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The analysis of a subcarrier optical phase-locked loop (SC-OPLL) is carried out in order to optimize phase-locking performance. A new parameters optimization procedure, useful for OPLL design, is demonstrated theoretically and experimentally. An SC-OPLL based on this procedure has been realized, so a pilot carrier SC-OPLL and a nonlinear SC-OPLL optical receiver have been experimentally constructed and tested. An 8B/10B line coding is employed for pilot carrier SC-OPLL receiver in order to improve performance and a new architecture of decision-driven PLL is experimentally demonstrated.