The propagation of pulses in optical fibers with polarization mode dispersion (PMD) is considered. The approach taken differs from those previously used, adapting Marcuse's perturbation method to analyze pulse dispersion rather than using Jones matrices or Stokes parameters. This allows the complex stochastic partial differential equations to be reduced to a simple propagation equation for the pulse power. This may be solved to obtain the transfer function of the fiber. The impact of PMD on optical fiber communications systems is considered, with the effect on pulsewidth and eye closure calculated. Finally,the statistical behavior of the phenomenon is considered to calculate the system outage probability due to PMD.
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