Abstract

In heterodyne communication systems and for some fiber-optic sensors the polarization-holding properties of polarization-maintaining single-mode fibers determine crucially the performance of the whole system. The performance is deteriorated mainly by mode coupling caused by fiber imperfections and a little by the anisotropy of the Rayleigh scattering process. The latter effect, however, contributes considerably to the depolarization of the backscattered signal. Thus in polarization-sensitive optical time-domain reflectometry (OTDR) measurements the polarization-holding capabilities of a fiber link can be misinterpreted. An OTDR setup that permits separate measurements for both effects is outlined, and experimental results for the amount of anisotropic scattering is given.

© 1986 Optical Society of America

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