We present both theoretically and experimentally a novel blind and fast method for estimating the State of Polarization (SOP) of a single carrier channel modulated in square Dual Polarization (DP) MQAM format for optical coherent receivers. The method can be used on system startup, for quick channel reconfiguration, or for burst mode receivers. It consists of converting the received waveform from Jones to Stokes space and looping over an algorithm until a unitary polarization derotation matrix is estimated. The matrix is then used to initialize the center taps of the subsequent classical decision-directed stochastic gradient algorithm (DD-LMS). We present experimental comparisons of the initial Bit Error Rate (BER) and the speed of convergence of this blind Stokes space polarization recovery (PR) technique against the common Constant Modulus Algorithm (CMA). We demonstrate that this technique works on any square DP-MQAM format by presenting experimental results for DP–4QAM, –16QAM and –64QAM at varying distances and baud rates. We additionally numerically assess the technique for varying differential group delays (DGD) and sampling offsets on 28 Gbaud DP–4QAM format and show fast polarization recovery for instantaneous DGD as high as 90% of symbol duration. We show that the convergence time of this blind PR technique does not depend on the initial SOP as CMA does and allows switching to DD–LMS faster by more than an order of magnitude. For DP–4QAM, it shows a convergence time of 5.9 ns, which is much smaller than the convergence time of recent techniques using modified CMA algorithms for quicker convergence. BER of the first 20 × 103 symbols is always smaller by several factors for DP–16QAM and –64QAM but not always for DP–4QAM.
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