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This work presents the first field trial using the return-to-zero differential-phase-shift-keying (RZ-DPSK) modulation format. A 96/spl times/10-Gb/s RZ-DPSK field trial was conducted over a 13 100-km optical undersea path by double passing the installed 6550-km underwater link which was deployed with non-slope-matched submarine fibers. All channels performed with more than a 3-dB forward-error correction margin, including channels that accumulated over /spl plusmn/13 000ps/nm of dispersion. It is also shown that the RZ-DPSK format has similar residual dispersion and channel power tolerance for both slope-matched and non-slope-matched fibers. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that the chirped RZ-DPSK format could further improve system performance by 1-2 dB.