Abstract

Bessel beams carrying orbital angular momentum (OAM) with helical phase fronts exp(ilφ) (l=0;±1;±2;), where φ is the azimuthal angle and l corresponds to the topological number, are orthogonal with each other. This feature of Bessel beams provides a new dimension to code/decode data information on the OAM state of light, and the theoretical infinity of topological number enables possible high-dimensional structured light coding/decoding for free-space optical communications. Moreover, Bessel beams are nondiffracting beams having the ability to recover by themselves in the face of obstructions, which is important for free-space optical communications relying on line-of-sight operation. By utilizing the OAM and nondiffracting characteristics of Bessel beams, we experimentally demonstrate 12 m distance obstruction-free optical m-ary coding/decoding using visible Bessel beams in a free-space optical communication system. We also study the bit error rate (BER) performance of hexadecimal and 32-ary coding/decoding based on Bessel beams with different topological numbers. After receiving 500 symbols at the receiver side, a zero BER of hexadecimal coding/decoding is observed when the obstruction is placed along the propagation path of light.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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