Abstract

In this work, it is experimentally demonstrated that the nonseparability of vector beams (e.g., radial and azimuthal polarization) can be used to encode information for optical communication. By exploiting the nonseparability of a vector beam’s space and polarization degrees of freedom using conventional wave plates, it is shown that 2 bits of information can be encoded when applying the identity and three Pauli operators to its polarization degree of freedom. It is also shown that vector beams can be efficiently decoded with as low as 2.7% cross talk using a Mach–Zehnder interferometer that exploits a higher-order Pancharatnam–Berry phase and liquid crystal q-plates.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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