Abstract

Photonic crystal hollow core fiber (PC-HCF) has enabled many exciting new applications in nonlinear optics and spectroscopy. However, to date there has been less impact in coherent applications where preservation of optical phase over long fiber lengths is crucial. This paper presents characteristics of three commercially available PC-HCFs relevant to coherent applications including higher-order mode analysis, birefringence and polarization-dependent loss, and their impact on coherent light transmission in PC-HCF. Multipath interference due to higher-order mode propagation and Fresnel reflection is shown to generate excess intensity noise in transmission, which can be suppressed by up to 20 dB through high frequency phase modulation of the source laser. To demonstrate the potential of PC-HCF in high performance sensing, a Mach–Zehnder interferometer (MZI) incorporating 10 m of PC-HCF in each arm is characterized and demonstrates a phase resolution (59×109rad/Hz1/2 at 30 kHz) close to the shot noise limit, which is better than can be achieved in a MZI made with the same length of single mode solid core fiber because of the limit set by fundamental thermodynamic noise (74×109rad/Hz1/2 at 30 kHz).

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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