We introduce a new type of optical-fiber Mach–Zehnder interferometer whose output depends on phase differentials or the time rate of change of the unknown phase-modulating signal. Whereas the actual phase excursion introduced by the signal could cause interference over several fringes in a conventional Mach–Zehnder interferometer, the differential phase shifts may be restricted to the linear range of the phase detector. Being of simple construction, the interferometer can be operated without active biasing, additional phase modulation, or complex signal-processing techniques. We analyze a prototype architecture to explain the principle of operation of the system and to derive design formulas. This is followed by experimental evaluation of a more practical configuration.
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