HP Labs Technical Reports

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Attosecond-Resolution Measurement of Polarization Mode Dispersion in Short Sections of Optical Fiber

Heffner, Brian L.



Abstract: A new technique is presented for measurement of the differential group delay (DGD) between principal states of polarization of an optical device, with a demonstrated accuracy and resolution of 50 attoseconds (50 x 10(-18) s). Accuracy was directly assessed by measurement of a crystal quartz DGD standard. For the first time, this allows complete measurement of the polarization mode dispersion (PMD) of straight, sub-meter lengths of optical fiber. PMD can be reliably measured only when the fiber is straight, since spooling of the fiber changes its PMD by introducing additional mode coupling. Measurement of four fiber samples revealed correlation between DGD and fiber core ovality.

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