OPTICS LETTERS / Vol. 8, No. 12 / December 1983

Birefringent-fiber polarization coupler
R. C. Youngquist,

1.L. Brooks, and H. J.Shaw

Edward L. Ginzton Laboratory, Stanford University, California 94305
Received August 10, 1983 Periodically stressing a birefringent fiber once per beat length can cause coherent coupling to occur between polarization modes. Such a birefringent-fiber polarization coupler is described here. More than 30 dB of power transfer between polarizations has been achieved. The device has been used as the output coupler of an in-line Mach-

Zehnder interferometer, and better than 25-dB on/off extinction has been measured. The device is wavelength
selective and can be used as a multiplexer or as a notch filter. been achieved with a 60-period comb structure. A notch of 9-nm full width at half-maximum has

Birefringent fiber maintains two linear orthogonal polarizations along its length.1' 2 This property makes it
attractive for use in fiber-optic systems, in which polarization-dependent errors or offsets can occur. 3' 4

magnitude of the total fiber birefringence An. The
angle 0 is given by 0


Polarization-dependent errors in fiber gyroscopes can
be removed by using birefringent fiber, as was demon-

2+An 2


+ if



strated by Burns et al. 5 In systems such as this, only one of the polarization axes is used, but there are birefringent fiber systems in which both axes can be used, such as in an in-line Mach-Zehnder interferometer.
For double-axis systems a device that couples the light

The total birefringence An is assumed to be constant with wavelength and can be measured by directly observing the beat length L = X/(An) of the fiber at a known vacuum wavelength X. The fiber used in the
experiments had a measured An = 7.4 X 10-4. Light originally polarized along the x axis will de-

in the two polarizations in a phase-preserving manner would be required. In this Letter such a birefringentfiber polarization coupler is described. The device is based on the principle of achieving phase matching between states of different propagation velocities 6 through periodic coupling. This principle has been demonstrated in both bulk7 and integrated optics.8 Birefringent fiber has two orthogonal polarization
axes, labeled x and y in Fig. 1. Typically, for highly

compose into components polarized along the primed
axes when entering a squeezed region, as shown in Fig.

1. The relative phase of the light in the two polarizations will change by 7rrad in half a beat length. If at this distance the force on the fiber is removed, the light
will decompose back into components along the original

birefringent fiber, light propagating down one of the
axes will not couple appreciably to the other axis. It has

axes with an amount cos2(20) in the x polarization and sin2 (20) in the y polarization. After the light has traveled another L/2 distance, the proper phase relationship in the two axes will be established such that a
second pressure region will cause further power transfer.

been demonstrated that an additional birefringence, Anp, can be induced by applying pressure to the fiber.9
This birefringence is given by

Anp = an3 CfI2d,
where a is a constant equal to 1.58 for round fiber, n is the mean refractive index of the fiber, C is a photoelastic

coefficient, f is the force per unit length applied to the fiber, and d is the fiber diameter. In calculations, the
values n = 1.46, C = 5 X 10-12 (mks), and d = 65 Am were used. For small forces the additional birefringence

can be treated as a perturbation to the fiber's normal polarization-preserving birefringence. For the purpose
of analysis it is assumed that the applied force is at 450 to the fiber axes. However, the angle is not critical, and deviations from 450 can be adjusted for by increasing

the applied force. The first-order result of the perturbation birefringence is rotation of the fiber's original axes through a small angle 0, as shown in Fig. 1. This
Fig. 1. On application of a small force to a birefringent fiber,

small birefringence does not significantly change the

the principal polarization axes x and y rotate by an angle 0 to become new principal polarizations x' and y'.
© 1983, Optical Society of America

Schematic diagram of the experimental setup. Light polarized along a principal axis was launched into a 49-cm length of el- liptical-core birefringent fiber. A device in the form of a comb structure.77 N (180 26 rad. The fiber jacket was removed in order to expose the fiber directly to the ridges. if the beat length L is 0. a coupling ratio greater than 32 dB was achieved. a force of 1.1)N sin 2NO ( 1 )N cos 2NO ] The comb coupler must be designed for a particular wavelength because the beat length of the light in the fiber is not constant as a function of wavelength.December 1983 / Vol.813 mm and the parameters given above are used. When 7r the device is used at a different wavelength.. When the comb structure was placed upon the fiber and pressure applied. 3: the device was set to approximately 50/50 coupling. was constructed to produce periodic pressure regions in the fiber.16 cm. No loss was observed to within laser noise (-2%). Consequently.. For large N (>5) this optimal force is given by 3 F . 2.cos 2 Oet26 sin 0 cos 0(1 + ei2 ) [-sin 0 cos 0(1 + g) would be needed for complete coupling. A dynamic range of greater than 25 dB was measured as the fiber was thermally expanded and contracted. 8. Delrin is more pliable than silica and thus avoids damaging the fiber. For a single L/2-length stressed region and L/2 unstressed region. This ratio was observed with 10 ridges at 633 nm and with 30 and 60 ridges at approximately 608 nm.cos 2 det12 6 Fig. . shift AO over a ridge length changes from 7r Therefore complete coupling from one polarization to the other can be achieved by applying a force F to the N ridges such that 2NO = Ir/2. a Jones matrix T can be written to describe the amplitude polarization transformation of this structure: T -cos 20 -sin 20 sin 26 -cos 20] The input polarizer was then rotated 450 so that light was launched equally down the two polarization axes. Assuming proper weighting of the ridges so that 2Nd = 7r/2.41 mm wide. A coupling ratio for the device is defined as -10 log(power not coupled/power coupled).\/sfAnLdir/4an C. Birefringent fiber polarization coupler. complete power transfer can no longer take place.2 N (220 g). Plastic ridges are used to produce periodic pressure regions in the fiber. which have different phase shifts in response to thermal changes. the transfer matrix over a single ridge and gap period becomes T = [sin2 0 . No. Each ridge is 0. and there are 0.41-mm gaps between adjacent ridges. Fig. The bottom plate consists of polished metal and the top plate of N square ridges cut in Delrin (a plastic). 2. possibly because of destructive interference of the scattered light. Refer to Fig. The device suffers from stability problems resulting from material fatigue or relaxation. as shown in e-i 2 6 ) sin 2 0 . The phase dependence of the birefringent-fiber polarization coupler can be seen by its use in a MachZehnder interferometer configuration. With a polarizer at the output an extinction ratio between the fiber polarizations of 19 dB was achieved regardless of wavelength. The experimental configuration used to evaluate the device is shown in Fig. 3. The total device length is 10. 3. This demonstrates that the device couples amplitude and can be used in interferometric systems. 12 / OPTICS LETTERS 657 fiber having loss of more than 150 dB/km). At certain wavelengths the extinction ratio reached 32 dB. This limit may be set by scattering loss in the fiber (an early Fig. the phase rad to + For example. A complete in-line Mach-Zehnder interferometer could be constructed by placing two of the devices in series on a single length of fiber.i1)N cos 2NO (_ l) N+ I sin 2NO] (_. A rotatable notched cylinder at each end of the device allows the fiber to be positioned such that the polarization axes are If the light is originally launched in only one polariza- at about 450 to the applied force. The loss was measured by summing both polarization intensities at the fiber output while operating the device. Repeating such a structure N times yields a total polarization-transformation matrix TN - [(. typically with a force of about 2. The fiber is squeezed between two plates. Three dowel pins serve to guide the plastic plate and to minimize rocking of the ridges on the fiber.

. Giallorenzi. and M. A full width at half-maximum of 9 nm has been measured with a 60ridge device. 744 (1969). Moeller. R. 3. The deviceis wavelengthdependent and thus has potential use as a multiplexer or filter. Ulrich and M. "Waveguide electro-optic nication. Moeller. Harris and R. Burns. Miller. H. R. after N ridges the fractional power coupled into the second polarization is given by IK 12. QE-18. Quantum Electron. A birefringent-fiber polarization coupler has been described. Lett. E. 626 (1982). 7. 655 (1981). 153 (1979)." Appl. R. Buchard. "In-line fiber-optical polarization transformer.. "Polarization properties of single-polarization fibers. However. of angstroms in the fiber diameter and ridge height and can be dealt with by constructing individually weighted 9. With a total force of approximately 2..where K = -sin 0 - cos 0(1 + e-i2b) [i(1. J. C. Johnson." in Digest of Topical Meeting on Optical Fiber CommuNew Orleans. ridges. S. The full width at half-maximum is theoretically approximately X/N. 4 and agree quite Jr. 5. The device used was a 60ridge coupler with a center wavelength of 609 nm. The dependence of coupling on wavelength was investigated experimentally by using a dye laser tunable between 569 and 614 nm." Opt. This research was supported by Litton Systems. Lett. 1801 (1968). well with theory for the central notch. This unequal pressure was probably caused by variations on the order polarization transformer. Inc. "Fiber-ring interferometer: polarization analysis. U 0 M -15 o -20W -325 0a. C. W." Appl. C. H. The device is an amplitude coupler and can be used in the construction of an in-line Mach-Zehnder interferometer. Lett. Okamato._ cos 2 -1 | The authors wish to thank Keith Doty for fabricating the various ridged devicesand Andrew Corporation for supplying the birefringent fiber. the sidelobes were higher than predicted because of uneven pressure of the ridges on the fiber. Edakiro." Bell Syst. S. Figure 4 shows the theoretical curve (solid line) of the light left uncoupled for a 60-ridge device applied with uniform optimal pressure. 4. Sigel. 4. Phys. Theoretical curve and experimental data of power that stays in the original polarization as a function of wavelength. No.. W. 12 / December 1983 o 10 -jW a. T. C. A. "Acousto-optic tunable filter. A. Lett. Rashleigh. Villarruel. The reference beam was aligned at a shallow angle to the signal beam so that the reflection from the beam splitter would be polarization independent. J. G. The amplitude coupling K iS the off-diagonal matrix element of TN. G. and R. E. S. Abebe. Cole. Alferness and L. b = sin 2 0 0 cos 26. T. Am. and R. Rashleigh." J. Priest. Wallace. 1983. A. 6. 8. Opt. tion. Buhl. "On solutions for two waves with periodic coupling. Soc. References 1." Opt. 8. G. "Optical fiber sensor technology. 18.40 (1982). "Fiber optic gyroscope with polarization holding fiber. 569 (1982). "Polarization holding in birefringent single-mode fibers. K. 59. K. left in the original polarization (i. Shibata. -30 -35 569 584 599 614 WAVELENGTH (nm) Fig.1288 (1979). Extinction ratios better than 25 dB have been measured between the on/off states of the interferometer." IEEE J. 2. more than 32 dB of power transfer has been repeatedly obtained. in which the light 3.2 N (220 g). 7. Johnson. Tech. The experimental setup is shown in Fig. L. S. K. Further research is being carried out to improve stability and explore applications of the device. Post-deadline Paper PD 2-1. P.3. 4. Burns. 47.e. La. and N. 38. A full width at half-maximum of 9 nm was observed. 7. Opt. Results are plotted in Fig." Opt. M. W.658 OPTICS LETTERS / Vol. The device consists of a set of ridges on a piece of plastic that are used to perturb periodically the polarization axes of a birefringent fiber. A ratiometer was used to compensate for laser-power fluctuations as the wavelength was changed. The width of the central peak indicates the potential of this polarization coupler for use as a multiplexer or notch filter. not coupled) is detected after the analyzer. Dandridge. P. J.

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