The effect of fiber birefringence on the propagation delay in an embedded fiber-optic strain sensor is studied. The polarization characteristics of the sensor are described in terms of polarization mode dispersion through the principal states of polarization and their differential group delay. Using these descriptors, an analytical expression for the response of the sensor for an arbitrary input state of polarization is given and experimentally verified. It is found that the differential group delay, as well as the input and output principal states of polarization, vary when the embedded fiber is strained,leading to fluctuations in the sensor output. The use of high birefringence fibers and different embedding geometries is examined as a means for reducing the polarization dependency of the sensor.
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