Single-mode (SM) fiber which is used in the sensing coil of depolarized interferometric fiber-optic gyroscopes (IFOG's) does not maintain the polarization state of light. As a consequence, the state of polarization evolves freely over the length of the sensing coil and over environment. The polarization evolution is induced by birefringence within the SM coil. Variations of this birefringence may lead to nonreciprocal errors whose treatment is presented in this paper together with signal fading and the mean wavelength stability. Thus, this treatment provides a relatively comprehensive analysis of polarization evolution in depolarized gyroscopes. The analysis leads to the conclusion that the depolarized gyro architecture with two depolarizers on the opposite sides of the gyro loop must be used to obtain low-drift behavior.
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