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Noise reduction techniques, such as all-optical 3R regeneration, can be realised using ultrafast saturable absorbers, both for the clock recovery block and for the reshaping block. Electroabsorption modulators (EAM) can be used as saturable absorbers when they are traversed by a strong pump optical pulse, which can reduce the absorption experienced by a second probe signal that propagates along the device together with the pump: this feature is called cross-absorption modulation (XAM). The authors present a novel numerical model to evaluate the dynamic behaviour of a quantum well EAM absorption, that can be applied in all-optical signal processing schemes for ultrafast transmission systems. The effects of both electric field screening and exciton saturation are taken into account. Numerical results agree with the experimental device behaviour reported in the literature.