New services and applications are causing an exponential increase in Internet traffic. In a few years, the current fiber optic communication system infrastructure will not be able to meet this demand because fiber nonlinearity dramatically limits the information transmission rate. Eigenvalue communication could potentially overcome these limitations. It relies on a mathematical technique called “nonlinear Fourier transform (NFT)” to exploit the “hidden” linearity of the nonlinear Schrödinger equation as the master model for signal propagation in an optical fiber. We present here the theoretical tools describing the NFT for the Manakov system and report on experimental transmission results for dual polarization in fiber optic eigenvalue communications. A transmission of up to 373.5 km with a bit error rate less than the hard-decision forward error correction threshold has been achieved. Our results demonstrate that dual-polarization NFT can work in practice and enable an increased spectral efficiency in NFT-based communication systems, which are currently based on single polarization channels.
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