Original Article

Citation: Light: Science & Applications (2017) 6, e17021; doi:10.1038/lsa.2017.21
Published online 11 August 2017

Few-mode fibre-optic microwave photonic links

He Wen1,2, Hongjun Zheng1,3, Qi Mo4, Amado Manuel Velázquez-Benítez1, Cen Xia1, Bin Huang1, Huiyuan Liu1, Huang Yu4, Pierre Sillard5, Jose Enrique Antonio Lopez1, Rodrigo Amezcua Correa1 and Guifang Li1,2

  1. 1CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816, USA
  2. 2The College of Precision Instruments and Opto-Electronics Engineering, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China
  3. 3School of Physics Science and Information Technology, Shandong Provincial Key Lab of Optical Communication Science and Technology, Liaocheng University, Shandong 252059, China
  4. 4State Key Laboratory of Optical Communication Technologies and Networks, FiberHome Telecommunication Technologies Co., Ltd, Wuhan Research Institute of Posts and Telecommunications, No. 88 Youkeyuan Road, Hongshan District, Wuhan 430074, China
  5. 5Prysmian Group, Parc des Industries Artois Flandres, Haisnes 62092, France

Correspondence: GF Li, Email: li@creol.ucf.edu; RA Correa, Email: r.amezcua@creol.ucf.edu

Received 26 October 2016; Revised 16 February 2017; Accepted 19 February 2017
Accepted article preview online 21 February 2017



The fibre-optic microwave photonic link has become one of the basic building blocks for microwave photonics. Increasing the optical power at the receiver is the best way to improve all link performance metrics including gain, noise figure and dynamic range. Even though lasers can produce and photodetectors can receive optical powers on the order of a Watt or more, the power-handling capability of optical fibres is orders-of-magnitude lower. In this paper, we propose and demonstrate the use of few-mode fibres to bridge this power-handling gap, exploiting their unique features of small acousto-optic effective area, large effective areas of optical modes, as well as orthogonality and walk-off among spatial modes. Using specially designed few-mode fibres, we demonstrate order-of-magnitude improvements in link performances for single-channel and multiplexed transmission. This work represents the first step in few-mode microwave photonics. The spatial degrees of freedom can also offer other functionalities such as large, tunable delays based on modal dispersion and wavelength-independent lossless signal combining, which are indispensable in microwave photonics.


analogue optic-fibre link; few-mode fibre; fibre nonlinearity; microwave photonics; space-division multiplexing