Abstract

Vector modes are spatial modes that have spatially inhomogeneous states of polarization, such as, radial and azimuthal polarization. In this work, the spatially inhomogeneous states of polarization of vector modes are used to increase the transmission data rate of free-space optical communication via mode division multiplexing. A mode (de)multiplexer for vector modes based on a liquid crystal q-plate is introduced. As a proof of principle, four vector modes each carrying a 20-Gbit/s quadrature phase shift keying signal (aggregate 80 Gbit/s) on a single wavelength channel (λ1550nm) were transmitted 1m over the lab table with <16.4dB mode crosstalk. Bit error rates for all vector modes were measured at the 7% forward error correction threshold with power penalties <3.41dB.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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