This Letter reports, to the best of our knowledge, the first study in which error-free four-level pulse-amplitude modulation (PAM-4) transmission has been achieved using a graded-index plastic optical fiber (GI POF) without the use of forward error correction (FEC) techniques, at a high data rate (>50 Gb/s), for short-reach applications (10 m). The GI POF that is developed has the characteristic microscopic heterogeneities in the fiber core material, which provide distinct mode coupling and significantly stabilize PAM-4 data transmission. The results of the study in this Letter indicate that the GI POF achieves highly stable PAM-4 transmission without the need for the current FEC techniques, which seriously increase the communication delay and power consumption of the transmission systems. Our GI POF material is paving the way for “material changes the system” approaches for achieving unprecedented optical interconnects in real time at a high speed and with low power consumption.
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