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Polarization Mode Dispersion: Concepts and Measurement

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The performance of high-speed, digital fiber optic communications systems depends upon how reliably the receiver is able to distinguish closely spaced bits of information. Dispersive effects — physical mechanisms that broaden transmitted pulses — degrade this process.

Paul Hernday, Fiber Optic Measurement Training and Consulting

There are three fundamentally different dispersive phenomena in optical fiber, of which polarization mode dispersion (PMD) is the most complex. In digital multimode fiber systems, a light pulse separates into multiple spatial paths or modes. Each component reaches the receiver at a slightly different time (Figure 1), broadening the received pulse. Single-mode fiber solves the differential mode delay problem, allowing data rates to be increased until chromatic dispersion — the variation of propagation speed with wavelength — produces unacceptable pulse spreading. The amount of...Read full article

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