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Accurate spectral characterization of polarization-dependent loss



Rex M. Craig


Building on previous work, a rapid, automated, non-mechanical measurement system for spectral characterization of polarization-dependent loss (PDL) has been developed. A deterministic fixed-states Mueller/Stokes method in conjunction with real-time calibrated spectral information is used to derive wavelength-dependent Mueller matrix elements. Voltage-modulated liquid-crystal variable retarders set the input polarization states. A narrow, voltage-tuned filter generates a wavelength sweep from a broadband source; the sweep wavelength is calibrated in real-time by hydrogen cyanide reference lines. This rapid measurement system can produce PDL measurements over a 15 nm wavelength range in a few seconds. A complete uncertainty analysis has been conducted for PDL in the range of 0.05 to 0.3 dB with an expanded uncertainty 0.0098 dB over the 1535 to 1560 nm range. Performance was verified using a Fresnel reference. Finally, design and performance results from all-fiber artifact calibration standards are presented.
Journal of Lightwave Technology


Mueller matrix, PDL, polarization-dependent loss, spectral, wavelength-dependence


Craig, R. (2003), Accurate spectral characterization of polarization-dependent loss, Journal of Lightwave Technology, [online], (Accessed June 14, 2024)


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Created February 1, 2003, Updated February 19, 2017