Birefringence in optical fibers is compensated by applying polarization modulation at a receiver. Polarization modulation is applied so that a transmitted optical signal has states of polarization (SOPs) that are equally spaced on the Poincare sphere. Fiber birefringence encountered in propagation between a transmitter and a receiver rotates the great circle on the Poincare sphere that represents the polarization bases used for modulation. By adjusting received polarizations, polarization components of the received optical signal can be directed to corresponding detectors for decoding, regardless of the magnitude and orientation of the fiber birefringence. A transmitter can be configured to transmit in conjugate polarization bases whose SOPs can be represented as equidistant points on a great circle so that the received SOPs are mapped to equidistant points on a great circle and routed to corresponding detectors.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-AC52-06NA25396 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.