Abstract

We theoretically and experimentally investigate relevant noise processes arising in optical fiber links, which fundamentally limit their relative stability. We derive the unsuppressed delay noise for three configurations of optical links: two-way method, Sagnac interferometry, and actively compensated link, respectively designed for frequency comparison, rotation sensing, and frequency transfer. We also consider an alternative two-way setup allowing real-time frequency comparison and demonstrate its effectiveness on a proof-of-principle experiment with a 25 km fiber spool. For these three configurations, we analyze the noise arising from uncommon fiber paths in the interferometric ensemble and design optimized interferometers. We demonstrate interferometers with very low temperature sensitivity of 2.2, 0.03, and 1fs/K. We use one of these optimized interferometers on a long haul compensated fiber link of 540 km. We obtain a relative frequency stability of 3·1020 after 10,000 s of integration time.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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