Abstract

Rayleigh scattering (RS) adds noise to signals that are transmitted over optical fibers and other optical waveguides. This noise can be the dominant noise source in a range between 10 Hz and 100 kHz from the carrier and can seriously degrade the performance of optical systems that require low close-in noise. Using heterodyne techniques, we demonstrate that the backscattered close-in noise spectrum in optical fibers is symmetric about the carrier and grows linearly with both input power and fiber length. These results indicate that the RS is spontaneous and is due to finite-lifetime thermal fluctuations in the glass.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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