patent number 6947208
An amplifying optical element for use within an optical fiber communication system is disclosed which includes a doped optical fiber, an optical excitation source which is physically integrated with and immediately adjacent to and surrounding doped optical fiber, the excitation source being capable of emitting sufficient light to enable power gain of the signal being transmitted, and an external power source electrically connected to the optical excitation source for initiating and maintaining the light emission. Preferably, the excitation source is a multilayer electrically conductive structure which includes a first layer immediately adjacent to the doped optical fiber, wherein the first layer is a transparent, electrically conductive material, a second layer adjacent to the first layer, wherein the second layer is an electroluminescing material, and a third layer adjacent to the second layer, wherein the third layer is an electrically conductive material. Most preferably, a buffer layer is included between the first and second layer and between the second and third layer. Alternatively, the excitation source may be a microring laser, which may be optically excited.