When an optical pulse propagates along an optical fibre, different wavelengths travel at different group velocities. As a result, wavelength information is converted into arrival-time information, a process known as wavelength-to-time mapping. This phenomenon is most cleanly observed using a single-mode fibre transmission line, where spatial mode dispersion is not present, but the use of such fibres restricts possible applications. Here we demonstrate that photonic lanterns based on tapered single-mode multicore fibres provide an efficient way to couple multimode light to an array of single-photon avalanche detectors, each of which has its own time-to-digital converter for time-correlated single-photon counting. Exploiting this capability, we demonstrate the multiplexed single-mode wavelength-to-time mapping of multimode light using a multicore fibre photonic lantern with 121 single-mode cores, coupled to 121 detectors on a 32 × 32 detector array. This work paves the way to efficient multimode wavelength-to-time mapping systems with the spectral performance of single-mode systems.
- Electrical and electronic engineering
- Fibre optics and optical communications
- Optical techniques