The trend of increasing data traffic in conventional communication systems demands utilizing new methods for data transmission, which in combination with traditional techniques, enable overcoming the predicted capacity limit. Mode division multiplexing (MDM), where higher-order modes (HOMs) in a few-mode fiber (FMF) are used as multiple spatial communication channels, comes in this context as a viable approach to enable the optimization of high-capacity links. From this perspective, it becomes highly necessary to possess a diagnostic tool for the precise modal characterization of FMFs. Among existing approaches for modal content analysis, several methods as S<sup>2</sup>, C<sup>2</sup> in time and frequency domain are available. In this contribution we will present an improved time-domain cross-correlated (C<sup>2</sup>) imaging technique for the experimental evaluation of modal properties in HOM fibers over a broad range of wavelengths. Our modified setup makes it possible to adjust the time resolution of the system according to the needs of the required fiber measurement. We show that by tuning the spectral shape of the source (SuperK EXTREME filtered by SuperK Select), we enhance the time resolution of the system, which allows us to distinguishing differential time delays between HOMs in the picosecond timescale. Broad wavelength scanning in combination with spectral shaping, allows us to estimate the modal behavior of FMF without prior knowledge of the fiber parameters. We performed our demonstration at wavelengths from 850nm to 1100nm which can be easily extended to other wavelengths of interest just by replacing components with the appropriate coating. The method presented here aims to serve as flexible diagnostic tool that can be implemented in MDM systems for judicious evaluation of modal dispersion in FMFs.
The rapid growth of global data traffic demands the continuous search for new technologies and systems that could increase transmission capacity in optical links and recent experiments show that to do so, it is advantageous to explore new degrees of freedom such as polarization, wavelength or optical modes. <p> </p>Mode division multiplexing (MDM) appears in this context as a promising and viable solution for such capacity increase, since it utilizes multiple spatial modes of an optical fiber as individual communication channels for data transmission. In order to evaluate its performance, a MDM system requires advanced characterization methods with regard to the modal content of its photonics components and in particular of the fibers involved for data transmission. <p> </p>In this contribution we present a time-domain interferometric technique for a full modal characterization of few mode fibers (FMF), commonly used in a MDM scenario. This experimental technique requires the use of a Mach-Zehnder interferometer, where the reference’s path length is controlled by an optical delay line. The interference between the output beams of reference and fiber under test (FUT) is recorded on a CCD camera and a careful evaluation of the resulting interferograms allows us to have full access to key parameters such as number of modes, modal weight, differential time delay between propagating modes and intensity profiles. <p> </p>In this work, we apply this simple and complete characterization method to the case of a short link with two optical modes propagating in a FMF, which illustrates its potential as a diagnostic tool for MDM systems.