It is well known that when two optical waves with orthogonal polarizations are launched into a linear optical system (for example, single-mode fiber), in general, they will not remain orthogonal. In communications applications, such as polarization scrambling,1 this loss of orthogonality can be detrimental to performance. We derive a bound on the loss of orthogonality encountered and discuss its implications to polarization scrambling.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

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