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Polarization-maintaining optical fiber(1)

Date: 2014-02-12 Source: Read: 0

In fiber optics, polarization-maintaining optical fiber (PMF or PM fiber) is a single-mode optical fiber in which linearly polarized light, if properly launched into the fiber, maintains a linear polarization during propagation, exiting the fiber in a specific linear polarization state; there is little or no cross-coupling of optical power between the two polarization modes. Such fiber is used in special applications where preserving polarization is essential.

Polarization crosstalk

In an ordinary (non-polarization-maintaining) fiber, two polarization modes (say vertical and horizontal polarization) have the same nominal phase velocity due to the fiber's circular symmetry. However tiny amounts of random birefringence in such a fiber, or bending in the fiber, will cause a tiny amount of crosstalk from the vertical to the horizontal polarization mode. And since even a short portion of fiber, over which a tiny coupling coefficient may apply, is many thousands of wavelengths long, even that small coupling between the two polarization modes, applied coherently, can lead to a large power transfer to the horizontal mode, completely changing the wave's net state of polarization. Since that coupling coefficient was unintended and a result of arbitrary stress or bending applied to fiber, the output state of polarization will itself be random, and will vary as those stresses or bends vary; it will also vary with wavelength.


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