This paper describes the design and operation of a stable narrow-linewidth linearly polarized fiber ring laser using a polarization-maintaining (PM) erbium-doped fiber as a saturable absorber. The effect of the PM fiber on suppressing mode hopping is experimentally demonstrated and optimum conditions for single-mode operation are identified. Laser output power is ~ 4.7 mW at 1535 nm for a pump power of 94 mW, the polarization extinction ratio is 24.8 dB, the SNR is larger than 45 dB, the relative intensity noise is below -104 dB/Hz at frequencies above 150 kHz, and the linewidth is less than 1.5 kHz. Potential applications of the fiber laser for interferometric or spectroscopic fiber sensors are briefly discussed.
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