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An improved optical self-heterodyne method utilizing a distributed Bragg reflector (DBR) tunable laser and an optical fiber ring interferometer is presented in this paper. The interference efficiency can be increased by 7 dB compared with the scheme using the conventional Mach-Zehnder interferometer. The unsteady process that the beating frequency experiences in each tuning period is investigated. According to the measurement results, the wavelength and optical power of the tunable laser will be steady when the square-wave frequency is lower than 300 kHz. It has been shown that when a square-wave voltage is applied to the phase section of the tunable laser, the laser linewidths vary in a wide range, and are much larger than that under dc voltage tuning. The errors caused by the variations in the linewidth of the beat signal and optical power can be eliminated using the proposed calibration procedures, and the measurement accuracy can, therefore, be significantly improved. Experiments show that the frequency responses obtained using our method agree well with the data provided by the manufacturer, and the improved optical self-heterodyne method is as accurate as the intensity noise technique.
Date of Publication: March 2006