On the final day of SubOptic 2013, the Keynote Speaker is a Emmanuel Desurvire, someone who Richard Elliot introduces as one of the greatest engineers of our time. For his speech, he explains the history of the erbium-doped fibre amplifiers (EDFAs).

He shows the two original papers written on the EDFA, published in 1987.

One of the impressive things is the long list of things that had to be discovered and developed in order to make it work. Top of the list is “Understand Er:glass Physics.”

The first demonstration of the practical LD-EDFA occurred in 1989.

It's important to note how the EDFA made higher bandwidth possible, because the bandwidth requirements are continuing to grow.