The amplification factor (or gain factor) of an optical amplifier is the factor by which the input power is amplified. It depends on various details of the gain medium and on the degree of its excitation, apart from the optical wavelength.
During amplification of an intense optical pulse, the amplification factor may drop due to gain saturation. An effective amplification factor may then be defined as the ratio of output energy and input energy.
An alternative specification of gain is in terms of decibels, calculated as 10 times the logarithm to base 10 of the amplification factor.
See also: gain, amplifiers, decibel
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