Legacy optical fibers provide multidimensional communications

A new twist on quantum communication applying conventional optical fibers has been presented by a team of scientists from Johannesburg. To be more precise, it is possible to transmit numerous quantum patterns of twisted light across a standard optical fiber link that usually supports just one light pattern. Thus, such a novel application of fiber optic technology allows opening the way to protect the transport of quantum data across optical fiber networks, employing several dimensions of light.

The scientists produce several patterns of light passed through a single optical fiber by engineering entanglement in two degrees of freedom of light, polarization, and pattern. Therefore, the polarized photon goes through the fiber, while the other photon obtains access to the numerous light patterns.

The scientists have tested the developed fiber optic system and demonstrated that several patterns of light are available through a standard optical fiber that is able to support just a single pattern. It becomes possible due to the “quantum trick” by engineering the entanglement of two photons. The thing is the polarized photon is sent down the optical fiber line leading to the access of numerous other patterns with the other photon.

Moreover, the scientists have succeeded in the manipulation of the photon qualities on the inside of the optical fibers by transforming the qualities of its entangled counterpart in free space. “In essence, the research introduces the concept of communicating across legacy fiber optic networks with multidimensional entangled states, bringing together the advantages of existing quantum communication with polarized photons with that of high-dimension communication using patterns of light.”

It should be noted that it is required to pay careful attention to the fact that spatial modes of light enable higher data capacity per photon because spatial mode entanglement transport needs for custom multimode optical fiber, herewith, it has limits in decoherence-induced mode coupling. The solution to balance these extremes is considered to combine polarization qubits with high-dimensional spatial modes to produce multi-dimensional hybrid quantum states in the fiber optic system.

The one photon has to be twisted in polarization resulting in twisting the other in the pattern causing “spirally light”, which is entangled in two degrees of freedom.  Nevertheless, it is possible to transmit the photon down the long-distance single-mode optical fiber because it has just one pattern, herein, it is real to measure the twisted light photon without fiber optics, having multidimensional twisted patterns in the free space.

The operation of the fiber optic system has been presented and shows the transfer of multidimensional entanglement states over 250 meters of single-mode optical fiber, demonstrating that an infinite number of two-dimensional subspaces could be realized. Such fiber optic technology enables legacy networks to be utilized.

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