The paper develops a statistical model for the signals received in phase-sensitive optical time domain reflectometry (OTDR) probed by highly coherent sources. The backscattering process is modelled by a set of discrete scatterers with properly chosen parameters. Explicit equations for calculating the amplitude and the phase of the backscattered signal are obtained. The developed model predicts spectral and autocorrelation characteristics of the amplitude signals that are validated by experimental results. Characteristics of the phase signals, practicable for studying the sensing applications of the OTDR system, are presented and studied as well, demonstrating good correspondence with experiment. A more detailed modelling of distributed vibration sensing systems and their response to disturbances along an optical fiber will be possible as an extension of the developed formalism.
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