Because in an air-core photonic-bandgap fiber the fundamental mode travels mostly in air, as opposed to silica in a conventional fiber, the phase of this mode is expected to have a much lower dependence on temperature than in a conventional fiber. We confirm with interferometric measurements in air-core fibers from two manufacturers that their thermal phase sensitivity is indeed ~3 to ~6 times smaller than in an SMF28 fiber, in agreement with an advanced theoretical model. With straightforward fiber design changes (thinner jacket and thicker outer cladding), this sensitivity could be further reduced down to ~11 times that of a standard fiber. This feature is anticipated to have important benefits in fiber optic systems and sensors, especially in the fiber optic gyroscope where it translates into a lower Shupe effect and thus a greater long-term stability.
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