Compensation of Laser Phase Noise Using DSP in Multichannel Fiber-Optic Communications

Abstract: One of the main impairments that limit the throughput of fiber-optic communication systems is laser phase noise, where the phase of the laser output drifts with time. This impairment can be highly correlated across channels that share lasers in multichannel fiber-optic systems based on, e.g., wavelength-division multiplexing using frequency combs or space-division multiplexing. In this thesis, potential improvements in the system tolerance to laser phase noise that are obtained through the use of joint-channel digital signal processing are investigated. To accomplish this, a simple multichannel phase-noise model is proposed, in which the phase noise is arbitrarily correlated across the channels. Using this model, high-performance pilot-aided phase-noise compensation and data-detection algorithms are designed for multichannel fiber-optic systems using Bayesian-inference frameworks. Through Monte Carlo simulations of coded transmission in the presence of moderate laser phase noise, it is shown that joint-channel processing can yield close to a 1 dB improvement in power efficiency. It is further shown that the algorithms are highly dependent on the positions of pilots across time and channels. Hence, the problem of identifying effective pilot distributions is studied. The proposed phase-noise model and algorithms are validated using experimental data based on uncoded space-division multiplexed transmission through a weakly-coupled, homogeneous, single-mode, 3-core fiber. It is found that the performance improvements predicted by simulations based on the model are reasonably close to the experimental results. Moreover, joint-channel processing is found to increase the maximum tolerable transmission distance by up to 10% for practical pilot rates. Various phenomena decorrelate the laser phase noise between channels in multichannel transmission, reducing the potency of schemes that exploit this correlation. One such phenomenon is intercore skew, where the spatial channels experience different propagation velocities. The effect of intercore skew on the performance of joint-core phase-noise compensation is studied. Assuming that the channels are aligned in the receiver, joint-core processing is found to be beneficial in the presence of skew if the linewidth of the local oscillator is lower than the light-source laser linewidth. In the case that the laser phase noise is completely uncorrelated across channels in multichannel transmission, it is shown that the system performance can be improved by applying transmitter-side multidimensional signal rotations. This is found by numerically optimizing rotations of four-dimensional signals that are transmitted through two channels. Structured four-dimensional rotations based on Hadamard matrices are found to be near-optimal. Moreover, in the case of high signal-to-noise ratios and high signal dimensionalities, Hadamard-based rotations are found to increase the achievable information rate by up to 0.25 bits per complex symbol for transmission of higher-order modulations.