We propose novel polarization splitters based on photonic crystal fibers (PCFs), in which the cores of the splitters are nearly nonbirefringent. Different from conventional fiber-based polarization splitters, the birefringence in the new splitters results mainly from narrow silica regions physically connecting the two cores. This means that polarization splitting can be achieved without employing highly birefringent cores, which provides a possibility to greatly simplify the structures of the PCF-based polarization splitters and make them more practical. A 5-mm-long splitter with an extinction ratio of 20 dB has been obtained. We also discuss how the silica regions influence coupling characteristics of the dual-core PCFs and present a design guidance for the polarization splitters based on polarization-dependent coupling.
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