We experimentally demonstrate that a graded-index plastic optical fiber (GI POF) can significantly reduce transmitted signal distortion caused by the nonlinear response of a multimode fiber (MMF) link based on a vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL). The low distortion of the signal transmission is attributed to the strong mode coupling in the GI POF, which suppresses the increment in signal distortion due to the external optical feedback, by reducing the self-coupling of problematic back-reflected light into the VCSEL cavity. The strong mode coupling is closely associated with polymer-specific microscopic heterogeneous structures in the fiber core materials, suggesting that the signal distortion can be further reduced by controlling the microscopic properties. The nonlinear distortion reduction effect of our developed GI POF will be invaluable for next-generation MMF links based on multilevel modulation in the ultrahigh-definition era.
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