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This paper presents a 10 Gb/s burst-mode receiver (BMRx) that was designed to have high linearity over a >; 20 dB (optical power) dynamic range. Such a linear BMRx (LBMRx) enables electronic dispersion compensation or multilevel modulation formats in bursty optical links. The LBMRx consists of a variable-gain transimpedance amplifier and a variable-gain post-amplifier. A gain from 47 dBΩ to 85 dBΩ was achieved on a single die. Fast (<; 50ns) gain adjustment is achieved using replica based, feedforward automatic gain control and peak detectors, which are reset between bursts using an external reset signal. A sensitivity of - 23.2 dBm at a bit-error rate of 1.1 × 10-3 was measured using a PIN photodiode. A 0.5 dB penalty is incurred if a 0 dBm burst precedes the burst under consideration; hence the LBMRx can support a dynamic range of 22.7 dB. A 150 ns preamble was used, the guard time between bursts was 25.6 ns. Total harmonic distortion (at 250 MHz) less than 5% was measured for an optical power ranging from - 25 dBm to 0 dBm. The chip was designed in a 0.25 μm SiGe:C BiCMOS technology, has an area of 2.4 × 2.1 mm2 and consumes 650 mW from 2.5 V/3.3 V supplies.