Abstract

A general theory is used to describe the correlation properties of polarization mode dispersion (PMD) in a birefringent, linear, dispersive medium such as optical fibers. The theory includes the effects of frequency dependence of birefringence on all orders, and it is capable of providing statistical information about second- and higher-order correlations among the polarization and PMD vectors. We apply the general theory to study pulse broadening induced by different-order PMD and PMD-induced pulse distortion through the third- and fourth-order temporal moments (related to skewness and flatness, respectively). Our analytic results are in good agreement with numerical simulations.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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