For future ultra-high bit-rate optical communications, such as using optical time-division multiplexing technologies, measuring the waveforms of optical pulses is very important to evaluating the quality of optical signals. An optical sampling method is very useful for observation of optical waveforms. Recently, there are several methods of optical sampling that can be used to measure the eye diagram of optical pulses.1–7 For optical sampling systems, technologies that enable generating a sampling pulse are key importance. The width of the sampling pulse must be sufficiently shorter than that of the signal pulse being evaluated; the sampling pulse must have a low timing jitter and its repetition rate must be changed rapidly and stably. Previously, we used a gain-switched laser diode, because of its controllability, to generate a sampling pulse.2 However, the timing jitter could not be reduced to less than 160 fs, and the pulse width had to be compressed to less than 1 ps. It should be noted that to generate a stable pulse, compression techniques should not be used.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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