A polarization optical low coherence reflectometer (POLCR) is described that enables us to excite only the transverse electric (TE) mode of a test waveguide and to measure its Rayleigh backscatter signal distributions in the TE and transverse magnetic (TM) modes at a spatial resolution of 0.3 mm. The depolarization ratios of silica-based waveguides with relative refractive index differences of \Delta = 0.45 and 0.75% are obtained as 0.14 and 0.10, respectively, by measuring the bias in the ratio between the distributions in the TM and TE modes of each waveguide. By using the depolarization ratios and the Rayleigh backscatter signal levels, we calculate the ultimate polarization crosstalks to be {-}53 and {-}51 dB over 1 km, respectively. The actual polarization crosstalks of previously fabricated waveguides are about 50 dB higher than their ultimate limits for the same length of fiber.


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  1. M. Nakazawa, M. Tokuda, and Y. Negishi, "Measurement of polarization mode coupling along a polarization-maintaining optical fiber using a backscattering technique," Opt. Lett., vol. 8, pp. 546-548, 1983.

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