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Opt Express. 2016 Aug 22;24(17):18948-59. doi: 10.1364/OE.24.018948.

Quantification of MDL-induced signal degradation in MIMO-OFDM mode-division multiplexing systems.


Mode-division multiplexing (MDM) transmission over few-mode optical fiber has emerged as a promising technology to enhance transmission capacity, in which multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) digital signal processing (DSP) after coherent detection is used to demultiplex the signals. Compared with conventional single-mode systems, MIMO-MDM systems suffer non-recoverable signal degradation induced by mode-dependent loss (MDL). In this paper, the MDL-induced signal degradation in orthogonal-frequency-division-multiplexing (OFDM) MDM systems is theoretically quantified in terms of mode-average error vector magnitude (EVM) through frequency domain norm analysis. A novel scalar MDL metric is proposed considering the probability distribution of the practical MDM input signals, and a closed-form expression for EVM measured after zero-force (ZF) MIMO equalization is derived. Simulation results show that the EVM estimations utilizing the novel MDL metric remain unbiased for unrepeated links. For a 6 × 100 km 20-mode MDM transmission system, the estimation accuracy is improved by more than 90% compared with that utilizing traditional condition number (CN) based MDL metric. The proposed MDL metric can be used to predict the MDL-induced SNR penalty in a theoretical manner, which will be beneficial for the design of practical MIMO-MDM systems.


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