LabH6: Optical fibers for amplifiers and lasers

Optical fibers, optical amplifiers and fiber lasers


Rare earth ion doped fibers (Er3+, Yb3+ or Er/Yb) are crucial elements in the design of optical amplifiers or fiber lasers. These components are then used in more complex systems such as fiber optic gyroscopes or high-speed free-space optical communications. Radiation tests show that commercial active optical fibers, components and associated systems are highly vulnerable to space radiations [S. Girard et al., J. Optics, 2018].

Deeper fundamental studies showed that their high sensitivity is rather explained by the nature of the aluminosilicate or phosphosilicate host glass matrices used to incorporate the ions than by the rare-earth ions themselves. Several techniques have been identified allowing to improve the radiation responses of these fibers and components.

Indeed, by co-doping the active fiber with ceriumor by loading it with hydrogen [B. Cadier et al., US20130101261A1, 2012 / S. Girard et al., Opt. Express, 2012], it is possible to passivate the radiation induced defects relative to P or Al and thus improve the device radiation tolerance. Simultaneously, simulation tools have been developed to optimize the architecture of hardened systems with respect to the system profile of use in harsh environments [A. Ladaci et al., J. Appl. Phys., 2017]. These hardening approaches by component or system do not affect the optical performances of the amplifiers as illustrated in Fig(1) that compares the characteristics of two amplifiers: one standard and one radiation-hardened.

Fig 1: Comparison between the performances pre-irradiation of Er/Yb optical amplifiers based on either a standard fiber or its cerium codoped counterpart. / Insert: illustration of the double-clad structure of these ErYb fibers [S. Girard et al., Opt. Express, 2012].
Strong collaborations with CNES and Politecnico di Bari

This work is carried out in close collaboration with CNES, the French space agency, which is involved in the qualification of hardened optical fibers developed by LabH6 and the evaluation of the potential of complex architectures of fiber amplifiers and lasers.

Two co-supervisory (co-tutelle) PhD doctoral theses were carried out with the Politecnico di Bari Institute (Pr. Mescia, Italy) and allowed the establishment of multi-physical simulation tools to predict the radiative and thermal behaviors of optical amplifiers under irradiation.


Fig.2 and Fig.3 compare the performance of Er and Er/Yb amplifiers based on standard and hardened optical fibers. With the hardening solutions implemented by LabH6, it is today possible to design radiation-resistant systems up to doses of the order of 3 kGy(SiO2) (300 krad) covering the most demanding space missions. Today one of the main challenges concerns the development of systems delivering signals of very high power (> 10 W to 1550 nm). For these, it is necessary to study the radiation effects as well as the thermal contributions due to these high powers.

Studies combining simulations and experiments are under way (UJM / iXblue / CNES / Bari PhD thesis) to validate these computational codes before using them to design high power systems hardened to very high doses of radiation.

Fig.2. Performances of Er/Yb amplifiers based on a standard fiber (A # 1), Ce-codoped (A # 2) and their hydrogenated counterparts (A # 1H, A # 2H) [B. Cadier et al., US20130101261A1, 2012].

Fig.3. Optical performances of Er amplifiers based on a standard fiber (A # 1), Ce-codoped (A # 2) and a hydrogenated version of the fiber Rad-Tol (A # 3) [S. Girard et al., Opt. Lett., 2014].

Related Publications

  • Recent advances in radiation-hardened fiber-based technologies for space applications

    S. Girard, A. Morana, A. Ladaci, T.Robin, L. Mescia, J.J Bonnefois, M. Boutillier, J. Mekki, A. Paveau, B. Cadier, E. Marin, Y. Ouerdane & A. Boukenter

    Journal of Optics – 1 August 2018

    In this topical review, the recent progress on radiation-hardened fiber-based technologies is detailed, focusing on examples for space applications. In the first part of the review, we introduce the operational principles of the various fiber-based technologies considered for use in radiation environments: …

  • Radiation hardening techniques for Er/Yb doped optical fibers and amplifiers for space application

    Sylvain Girard, Marilena Vivona, Arnaud Laurent, Benoît Cadier, Claude Marcandella, Thierry Robin, Emmanuel Pinsard, Aziz Boukenter, and Youcef Ouerdane

    Optics Express Vol. 20, Issue 8, pp. 8457-8465 (2012)
  • Optimized radiation-hardened Erbium Doped Fiber amplifiers for long space missions

    A. Ladaci, S. Girard, L. Mescia, T. Robin, A. Laurent, B. Cadier, M. Boutillier, Y. Ouerdane & A. Boukenter

    Journal of Applied Physics 121, 163104 – 2017

    In this work, we developed and exploited simulation tools to optimize the performances of rare earth doped fiber amplifiers (REDFAs) for space missions. To describe these systems, a state-of-the-art model based on the rate equations…

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  • Radiation-hard erbium optical fiber and fiber amplifier for both low- and high-dose space missions

    S. Girard, A. Laurent, E. Pinsard, T. Robin, B. Cadier, M. Boutillier, C. Marcandella, A. Boukenter, and Y. Ouerdane

    Optics Letters Vol. 39, Issue 9, pp. 2541-2544 (2014)