiber leads to the non-linear scattering mechanism.

It causes the scattering of significant power in the forward,

backward or sideways depending upon the nature of the

interaction.

or sideways depending upon the nature of the interaction.  This scattering is accomplished by a

This scattering is accomplished by a frequency shift of

the scattered light.

Raman scattering: (forward light scattering or SRS)

It is caused by molecular vibrations of phonons in the

glass matrix.

This scattering is dependent on the temperature of the material.

Brillouin scattering: (backward light scattering or SBS ).

It

is

induced

by

acoustic

waves

as

opposed

to

thermal phonons.

 

Brillouin scattering is a backscatter phenomenon.

 
Brillouin scattering is a backscatter phenomenon.    The importance of SRS and SBS is that

The importance of SRS and SBS is that they can be the limiting factor in high-power system designs.

Raman scattering loss is unaffected by spectral source width but requires at least an order of magnitude more power for onset.

Brillouin scattering loss can be decreased by using a light

source with a broad spectral width. A broad spectral width reduces the light-material interaction.

Absorption & scattering losses in fibers:
Absorption & scattering losses in fibers:
Absorption & scattering losses in fibers:
Typical spectral absorption & scattering attenuations for a single mode-fiber
Typical spectral absorption
&
scattering attenuations for a single mode-fiber

(3) RADIATIVE LOSS (BENDING LOSS):

Radiative

losses

occur

whenever

an

optical

fiber

undergoes a bend of finite radius of curvature.

Fibers

can

be

subjected

to

two

types

of

bends

:

macroscopic bend and the microscopic bend.

Macro bending losses :

bend and the microscopic bend. Macro bending losses :  It occur due to the bends
bend and the microscopic bend. Macro bending losses :  It occur due to the bends

It occur due to the bends of radii larger than the fiber diameter.

These losses are also called 'large-curvature radiation losses'.

For slight bends, the excess loss is extremely small. As the radius of curvature decreases, the loss increases exponentially until a certain critical radius occurs. At this point the macro bend losses are significant.

These losses become extremely large when the bend

crosses the critical/threshold point.

large when the bend crosses the critical/threshold point.  The macro bend losses occur when optical

The macro bend losses occur when optical fibers are packed for transportation to the field of installation

during installation process.

losses occur when optical fibers are packed for transportation to the field of installation during installation

Micro bend losses:

These losses are associated with small perturbations of the fiber, induced by the factors like uneven coating application or cabling induced stresses.

The results of the perturbations is to cause the coupling of propagating modes in the fiber by changing the optical path length. This de stabilisation of the modal distribution causes the lower-order modes to

couple to the higher-order modes which are lossy in nature.

of the modal distribution causes the lower-order modes to couple to the higher-order modes which are
Dispersion
Dispersion
Dispersion in Optical Fibers:  Dispersion: Any phenomenon in which the any wavelength velocity of

Dispersion in Optical Fibers:

Dispersion: Any phenomenon in which the

any

wavelength

velocity

of

propagation

wave

is

of

electromagnetic

dependent.

In communication, dispersion is used to describe any process by which any electromagnetic signal propagating in a physical medium is degraded because the various wave characteristics (i.e., frequencies) of the signal have different propagation velocities within the physical medium.

Signal Distortion in Fiber:

The optical signal that propagates through an optical fiber suffers from distortion (i.e. change in shape). This effect of pulse

broadening in fiber is known as Dispersion.

effect of pulse broadening in fiber is known as Dispersion.  Different frequency components travel at

Different frequency components travel at different velocities in fiber, arriving at different times at the receiver. Broadening of Pulse .

Information Capacity determination:

Information Capacity determination:
Information Capacity determination:
• A measure of information capacity of an optical fiber for digital transmission is usually

A measure of information capacity of an optical fiber for digital transmission

is usually specified by the bandwidth distance product in

GHz.km.

BW L

For multi-mode step index fiber this quantity is about 20 MHz.km, for graded index fiber is about 2.5 GHz.km & for single mode fibers are higher than 10 GHz.km.

Types of Dispersion:

(A) Intermodal dispersion

(B) Intramodal Dispersion:

(i) Material Dispersion

(ii) Waveguide Dispersion

(C) Polarization Mode Dispersion (PMD)

Waveguide Dispersion (C) Polarization Mode Dispersion (PMD)  This to intramodal dispersion and intermodal delay

This

to

intramodal dispersion and intermodal delay effects, which can be explained by the group velocities of the guided modes.

distortion

effects

due

are

'Group velocity' is the speed at which the energy in a particular mode travels along the fiber.

Inter-modal (or) Modal dispersion (or) Group delay:

Pulse broadening due to intermodal dispersion results from the propagation delay differences between the modes within a mu1timode fiber.

The pulse in different modes travel along the channel

with different group velocities.

travel along the channel with different group velocities.  The pulse width at the output depends

The

pulse

width

at

the

output

depends

on

the

transmission times of the slowest and the fastest modes.

This dispersion creates the fundamental difference in the overall dispersion for the different fiber types.

Hence SI multimode fibers exhibit a large amount of

intermodal dispersion giving the greatest pulse broadening.

Inter-modal (or) Modal dispersion (or) Group delay:

The intermodal dispersion in multimode fibers can be minimized by adopting optimum refractive index profile provided by the near parabolic profile of most GI fibers.

So, the overall pulse broadening in multimode GI fibers is less than that of the SI fibers.

in multimode GI fibers is less than that of the SI fibers.  Thus GI fibers

Thus GI fibers used with a multimode source gives a

tremendous bandwidth advantage over multimode SI

fibers.

To eliminate the Intermodal Dispersion SMF is the best solution.

Group Velocity

Wave Velocities:

1- Plane wave velocity: For a plane wave propagating along z-axis in an unbounded homogeneous region of refractive index , which is

n

1

represented by

exp( ω

j

t jk z

1

)

, the velocity of constant phase plane is:

v

k 1

c

c

n

1

[3- 4]

2- Modal wave phase velocity: For a modal wave propagating along z-axis

represented by

v

p

ω

exp( jωt jz)

[3-

5]

, the velocity of constant phase plane is:

3- For transmission system operation, the most important & useful type of

velocity is the group velocity, V . This is the actual velocity which the

g

signal information & energy is traveling down the fiber. It is always less than the speed of light in the medium. The observable delay experiences by

the optical signal waveform & energy, when traveling a length of l along

the fiber is commonly referred to as group delay.

Group Velocity & Group Delay

The group velocity is given by:

V g

d ω

d

The group delay is given by:

g

l

V

g

l

d

dω

[3- 6]

[3- 7]

It is important to note that all above quantities depend both on frequency & the propagation mode.

In order to see the effect of these parameters on group velocity and delay, the following analysis would be helpful.

Input/Output signals in Fiber Transmission

System

The optical signal (complex) waveform at the input of fiber of length l is f(t). The propagation constant of a particular modal wave carrying the signal is (ω). Let us find the output signal waveform g(t).

is theopticalsignal bandwidth.

waveform g(t).   is theopticalsignal bandwidth. g z-=0 f ( )  t  c
waveform g(t).   is theopticalsignal bandwidth. g z-=0 f ( )  t  c

g

z-=0

f

( )

t

c

c



~

f



( )

t

c

c



~

f



(

)

(

)

e

j

t

d

e

j

 

t

j

(

)l

d

Z=l

[3-

[3-

8]

9]

If  

 

c

 

(

)

(

c

)

d  ( d     c
d
(
d
 
c

 

c

2 1 d  )  ( 2 2 d     c
2
1
d
)
(
2
2 d
 
c

 

c

g

 

c

( )

t

 

c

e

e



/ 2

~

f

(

)

e

j

 

t

j

(

)

l

d

c



/ 2

~

f (



/

j



(

c

2

)

l

c


c

  c d    / 2 j  ( t  l

c
d

/
2
j
(
t
l
~
d
 
c
f (
) e

/ 2

)

/

d

2

) e

j



(

c

)

l

f

(

t

g

d   j  ( c l )  e d   
d
 j

(
c
l
)
e
d
 
c
d 
l
 l
d
V

g
c

)

l

f

j

t

(

t

j [



(

c

g

)

)

d  d 
d
d

)

2

 

c

(

 

c

)] l

[3- 10]

d

[3-

14]

[3- 11]

How to characterize dispersion?

Group delay per unit length can be defined as:

g

L

d

d ω

 

1

d



 

c

dk

2

 

d

2

 

c

d

[3- 15]

If the spectral width of the optical source is not too wide, then the delay difference per unit wavelength along the propagation path is approximately

For spectral components which are

wavelength, the total delay difference

 

apart, symmetrical around center

over a distance L is:



d  g  d  d   d 
d
g

d 
d

d

d

d

2

L   2 d   c   d   L 
L
 2
d
 c
d
L 

V g

2




d

2



2

d

2


d

L



d

2

[3-

16]

d

g

d

2

d

d

2

2 

2

is called GVD parameter, and shows how much a light pulse

broadens as it travels along an optical fiber. The more common parameter

is called Dispersion, and can be defined as the delay difference per unit

length per unit wavelength as follows:

D

1

d

g d

L

d

d

1

V

g



2

c

2

2

[3-

17]

In the case of optical pulse, if the spectral width of the optical source is

characterized by its rms value of the Gaussian pulse

spreading over the length of L,

, the pulse

g can be well approximated by:

g

d  g d 
d
g
d 

DL

[3-18]

D has a typical unit of [ps/(nm.km)].

Intramodal dispersion:

It is pulse spreading that occurs within a single mode of light source. It is due to the group velocity which is a function of the wavelength.

to the group velocity which is a function of the wavelength.  As the intramodal dispersion

As the intramodal dispersion is dependent on the wavelength, its effect on signal distortion increases with the spectral width of the optical source. It is normally characterized by the RMS spectral width.

The LEDs have an RMS spectral width of about 5% of the central wavelength, whereas the LASER diodes have much narrower spectral widths of 1 to 2 nm.

The

main

causes

of

intramodal

dispersion

are

:

Material & Waveguide dispersion.

Material or Chromatic Dispersion:

In SMF due to the diffraction property, there is spread of narrow pulses in the constant refractive index core material is called intramodal dispersion.

This dispersion arises due to the variation of the refractive index of the core material as a function of optical wavelength.

of the core material as a function of optical wavelength.  This causes a wavelength dependence

This causes a wavelength dependence of the group velocity of any given mode; that is, pulse spreading occurs even when different optical wavelengths follow the same optical path.

Material Dispersion

Input Emitter Very short
Input
Emitter
Very short

light pulse

Cladding v g ( 1 ) Core v g ( 2 )
Cladding
v g ( 1 )
Core
v g ( 2 )
Cladding v g ( 1 ) Core v g ( 2 )

Output short light pulse Cladding v g ( 1 ) Core v g ( 2 ) Intensity
Output

Intensity

Spectrum, ²   1  o  2
Spectrum, ² 
1
 o  2
Intensity  t
Intensity
t

0

Intensity

Spread, ²  t 
Spread, ² 
t

All excitation sources are inherently non-monochromatic and emit within a

spectrum, ², of wavelengt hs. W aves in t he guide wit h different free space

wavelengths travel at different group velocities due t o the wavelength depend

of n 1 . T he waves arrive at

a broadened output pulse.

t he end of the fiber at different t imes and hence re

© 1999 S.O. Kasap,Optoelectronics(Prentice Hall)

Material Dispersion

The refractive index of the material varies as a function of wavelength,

Material-induced dispersion for a plane wave propagation in homogeneous medium of refractive index n:

n()

mat

L

L

c

d

d

ω



2

L

2

c

n

dn

d

d

d



2

L

2

c

d

2

d

 

n (

)

[3-

19]

The pulse spread due to material dispersion is therefore:

D mat

g

()

d  mat d 
d
mat
d 

L   c
L
c
2 d n 2 d 
2
d
n
2
d

L

D

mat

is material dispersion

(

)

[3- 20]

Waveguide Dispersion:

Waveguide dispersion occurs since the propagation of light in the core and cladding layers differ.

Considering the ray theory approach, it is equivalent to the angle between the ray and the fiber axis vary

to the angle between the ray and the fiber axis vary with wavelength.  This leads

with wavelength.

This leads to variation in the transmission time of the rays and hence the dispersion.

If β is the propagation constant for a SM fiber, then

the fiber exhibits the waveguide dispersion if

fiber, then the fiber exhibits the waveguide dispersion if  In multimode fibers, the majority of

In multimode fibers, the majority of modes propagate far from the cut-off.

They are almost free of waveguide dispersion and is negligible when compared to the material dispersion.

Polarization Mode dispersion

Intensity

Output light pulse z  n 1y // y E Core x  = Pulse
Output light pulse
z

n 1y // y
E
Core
x
 = Pulse spread
E
y
E
x
n 1x // x
E
y
t

E

Input light pulse

t

Suppose that the core refractive index has different values along two orthogonal

directions corresponding to electric field oscillation direction (polarizations). We can

take x and y axes along these directions. An input light will travel along the fiber with

E x

and E y polarizations having different group velocities and hence arrive at the output at

different times

© 1999 S.O. Kasap,Optoelectronics(Prentice Hall)

Modal Dispersion

Dispersion means the difference in arrival time of the light rays at the output end of an optical fiber.

Modal dispersion is caused by the difference in rays path

(with equal wave length) due to variation in light incidence

angles at the input end. It occurs only in multimode fibers

Material dispersion is related to the variation of light velocity in a given fiber material due to the difference in

propagated light wave.

Number of modes

Number of

mod

es

)

2

2

47

(

Diameter of core NA

A Input pulse Output pulse L Max t Critical angle For instance, if n1 =
A Input pulse Output pulse L Max t Critical angle
A
Input pulse
Output pulse
L
Max
t
Critical
angle

For instance, if n1 = 1.5 and = 0.01, then the numerical aperture is

0.212 and the critical angle r,cr,

is about 12.5 degrees.

L Min

i

= 0 and path length=L (fiber length).

The longest path occurs for i = i, CR and can be estimated as:

 

L MAX

 

L

 
 

sin

CR

T

L

1

 

L

L

 

 

1

 

sin

CR

1

1

c

n

1

sin

CR

T

L

c

n

1   n

n

1 1  

L

c

 

n

n

2

1



 
   

2

2

T

B

1

B

;

B

is the bit rate in bits per second

 

 

T

T

B

;

 

T

1

B

;

therefore

B

 

T

1

1

sin

CR

n

2

 

n

1

 

B L

n

2

c

 

2

 
 

n

1

For = 0.002 in a small-step index optical fiber:

B L 150

Mb

s

km

49

150

1

B Mbps

150 1 B Mbps 1 150 L km 50
150 1 B Mbps 1 150 L km 50

1

150

L km

Bandwidth of a Multimode Optical Fiber

To estimate the bandwidth of an optical fiber, we can convert from a

bit transfer rate to a bandwidth. In one signal period, two bits can be transferred, so the maximum signal frequency is simply one-half the bit transfer rate.

signal frequency is simply one-half the bit transfer rate. B 2 c  n 2 f

B

2

c

n

2

f

f

;

MAX

MAX

2

2  

n

1

L

Light frequencies used in fiber optic systems use a carrier frequency between 10 14 and 10 15 Hz (10 5 to

6

10 GHz). The theoretical bandwidth of a fiber optic system is about 10% of the carrier frequency, or up to

10,000-100,000 GHz!

51