We demonstrate that the pedestal components observed in the power spectra of a directly modulated laser diode, which were interpreted as a sign of instability of the periodic regime, are an indication of the coexistence of a chaotic regime with the periodic one. We present the underlying dynamics behind the rise of these pedestals, showing two different situations in which the pedestals appear. In both, a periodic regime coexists with another attractor, a saddle cycle in one case and a chaotic attractor in the other. The random fluctuations included in the laser diode model allow the coexisting attractors to merge in the observed behavior of the laser.
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