Ultra-high-speed optical communication systems which can support ≥ 1Tb/s per channel transmission will soon be required to meet the increasing capacity demand. However, 1Tb/s over a single carrier requires either or both a high-level modulation format (i.e. 1024QAM) and a high baud rate. Alternatively, grouping a number of tightly spaced “sub-carriers” to form a terabit superchannel increases channel capacity while minimizing the need for high-level modulation formats and high baud rate, which may allow existing formats, baud rate and components to be exploited. In ideal Nyquist-WDM superchannel systems, optical subcarriers with rectangular spectra are tightly packed at a channel spacing equal to the baud rate, thus achieving the Nyquist bandwidth limit. However, in practical Nyquist-WDM systems, precise electrical or optical control of channel spectra is required to avoid strong inter-channel interference (ICI). Here, we propose and demonstrate a new “super receiver” architecture for practical Nyquist-WDM systems, which jointly detects and demodulates multiple channels simultaneously and mitigates the penalties associated with the limitations of generating ideal Nyquist-WDM spectra. Our receiver-side solution relaxes the filter requirements imposed on the transmitter. Two joint DSP algorithms are developed for linear ICI cancellation and joint carrier-phase recovery. Improved system performance is observed with both experimental and simulation data. Performance analysis under different system configurations is conducted to demonstrate the feasibility and robustness of the proposed joint DSP algorithms.
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