We report the results of detailed measurements on the Brillouin frequency shift (BFS), gain bandwidth, and gain coefficients of several small-core holey optical fibers (HFs) of both uniform and axially varying structural characteristics and compare these with measurements on more conventional fibers. Our measurements show that the BFS of HFs is first-order proportional to the modal index for light propagating along the fiber and is thus extremely sensitive to its precise structural parameters. Our results highlight the possibility of using distributed Brillouin scattering measurements to perform nondestructive structural characterization of HFs, and the possibility of producing Brillouin-suppressed HFs using controlled structural variation along the fiber length.
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