Noise and noise figure of vertical-cavity semiconductor optical amplifiers (VCSOAs) operated in reflection mode

Pengyue Wen, Michael Sanchez, Matthias Gross, Sadik Esener

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


In this paper, the noise properties of vertical cavity semiconductor optical amplifiers (VCSOAs) operated in reflection mode are studied. Expressions for noise sources contributing to the total noise detected at amplifier output are derived, based on the photon statistics master equations. The noise figure, defined as the degradation of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), is analyzed using the assumption that spontaneous emission-signal beat noise dominates. The analysis shows that the noise figure of reflection mode VCSOAs has the same values as that in transmission mode as long as amplifier gain is high (G≫1). Furthermore, simulations depict the dependence of noise figure on device parameters and bias conditions, as well as reveal the importance of the low reflectivity front mirror and the high reflectivity rear mirror for low noise operation. In addition, the noise figure analysis results are compared with experimental measurements, in which amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) power is measured by an optical spectrum analyzer and the noise figure is obtained from the ASE power and the amplifier gain. The measured data are in good agreement with the theoretical predictions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)506-513
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes
EventFluctuations and Noise in Photonics and Quantum Optics - Santa Fe, NM, United States
Duration: Jun 2 2003Jun 4 2003


  • Beat noise
  • Noise
  • Noise figure
  • Spontaneous emission
  • Vertical-cavity semiconductor optical amplifier

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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