A new method of constructing an optical attenuator for a time compression mutiplex system with a laser transceiver is proposed and investigated. The main purpose of this paper is to achieve the wide dynamic range of a receiver. The transceiver consists of a laser diode backed by a photodiode. At average power levels, the laser diode is the main photodetector. At higher than average levels, the laser diode acts as an optical attenuator for the photodiode. We call the laser diode the laser attenuator (LATT). Basic properties of the proposed LATT, such as wavelength and polarization dependence, are clarified. LATT is confirmed to have an optical dynamic range of over 37 dB.
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