Component birefringence can cause signal impairments in phase modulated optical links. At the transmitter, imperfect launch conditions couple phase modulation to unintended polarization modulation. At the receiver, polarization modulation creates spurious photocurrents due to birefringence in, and time delays between, interferometric paths. In this paper, we analyze such systems, and develop a formula for the photocurrent as a function of 11 system parameters. We utilize both the Jones description and our recent generalization of the Stokes description that includes optical phase, examine several special cases for phase modulated RF optical links, and evaluate some typical system performance issues.
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