Spatial Mode Division Multiplexing of Free-Space Optical Communications Using a Pair of Multiplane Light Converters and a Micromirror Array for Turbulence Emulation


Multi-plane light converters (MPLC) are a means of deconstructing a wavefront into constituent modes that are focused at specific spatial locations, and the reverse—that specific inputs result in controlled modal output. We have used a pair of MPLCs with 21 Hermite–Gaussian modes to represent a free-space optical connection. The effects of strong atmospheric turbulence (Cn2 = 10−13 m−2/3) are emulated using a micromirror array producing a time sequence of aberrating frames. The modal crosstalk between transmitter and receiver modes induced by the turbulence is presented by measuring the intensity in receiver channels for the same turbulence. Six receiver modes are used for optical communication channels with a rate of 137 Gbits/s displaying the benefits of single input multiple output (SIMO) operation for overcoming the deleterious effects of turbulence.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > Aston Institute of Photonics Technology (AIPT)
Funding Information: This work was funded by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/T009047/1 and EP/S016171/1) and by H2020Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (713694).
Additional Information: Copyright © 2024 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative CommonsAttribution (CC BY) license (
Uncontrolled Keywords: spatial division multiplexing,free-space optical communications,DMD,spatial modes,SIMO,turbulence
Publication ISSN: 2304-6732
Last Modified: 20 May 2024 17:27
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2024 17:52
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Related URLs: https://www.mdp ... 4-6732/11/3/241 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2024-03-06
Published Online Date: 2024-03-06
Accepted Date: 2024-03-04
Authors: Benton, David (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-0663-1404)
Li, Yiming (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-9442-2591)
Billaud, Antonin
Ellis, Andrew (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-0417-0547)



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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