Abstract

To model electromagnetic wave propagation for coherent communications without polarization dependent losses, the unitary $2 \times 2$ Jones transfer matrix formalism is typically used. In this study, we propose an alternative formalism to describe such transformations based on rotations in four-dimensional (4d) Euclidean space. This formalism is usually more attractive from a communication theoretical perspective, since decisions and symbol errors can be related to geometric concepts such as Euclidean distances between points and decision boundaries. Since 4d rotations is a richer description than the conventional Jones calculus, having six rather than four degrees of freedom (DOF), we propose an extension of the Jones calculus to handle all six DOF. In addition, we show that the two extra DOF in the 4d description represents transformations that are nonphysical for propagating photons, since they does not obey the fundamental quantum mechanical boson commutation relations. Finally, we exemplify on how the nonphysical rotations can change the polarization-phase degeneracy of well-known constellations such as single-polarization QPSK, polarization-multiplexed (PM-)QPSK and polarization-switched (PS-) QPSK. For example, we show how PM-QPSK, which is well known to consist of four polarization states each having four-fold phase degeneracy, can be represented as eight states of polarizations, each with binary phase degeneracy.

© 2014 IEEE

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