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17, SEPTEMBER 1, 2010

Directly Modulated Laser Driven by Low-Bandwidth

Duobinary Signals
Zaineb Al-Qazwini, Student Member, IEEE, and Hoon Kim, Member, IEEE

Abstract—We report on the generation of 10-Gb/s nonre-

turn-to-zero signals using a directly modulated laser driven by
9B/10B line-coded, 3.5-GHz-bandwidth duobinary signals. The
ternary frequency-modulated signals from the laser are converted
into binary intensity-modulated signals by a delay interferometer
(DI). Two schemes, one using the constructive port of the DI and
the other using the destructive port, are demonstrated through
Index Terms—Delay interferometer (DI), direct modulation, di-
rectly modulated laser (DML), frequency modulation, line coding.


D IRECTLY modulated lasers (DMLs) have gained much

attention as the transmitter of choice for cost-sensitive ac-
cess and metro applications. Compared to their external-modu-
lator-based counterparts, they provide cost-effectiveness, small
footprint, high output power, and low driving voltage. However,
one of the biggest stumbling blocks to the widespread use of
Fig. 1. Principle of operation for the destructive-port scheme (a) NRZ data,
this device is the modulation bandwidth limitation (typically (b) duobinary-encoded DML driving signal, (c) ternary FSK signals at the
20 GHz) by the nonlinear gain effect and the carrier transport DML output (frequency profile), (d) intensity profile of the signals at the DML
lifetime [1]. output, (e) CPFSK/ASK signals at the DI output, and (f) mark-level-equalized
In this letter, we propose and demonstrate DML-based trans- CPFSK/ASK signals at the OBPF output.
mitters driven by highly band-limited electrical signals to alle-
viate the modulation bandwidth limitation. The DML is driven other using the constructive port (hereafter referred to as con-
by duobinary signals generated by filtering nonreturn-to-zero structive-port scheme). With the proposed schemes, we generate
(NRZ) signals with a low-pass filter (LPF) [2]. The ternary fre- 10-Gb/s NRZ signals using a DML driven by 3.5-GHz-band-
quency-shift keying (FSK) signals generated at the DML are width duobinary signals.
then converted into binary continuous-phase FSK/amplitude-
shift keying (CPFSK/ASK) signals using a delay interferometer
(DI) [3]. To avoid the pattern-dependent performance degra- II. DESTRUCTIVE-PORT SCHEME
dation caused by the nonuniform frequency modulation (FM)
response of the DML especially at low frequencies (typically The proposed transmitter is depicted in Fig. 1. It consists
10 MHz) [4], [5], we employ dc-balanced 9B/10B line coding, of a DML, a DI, and an optical bandpass filter (OBPF). The
which maps 9-bit blocks of data onto predefined 10-bit code- precoded data are encoded into duobinary signals after passing
words with low disparity and thus depletes the low-frequency through an LPF [Fig. 1(b)]. The purpose of precoding is to avoid
contents of the signals yet increases the overhead by 11% only error propagation at the receiver, just like in duobinary systems.
[6]. Two schemes are studied, one using the destructive port of The duobinary signals are applied directly to the DML to gen-
the DI (hereafter referred to as destructive-port scheme) and the erate ternary FSK signals with corresponding frequencies ,
, and [Fig. 1(c)]. The FSK signals are then converted into
CPFSK/ASK signals by passing through the destructive port of
Manuscript received April 20, 2010; revised June 02, 2010; accepted June the DI, where the peak frequencies of the DI are located at
12, 2010. Date of publication June 28, 2010; date of current version August 11, and while its null frequency is at , as shown in Fig. 1(c).
2010. This work was supported by Singapore Ministry of Education Academic
Research Fund Tier 1. Thus, the component at the DML output is suppressed by
The authors are with the Department of Electrical and Computer En- the DI, constituting the spaces of the signals (i.e., “0” bits),
gineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117576 (e-mail: whereas both and components are given high transmit-;
Color versions of one or more of the figures in this letter are available online
tance, and hence constitute the marks (i.e., “1” bits) [Fig. 1(e)].
at However, the current modulation of the DML is always accom-
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/LPT.2010.2054074 panied by intensity modulation [Fig. 1(d)]. As a result, the marks
1041-1135/$26.00 © 2010 IEEE

Fig. 3. Performance of the destructive-port scheme. (a) Measured back-to-back

BER and (b) dispersion tolerance.

observed at a BER of with uncoded PRBS (not

shown in the figure). This is because of the nonuniform FM
Fig. 2. Experimental setup for demonstration of the destructive-port scheme. response of the DML at low frequencies. With PRBS,
The insets are the measured optical spectra at (a) DML output (DI frequency the signal has its lowest frequency component at 78.4 MHz
response is plotted in red), (b) DI output (OBPF frequency response is plotted , which is well beyond the frequency dip (at
in red), and (c) OBPF output, and the measured eye diagrams at (d) DML output,
(e) DI output, and (f) OBPF output.
10 MHz) in the FM response of the DML, and consequently
the signal utilizes the uniform region of the FM response.
However, as the pattern length increases, the spectral spacing
will have two different intensity levels, a low level which corre- becomes narrower, and hence the low-frequency contents of
sponds to the component and a high level with the com- the signal will be adversely affected by the nonuniform FM re-
ponent [Fig. 1(e)]. This split in the mark levels can be readily sponse. The 9B/10B coding depletes the low frequency contents
suppressed by using the OBPF with its skirt located at which of the signal by 15 dB, and thus mitigates these pattern-length
gives a low transmittance to the high-level marks, and conse- dependencies [6]. Using the 9B/10B-coded signals, we achieve
quently equalizes the split in the mark levels [Fig. 1(f)]. a good receiver sensitivity of 17.6 dBm at a PRBS length of
The experimental demonstration of the scheme is verified . The 0.9-dB penalty with respect to the uncoded
using the setup shown in Fig. 2. NRZ signals with a pseudo- PRBS should be in part attributed to the line-rate increase [6].
random bit sequence (PRBS) length of were first en- The efficacy of mark-level equalization using OBPF is also
coded off-line by a 9B/10B line coder and then precoded. Due evaluated using BER measurements. Without the OBPF, a poor
to the overhead of the 9B/10B coding, the line rate is increased BER of is observed at a received power of 12 dBm.
by 11%. The precoded signals were encoded into duobinary sig- We next measure the dispersion tolerance of the proposed
nals using a 3.5-GHz LPF and then fed to a commercial DML scheme. Fig. 3(b) shows the receiver sensitivity as a function
operating at 1549 nm. The LPF bandwidth falls within the typ- of the accumulated dispersion. The dispersion window, defined
ical range of duobinary transmitters (i.e., 1/4 to 1/3 of the line as the allowable amount of dispersion inducing less than 2-dB
rate). The DML was biased at 80 mA ( 8 times the threshold power penalty, is measured to be 300 ps/nm. This indicates
current) to make the adiabatic chirp dominant over the tran- that the generated 10-Gb/s signals at 1550 nm can travel 20 km
sient chirp, obtaining an output power of 6.5 dBm. The optimum over SSMF without dispersion compensation.
driving voltage to the DML was found to be 2.0 , at which
the peak-to-peak frequency deviation of the ternary FSK signals III. CONSTRUCTIVE-PORT SCHEME
was estimated to be 8 GHz close to the line rate. The optical The DI has two output ports and both ports can convert the
spectrum and eye diagram at the DML output are depicted in FSK signals from the DML into CPFSK/ASK signals. Fig. 4
Fig. 2(a) and (d), respectively. The DML output was sent to a DI shows the principle of operation when the constructive port of
with a free-spectral range (FSR) of 10.7 GHz. Fig. 2(b) and (e) the DI is employed. Just like the case with the destructive-port
show the optical spectrum and eye diagram at the DI output, scheme, the precoded NRZ signals first pass through the LPF
respectively. A split in the mark levels caused by the inten- to be encoded into duobinary signals [Fig. 4(a) and (b)], which
sity modulation of the DML is clearly observed in Fig. 2(e). are fed directly to the DML. The ternary FSK-modulated sig-
However, the use of OBPF equalizes the mark levels as shown nals are then converted into CPFSK/ASK signals by passing
in Fig. 2(f). The optical spectrum in Fig. 2(c) also shows the through the constructive port of the DI. The peak frequency of
identical optical powers at and . The extinction ratio (ER) the DI is aligned to the component of the DML output sig-
of the signals is measured to be 8 dB. The CPFSK/ASK sig- nals while the null frequencies of the DI to the and com-
nals with 3-dBm optical power were launched into standard ponents, as shown in Fig. 4(c). Thus, the marks are composed of
single-mode fiber (SSMF) and detected with a PIN receiver. the component whereas both the and components con-
We first measure the back-to-back performance. Fig. 3(a) stitute the spaces [Fig. 4(d)]. Unlike the destructive-port scheme
shows the bit-error ratio (BER) curve of the 9B/10B-coded in Section II, the OBPF, which was required to equalize the mark
signals running at 11.06 Gb/s. Also plotted in Fig. 3(a) for com- levels, is not needed since the marks of the constructive-port
parison are the BER curves measured with uncoded PRBSs of scheme are composed of a single frequency component.
length and at 9.953 Gb/s. The receiver sensitivities The constructive-port scheme is also experimentally demon-
BER of the and PRBSs are measured to strated using the same setup as in Fig. 2. In this case, however,
be 18.5 and 11 dBm, respectively, whereas an error floor is we removed the OBPF and utilized the constructive port to

Fig. 6. Performance of the constructive-port scheme. (a) Measured back-to-

back BER and (b) dispersion tolerance.

to be ps/nm in Fig. 6(b), exhibiting asymmetry

around the zero dispersion in favor of positive dispersion. We as-
Fig. 4. Principle of operation for the constructive-port scheme (a) NRZ data, cribe this to the asymmetric optical spectrum of the signals. Due
(b) duobinary-encoded DML driving signal, (c) ternary FSK signals at the DML
output (frequency profile), and (d) CPFSK/ASK signals at the DI output. to the narrower spectral width, the constructive-port scheme has
wider dispersion window than the destructive-port scheme.
Finally, we measure the sensitivity penalties incurred by
the frequency offset between the DML and optical filters. It is
found that the frequency offset should be kept within around
150 MHz for both schemes to have the penalty less than 2 dB.
Since both the DML and DI are located at the transmitter side,
the DML wavelength could be precisely aligned to the optical
Fig. 5. Measured optical spectra using the constructive-port scheme at (a) DML
output (DI frequency response is plotted in red) and (b) DI output. Optical eye filters by utilizing a frequency monitoring module [6].
diagrams at (c) DML output and (d) DI output. It is worth noting that in a wavelength-division-multiplexed
system, the cost incurred by the DI and OBPF can be shared by
multiple users via replacing the OBPF for each channel with
launch the signals to SSMF. The optimum driving voltage to a single wavelength-offset wavelength-division multiplexer
the DML was found to be 2.3 , at which the peak-to-peak (WDM). The periodicity of the DI also enables us to utilize
frequency deviation of the FSK signals at the DML output a single DI at the output of the WDM. Thus, the increased
was 9 GHz. Fig. 5(a) shows the optical spectrum of the cost per customer (caused by the OBPF and DI) becomes
DML output signals together with the DI frequency response. insignificant as the number of users increases.
As explained in the previous paragraph, the null frequencies
of the DI are positioned to extinguish the edge frequency IV. CONCLUSION
components of and . The optical spectrum and eye dia- We have proposed and demonstrated the generation of
gram of the CPFSK/ASK signals at the DI output are shown 10-Gb/s NRZ signals using a DML driven by 9B/10B-coded,
in Fig. 5(b) and (d), respectively. The ER of the signals is 3.5-GHz-bandwidth duobinary signals followed by a DI. The
measured to be 11 dB. The signals are launched into the SSMF DI converts the ternary FSK signals from the DML into binary
with an optical power of 1.7 dBm and detected with the PIN CPFSK/ASK signals. Two transmitter schemes, one using the
receiver. It is worth noting that the absence of the OBPF helps constructive port of the DI and the other using the destructive
to emit higher output power than the destructive-port scheme. port, exhibit good receiver sensitivity and dispersion tolerance
Throughout the demonstration with the constructive-port large enough to be used for optical access networks.
scheme, the line rate is fixed to 9.953 Gb/s regardless of whether
the line coding is used. We believe this is because the FSR of REFERENCES
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