HP Labs Technical Reports

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Automated Measurement of Polarization Mode Dispersion Using Jones Matrix Eigenanysis

Heffner, Brian L.



Abstract: Polarization mode dispersion (PMD), which can limit the bandwidth of optical transmission links, has been difficult to measure in a manner independent of human judgment, leading to difficulties in automating the measurement. We demonstrate for the first time that PMD in any linear, time invariant network can be completely characterized by eigenanalysis of Jones matrices measured at a series of discrete wavelengths, even for networks exhibiting polarization-dependent loss. A fast, automated system using a tunable laser and an accurate, real-time polarimeter affords temporal accuracy of approximately 2% down to a limit of several femtoseconds, as demonstrated by comparison with other techniques and comparison with known samples. Both the principal states of polarization and the group delay difference are measured as a function of optical frequency.

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