In this paper we compare the performance of multi and single-mode
interferometry for the estimation of the phase of the complex
visibility in presence of detector, photon and atmospheric noises. We show that, despite the loss of flux
occurring when injecting the light in the single-mode component, the spatial
filtering properties of such single-mode devices often enable
higher performance than multimode concepts. In
the high flux regime speckle noise dominated,
single-mode interferometry is always more efficient, and its performance is
significantly better when the correction provided
by adaptive optics becomes poor, by a factor of 2 and more when the Strehl
ratio is lower than 10%. In detector noise regime, multimode interferometry reaches better performance, yet the gain never exceeds 20%, which corresponds to the percentage of photon loss due to the injection in the guides.
We finally show that
single-mode interferometry is also more robust to the turbulence
in both cases of fringe tracking and phase referencing, at the exception of narrow field of views. We conclude that fringe trackers built using single-mode optics should be considered as a solution both practical and competitive.