Frequency-selective polarimeters measure the state of polarization of the individual spectral components of a modulated optical signal. They can be used either as stand-alone measuring devices or as parts of adaptive polarization-mode dispersion (PMD) compensators. This paper presents a novel frequency-selective polarimeter based on coherent detection, which has superior accuracy compared to previously proposed direct detection-based counterparts. This is due to the high-frequency resolution and power sensitivity of coherent detection,features that minimize the systematic and random error, respectively, in the measurement of the state of polarization of the individual spectral components of the received optical signal. The accuracy of the measurement is independent of the received signal bit rate and modulation format. The proposed frequency-selective polarimeter is studied both theoretically and experimentally. The primary theoretical contribution of this paper is a unified formalism, which allows the modeling of both direct and coherent detection-based frequency-selective polarimeters. Analytical expressions for the output signal of both types of frequency-selective polarimeters are derived. Based on these expressions,a common algorithm is proposed for the evaluation of the Stokes parameters. In addition, an example error signal is used as a metric in order to test the agreement of the theoretical model with the experimental measurements. The successful operation of the coherent frequency-selective polarimeter is demonstrated experimentally for a 10-Gb/s intensity-modulated nonreturn-to-zero (NRZ) optical signal in the presence of first-order polarization-mode dispersion. There is an excellent agreement between theory and experiment.
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