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Fiber Bragg Grating Polarizer

P. Torres, L. C. G. Valente, L. C. B. Linares, and J. P. von der Weid

Each of the above-described approaches is not fully satisfactory. For example, the approach utilizing special polarizing fiber implies the use of several meters of a fiber that is rather expensive. Furthermore, a problem that is common to approaches based on the use of special fibers is the coupling efficiency of light from a standard telecomm fiber to the polarizing fiber. The approaches that utilize technologies developed to fabricate polished fiber couplers or D-shaped fibers suffer from the problem that very wellcontrolled film deposition and cladding thickness are required. Fiber Bragg gratings (FBG) have been under considerable investigations recently. Some of the latest applications of FBG include dispersion compensators [ I , 21 multiplexer/ demultiplexer elements for wave division multiplexing systems (WDM) [3-4], sensors [6], high reflectors for laser cavities [7], and all fiber polarimeter [SI. In this paper the principle of operation and experimental demonstration of a fiber polarizer based on birefringence effects induced by a transverse force applied to a small section of an FBG is presented. An optical fiber that incorporates a grating to polarize the propagating light has been presented in 191. which present a single polarization fiberiamplifier that includes a non polarization-preserving fiber with a grating tap incorporated therein. The grating tap is described as being oriented at a special angle, with a specific grating period, strength and length. This structure taps out one polarization while transmitting the second polarization as an output light from the optical fiber. Although provides linearly polarized light. guided in a normal optical fiber, rather than special fiber as described above, polarization is attained by Brewster angle reflection. As a result, there is a disadvantage in that light in the rejected polarization state is coupled out of the fiber and cannot be used.

optical fiber polarizer is constructed with a fiber Bragg grating (FBG) based on birefringence effects induced by a transverse force applied to a section of the grating. In this work we present the principle of operation and experimental results of this device. We show how this fiber polarizer can he used in transmission mode if the affected region of the grating is about one percent of the grating length. When the affected region of the grating is equal to or greater than 10 percent, the grating is a good candidate as polarizer in reflection mode, in a configuration completely different from the first one. Both configurations can he spectrally tuned according to the applied force andlor pressed region along the grating.
Abstract Index Terms - Gratings, local pressure, optical fiber devices, phase shifts, polarization.

- An


In many applications, it is important to obtain light in a pure state of polarization while, at the same time, keeping the light guided inside the core of an optical fiber. In one important application, for example,-there is a need to adjust the polarization of light prior to sending the light to an external electro-optical modulator. One known approach to providing linearly polarized light in an optical fiber is to utilize a special polarizing fiber. In such fiber, one state of polarization experiences a very high loss while the other state suffers relatively low losses. According to the manufacturer, a straight, several meters long, special fiber is capable of obtaining a 20 dB extinction ratio, while coiling the same length in a, few centimeter diameter, rod provides an extinction ratio of over 40 dB. Other approaches for providing an in-line polarizer employ technology utilized to fabricate polished couplers or D-shaped fibers. In these alternative approaches, the flat part of the fiber is coated with different layers, which include a buffer layer and a metallic absorbing layer.


Manuscript received on March 25, 2003. This work was suppalted in

pan by DIME (National University of Colombia) and ANP (Brazilian

Petroleum Agency). P. Torres is with the Physics School, Univenidad Nacional de Colombia Sede Medellin. A. A. 3840 Medellin. Colombia (e-mail pitorrcs@unalmed.educo). L. C. G . Valente is with the Mechanical Engineering Department, Pontificia Universidade Catdlica do Rio de Janeiro, 22452-970 Ria de Janeiro, Brazil (e-mail: L. C. B. Linares and J. P. Von der Weid are with the Center far Telecommunications Studies. Pontificia Univcrsidade Catdlica do Ria de Janeiro, 22453-900 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Based on our previous research work [IO, I I], it is known to he possible to have different reflection spectra for two orthogonal polarization states of light if a FBG is subjected to a lateral force. When an optical fiber is laterally pressed, refraction index is altered, changing the Bragg reflection wavelength of a FBG. The Bragg reflection wavelength changes AXa at any point of the disturbed FBG caused by transverse applied loads, under the plane strain approximation, are given by


0-7803-7824-5/03/S 17.00 02003 IEEE


Proceedings SBMO/IEEE MTT-S IMOC 2003

where n, is the effective refractive index of fundamental mode; Pll and P,? are the photoelastic coefficients of the are the strain undisturbed optical fiber; and &x, E, components in the transversal direction to fiber axis. To model a locally pressed FBG we follow the procedure presented in [I I], considering the grating formed by three sections. being one of them with the Bragg reflection wavelength shifted, and using the transmission matrix method. The value of Aha for one polarization (AhBtor AhB,) was adjusted until the desired transmission condition was attained. Hence, by using (l), AhB for the other polarization could also he simulated. Fig. 1 shows the polarization factor when a wavelength increase AhBy=2nm is considered. This factor is defined as F = Tr - T,. , where T, and T, are the transmission of the grating for the light polarization on x and y axes respectively. In case (a), we can see that is possible to have an intraband spectral hole in the reflectance spectrum for one polarization, with no destructive interference for the other polarization. In this case, the small pressed length is not long enough to present significant reflectivity by itself such that the applied force introduces a phase difference between two long parts of the grating separated by a small pressed region. In case (b), the pressed portion of the FBG is 210% of the grating length, a main loss peak and a secondary loss peak can he observed that correspond to the fast and slow axes of the pressed region. In this case, the pressed region has to be sufficient to present a strong reflectivity by itself, i.e., the pressed region will act as an asymmetric grating. As a result, light in the rejected polarization state is guided backwards in the fiber, becoming possible to utilize it, if desired. Furthermore, the FBG polarizer operates at two spectral bands with reversed effects for each polarization state. In other words, in a first operating band, polarization state v , will he transmitted and polarization state x will be reflected; while in a second operation band, the effect will be the opposite, where x is defined as the direction along the applied force. In general, as FBG reflectivity is normally not loo%, the reflected light will have a higher level of polarization. The FBG can be unchirped or chirped. When the FBG is chirped, the polarization effects takes place within a narrow wavelength window but it can be continuously tuned along the chirped grating reflection spectrum [12]. By controlling the applied force, the FBG polarizer can easily be switched on or off for the desired wavelength by applying or releasing the force.

.I 1528 1529 1530











Wavelength (nrn)
Fig. I.Polarization factor estimated for a presscd region (a) 1=0.2 mm and (b) /=IO mm o f a 4-cm-long unapodired grating with a index change of 2 . 5 ~ 1 and 0 ~ a chirp of -45 pdmm. In both cases il was considered a wavelength increase M8?=2 nm.


I ,

Pressed region

fig. 2. Experimental set-up used to demonstrated the fiber Bragg p t i n g polarizer. PES:polarizing bcam splitter.


To demonstrate the FBG polarizer in the first condition, the set-up illustrated in Fig. 2 was developed. Local pressure is provided by an element, which consists of an 8-

mm radius stainless steel cylinder. A polarizing beam splitter cube was included in order to have control of the light polarization in the FBG. The spectral changes in the grating were registered using a tunable DFB laser synchronized with an OSA. The light polarization of the laser was adjusted at 4 5 O with relation to the axis along which the force is being applied. In this case a small section (-200 pm) of a 4-cm chirped FBG was perturbed with a Force of 335 gf. Fig. 3 shows the original transmission spectrum of the grating used, having a I .54-nm band gap centered at 1540.5 nm, and the polarization factor when the external force is applied. This result confirms that it is possible to have an intraband spectral hole in the reflectance spectrum for y component, with no changes for x component. With the grating used it was possible to decrease the reflection for y-polarized light in above 50% at a wavelength of 1540.63 tun, being possible to achieve


S 8 0 .-

0.60 0.45 0.30 0.15 0.00


y .








1539.9 1540.2 1540.5








Wavelength (nm)
Fig. 3. (a) Original transmission spectmm of the used 4-cm long chirped FBG. (b) Polarization factor when a region !=0.2 m m is pressed with force of 335 gf. In (h), the results corresponding to grating hand gap.

Wavelength (nm)
Fig. 4. (a) Original transmission spectmm of the used unchirpcd FBG. (b) Polarization Factor when the entire gating length is under a stms of 40 kgficm.

higher level with a highly photosensitive fiber in order to achieve high coupling in the grating. By scanning the pressure element along the grating with the same strength, it is possible to operate the device through all the grating band gap. To demonstrate the FBG polarizer in the second condition, Le., when the perturbed section is 210% of the grating length, an unchirped FBG was pressed by using a probe with piezoelectric activation. In this case, the polarizing beam splitter cube was replaced by a polarization controller and the ASE emission of an EDFA was used as the broadband optical source. Fig. 4 shows the original spectrum of the grating used and the polarization factor when the entire grating length is under an estimated stress of 40 kgficm. Two loss peaks are generated in the spectral response, corresponding to the fast and slow axes of the entire grating, with a polarization splitting of -700 pm and a bandwidth of -700 pm each one. The corresponding polarization factor F indicates a transmission (reflectivity) near to 100% for x polarization and 75% for y polarization. With these results, it can be said that the grating is a good candidate as a reflection polarizer long wavelength peak. As the position of the secondaly loss peak is a function of the applied force [I I], the spectral tuning will be accomplished by varying the applied force.

to a section of the FBG. If the affected region of the grating is small, on the order of 1% of the grating length, an increase in the transmission inside the grating band gap can be obtained for one polarization. When the affected region of the grating is >IO%, in this case loo%, the grating is a good candidate as a polarizer at the wavelength of the second peak. This work also shows that moderate forces can be used to form this grating device in reflection or transmission mode.
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We have shown the principle of operation and experimental results of a FBG polarizer based on birefringence effects induced by a transverse force applied

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[ I Ij

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