I present a simple method for extracting the dispersive elements from a general unitary Jones matrix in such a way that the parts comprising the phase delays and higher-order dispersion in the two principal states of polarization are separated from those describing the frequency-dependent coupling between them. I then rigorously expand these two parts into power series in relative optical frequency, wherein the coefficients are explicit functions of the polarization mode dispersion vectors of various orders. This accurate expansion of the Jones matrix reveals in particular the amplitudes and phases of the cross-coupled components of the principal states of polarization, which are incorrectly described in most polarization mode dispersion models.
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