We experimentally demonstrate the operation of a low-birefringence (low-bi) nonlinear-optical loop mirror (NOLM) that has the advantages of low switching energy, tolerance to timing jitter, and cascadability. Because cascading two all-optical logic gates is an important step toward high-speed optical signal processing and header processing in time-division-multiplexed networks, we also demonstrate the cascaded operation of two low-bi NOLM’s. Using a passively mode-locked fiber laser that produces 450-fs pulses at a wavelength of 1.55 μm, we achieve a 10.7:1 switching contrast ratio and a 2.7-pulse-widths-wide timing window after the cascaded gates. The results agree well with theoretical predictions and confirm the advantages of the long interaction length associated with orthogonally polarized pulses in low-bi (Δn ~ 3.0 × 10−6) polarization-maintaining fiber.
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