Polarization mode dispersion (PMD) has emerged as a critical limitation in ≥10-Gbit/s/ channel optical communication systems due to either high-PMD legacy fiber or PMD of many in-line components. PMD is characterized as being a random stochastic process for which the system degrading effects change with many environmental conditions. For such systems, PMD compen-sators would be needed to reduce the probability of network outage. Typically, a first-order PMD compensator is composed of a polarization con troller, a differential-group-delay (DGD) element, a PMD monitor, and a control feedback loop. The feedback loop is necessary to rotate the state-of-polarization (SOP) of the incoming signal to optimally align to the DGD element.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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