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A new mechanism to tune an erbium-doped fiber laser in the L-band is presented. The technique is based on the dual-wavelength bistability in overlapping linear cavities, which allows two lasing lines to be switched from one to another by a triggering pulse superimposed to the dc bias current applied to the pump source. The two wavelengths can be independently tuned to give the laser a total tuning range of 33 nm that covers the whole L-band, while the tuning range of either of the tunable fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs) used is only half of that range. An output dynamic range of 7 dB, and a maximum output power of up to 11 dBm with high optical signal-to-noise ratios are obtained. A study of the switching transient responses shows that the typical switching time is about 4 to 12 ms, depending on the dc bias current applied to the pump source. Moreover, our wide tuning technique is implemented by only applying ordinary commercial tunable FBGs which normally would have given rise to only about half of the tuning range; no additional filtering mechanisms are required to achieve almost uniform outputs.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2003