Semiconductor Optical Amplifiers (SOA)

Semiconductor optical amplifiers (booster optical amplifiers) are amplifiers which use a semiconductor to provide the gain medium. They have a similar structure to Fabry–Perot laser diodes but with anti-reflection design elements at the end faces. Recent designs include anti-reflective coatings as well as tilted waveguide and window regions which can reduce end face reflection to less than 0.001%. Since this creates a loss of power from the cavity which is greater than the gain, it prevents the amplifier from acting as a laser.

High-performance semiconductor optical amplifiers are especially useful when it comes to amplifying (optical) signals that are meant to be transmitted over long distances, where there is a significant threat of signal loss. Since the optical signal is directly amplified, a previous conversion into an electrical signal becomes redundant, increasing the efficiency of the transmission. The technology is commonly used in WDM networks for power splitting and loss compensation.

Semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOA) deliver a simple and cost-efficient solution for long-haul transmission in various networks. Innolume is your partner for the supply and supports your business with individual solutions and personal advice – get in touch with us!

Typical parameters of fiber-coupled BOAs (new)

Part numberGain mean
wavelength
Gain
bandwith
FWHM1
Output
power1
Saturation
output
power2
ASE
ripples
RMS3
PEROperating
current
nmnmmWdBmdBdBmA
BOA-1060-80-YY-120mW106080120200.0120400
BOA-1310-50-YY-200mW130550250210.1181000

Typical parameters of fiber-coupled semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOAs)

Part numberGain mean
wavelength
Gain
bandwith
FWHM1
Small
signal
gain1
Saturation
output
power2
Noise
figure
Gain
maximum
wavelength
Gain
spectrum
dip
ASE
power
ASE
ripples
RMS3
PEROperating
current
nmnmdBdBmdBnmdBmWdBdBmA
SOA-780-20-YY-30dB7752032156.577570.0314300
SOA-1000-100-YY-30dB100010033186.5960, 103012500220600
SOA-1020-110-YY-27dB102011027157.5970, 10404150.0220450
SOA-1030-20-YY-40dB103020401881030700.0320400
SOA-1060-20-YY-40dB106022401881065600.0220400
SOA-1060-90-YY-30dB10609030185106070.0220400
SOA-1080-20-YY-40dB108027381771085400.0220400
SOA-1130-20-YY-35dB1125253515101125300.0320600
SOA-1140-90-YY-24dB11409024174.51110, 1170510.0120400
SOA-1190-90-YY-20dB11909020156.51160, 122550.70.0220300
SOA-1250-110-YY-27dB125011027157.51210 , 1280650.0520900
SOA-1290-40-YY-25dB12854524127.5129010.0220400

1 – @ – 25dBm input signal, gain maximum
2 – @ – 3dB, gain maximum
3 – @ ASE maximum, RMS in 1 nm range, 10pm resolution

Semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA) – most important properties

Since our portfolio includes a variety of amplifiers, it is important to know which kind of SOA is most suitable for the respective application. We have listed some of the most important properties that are relevant for the applicability of our various products:

  • Gain (general)
    The parameter gain highlights the intensity of signal amplification in dB. The gain of our SOAs ranges from 20-48 dB. A higher gain is directly correlated to the power of the output signal.
  • Gain bandwidth
    Additionally to the general wavelength of our respective semiconductor optical amplifiers, the gain bandwidth defines the spectrum the SOA can effectively cover and which signals can be amplified. We offer amplifiers from 775-1285 nm with bandwidths from 20-110 nm.
  • Saturation
    This parameter is important due to the fact that it describes the output power maximum, which ranges from 12-18 dBm regarding our SOAs. A higher output power is usually favorable since it increases the signal stability.
  • Noise
    The noise figure of a semiconductor optical amplifier usually determines the power of amplified spontaneous emissions (ASE). Preferably, this value should be low since the ASE distorts the amplification. A near ideal noise level is at about 5 dB – due to technical limitations, a value below 3 dB is almost non-achievable

Do you have additional questions related to our various semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOA) or do you need personal advice regarding the possible applications? From conventional to custom – our experts are eager to help you with your concerns.

Possible applications for semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOA)

When it comes to optical networks, the usage of SOAs greatly improves the reliability and stability of long-haul transmissions while being exceptionally cost-effective and easy to integrate. Possible areas for applications also include:

  • Datacom / telecommunication (datacenter)
  • Swept-source, tunable lasers
  • Booster optical amplifiers
  • Reach extension (preamplifiers / booster)
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
  • Sensing
  • Measuring
  • Component testing

Our well-established quantum dot laser technology makes our products extremely versatile – we are proud to support clients from various industries with our selection of high-performance lasers, chips, amplifiers and more.

Practical example – semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOA) in optical coherence tomography (OCT)

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a low coherence interferometry technique that generates backscattering profiles of tissue. OCT has been very successful in ophthalmology in diagnosing eye diseases and it is widely applied in other areas such as dentistry, endoscopy and dermatology. Light sources are a crucial component in the design of OCT systems as they decide the resolution along the optical axis as well the depth penetration of infrared light in tissue.

Swept-source lasers (SSL) are the light source of choice for Fourier domain optical coherence tomography (FDOCT). The gain medium in SSL is most often a semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA). Their main advantage is fast carrier dynamics which ensures a fast buildup of lasing within the cavity. Furthermore, a wider tuning range can be achieved by employing several SOAs in parallel.

Innolume – excellence in technology and manufacturing

Easy to apply, extremely efficient and made for versatile use – all our products share these traits. Whether you are looking for a DBR/DFB laser or a simple, long-lasting laser diode, our company has you covered. We provide quality components, gain-chips and laser equipment for a wide variety of applications in medicine, industry, research and Datacom:

All our products are precisely manufactured and meet the standards of your respective industry with ease. From a comb laser to a low noise semiconductor optical amplifier, we provide our clients with excellent products – also in large quantities.

Our products come with various benefits and are designed to last a long time – we focus on extensive testing and excellent manufacturing to guarantee a competitive lifespan for all our chips, diodes, lasers and beyond.

There is always the chance that we don´t have an ideal solution right away – please don´t hesitate to contact us and ask about possible adjustments to our products. We are always willing to adapt and customize our products to our clients’ requirements.

We are dedicated to supply our clients with high-quality solutions and cutting-edge laser technology such as our semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA) – whatever it takes. If you have questions or need specific advice, please feel free to get in touch with our experts.