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This paper demonstrates a reconfigurable optical pulse generator based on the creation of a high-quality flat continuum that covers the C-band, followed by the tailoring of the spectral amplitude and phase of the continuum using a commercially available reconfigurable programmable optical processor in order to provide an arbitrary picosecond pulse shape or width. The highly efficient continuum is achieved by seeding a highly nonlinear fiber with transform-limited 4 ps parabolic-shaped pulses. A 20 nm 3 dB continuum at the very high repetition rate of 40 GHz is generated. Fourier-domain pulse shaping techniques are then applied to this continuum via the programmable optical processor to generate any arbitrary pulse shape. We present two specific pulse shaping examples suitable for a variety of high-bit-rate applications. The first example shows the improvement in pulse quality using tailored compression techniques over conventional methods and the second example presents multiwavelength pulse generation, which demonstrates the flexibility and range of pulse shapes that can be achieved using this system. Experimental findings are supported with theoretical results.
Date of Publication: Jan.1, 2010