The performance of plastic optical fiber is greatly influenced by the related but distinct effects of mode coupling and differential modal attenuation (DMA). We establish a method for estimating the matrix that governs both of these effects and allows us to distinguish the two. We obtain partial quantitative estimates of this matrix for a particular graded-index plastic optical fiber (GI-POF). The sample we studied exhibited strong but incomplete mode coupling over 100-m lengths, while DMA was largely limited to a centerline defect. We show that much of the loss of the fiber can be attributed to mode coupling between mode groups with similar effective indexes.


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  1. T. Ishigure, M. Kano and Y. Koike, "Which is a more serious factor to the bandwidth of GI POF: Differential mode attenuation or mode coupling?", J. Lightwave Technol., vol. 18, pp. 959-965, July 2000.
  2. R. Olshansky, "Mode coupling effects in graded-index optical fibers", Appl. Opt., vol. 14, pp. 935-945, Apr. 1975.

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