Abstract

We present theoretical predictions and experimental measurements for the achievable phase noise, timing jitter, and frequency stability in the coherent transport of an optical frequency over a fiber-optic link. Both technical and fundamental limitations to the coherent transfer are discussed. Measurements of the coherent transfer of an optical carrier over links ranging from 38to251km demonstrate good agreement with theory. With appropriate experimental design and bidirectional transfer on a single optical fiber, the frequency instability at short times can reach the fundamental limit imposed by delay-unsuppressed phase noise from the fiber link, yielding a frequency instability that scales as link length to the 32 power. For two-way transfer on separate outgoing and return fibers, the instability is severely limited by differential fiber noise.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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