Adaptive Mode Control in Few-Mode and Highly Multimode Fibers
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Few-mode fibers (FMFs) and multimode fibers (MMFs) can provide much higher data-carrying capacities compared with single-mode fibers. But in order to achieve this goal, one must address the challenge of intermodal coupling and dispersion. Therefore the ability to accurately control the optical signal propagation in FMFs/MMFs can play a pivotal role in FMF/MMF applications. This thesis demonstrates the ability to excite, in FMFs and MMFs, the desired linearly polarized (LP) modes as well as their superpositions through adaptive optics (AO). Specifically, in the case of step-index FMFs, a phase-only spatial light modulator (SLM) is employed to manipulate the light at the fiber input end, driven by the feedback signal provided by the correlation between the charge coupled device (CCD) camera captured images at the fiber output end and the target light intensity profile. Through such an adaptive optical system, any arbitrarily selected LP modes can be excited at the distal end of the four-mode and seventeen-mode fibers, respectively. For a graded-index MMF with a uniform Bragg grating, we use a deformable mirror (DM) to perform the wavefront modulation at the fiber input end, where the feedback is based on the ratio of the grating-reflected signal power to the transmitted signal power. At the Bragg grating position of this highly multimode fiber, any desired principal mode groups can be successfully chosen. These experimental results suggest that adaptive control of optical wavefront in FMFs/MMFs is indeed feasible.
General Audience Abstract
Optical fibers, in terms of the number of modes they support, can be generally divided into single-mode fibers (SMFs), and few-mode fibers/multimode fibers (FMFs/MMFs). FMFs/MMFs can provide much higher data-carrying capacities than SMFs. For example, an FMF/MMF that supports M modes can ideally increase the data transmission rate by a factor of M, where each mode can serve as a distinct communication channel. However, in order to achieve good performance, one must accurately control signal propagation in FMFs/MMFs, which are often degraded due to the multiple-mode nature. This thesis demonstrates the ability, using adaptive optics (AO), to control signal propagation in FMFs and a highly MMF, respectively. Specifically, in the case of FMFs, a phase-only spatial light modulator (SLM) is employed to manipulate the light at the fiber input, driven by AO feedback signal provided by the similarity between the real-time fiber output image and the target mode profile. Through such an adaptive optical system, any desired linearly-polarized (LP) modes can be excited at the output of the four-mode and seventeen-mode fibers, respectively. For the highly MMF with uniform Bragg grating, we use a deformable mirror (DM) to perform the wavefront modulation at the fiber input, where AO feedback is provided by the fiber Bragg grating (FBG) reflectivity. At the FBG position, any desired principal mode groups can be successfully chosen. These experimental results suggest that adaptive control of optical wavefront in FMFs/MMFs is indeed feasible, and may find a large number of applications in optical communication, sensing, and imaging.
- Masters Theses 
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