Abstract

The authors describe a fast spectral polarimeter operating in the lightwave communications band capable of measuring both state-of-polarization and degree-of-polarization of hundreds (up to thousands) of spectral components in parallel within milliseconds. In this paper, the design incorporates fast switching ferroelectric liquid crystals for polarization component selection on the 100-μs scale. Dispersion elements and an arrayed detector are used for wavelength-parallel sensing. Bandwidth of coverage can be scaled from a single wavelength-division multiplexed channel to more than 100 nm, and 256 spectral polarization measurements in under 1 ms are verified. Finally, a calibration algorithm is used to minimize measurement error. This instrument offers unprecedented sensing capability relevant to the monitoring and compensation of polarization-related impairments in high-speed lightwave communications.

© 2006 IEEE

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