We propose a power-efficient modulation/detection scheme that combines PDM-QPSK and 16-ary-pulse-position-modulation. A record sensitivity of 3.5 photons per bit at BER=10−3 is experimentally demonstrated at 2.5 Gb/s with digital coherent-detection, outperforming PDM-QPSK by >3 dB.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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