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Polarization Purity and Dispersion Characteristics of Nested Antiresonant Nodeless Hollow-Core Optical Fiber at Near- and Mid-IR Wavelengths for Quantum Communications

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posted on 2024-05-08, 16:00 authored by Ivi Afxenti, Lijun Yu, Taylor Shields, Daniele Faccio, Thomas Bradley, Lucia Caspani, Matteo Clerici, Adetunmise C. Dada
Advancements in quantum communication and sensing require improved optical transmission that ensures excellent state purity and reduced losses. While free-space optical communication is often preferred, its use becomes challenging over long distances due to beam divergence, atmospheric absorption, scattering, and turbulence, among other factors. In the case of polarization encoding, traditional silica-core optical fibers, though commonly used, struggle with maintaining state purity due to stress-induced birefringence. Hollow core fibers, and in particular nested antiresonant fibers (NANF), have recently been shown to possess unparalleled polarization purity with minimal birefringence in the telecom wavelength range using continuous-wave (CW) laser light. Here, we investigate a 1-km NANF designed for wavelengths up to the 2-{\mu}m waveband. Our results show a polarization extinction ratio between ~-30 dB and ~-70 dB across the 1520 to 1620 nm range in CW operation, peaking at ~-60 dB at the 2-{\mu}m design wavelength. Our study also includes the pulsed regime, providing insights beyond previous CW studies, e.g., on the propagation of broadband quantum states of light in NANF at 2 {\mu}m, and corresponding extinction-ratio-limited quantum bit-error rates (QBER) for prepare-measure and entanglement-based quantum key distribution (QKD) protocols. Our findings highlight the potential of these fibers in emerging applications such as QKD, pointing towards a new standard in optical quantum technologies.



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