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Ellipse rotation and polarization instabilities in birefringent optical fibers

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A medium with linear birefringence will preserve the polarization state of a light beam whose electric field vector is oriented along either principal axis of the medium. In that regard, the two principal axes are entirely equivalent. It is usually assumed that this equivalence also holds at high intensities and that an intense beam oriented along either axis will suffer no changes in its polarization, barring imperfections that cause scattering between the axes. We show that the intensity-dependent refractive index leads to an instability in the polarization state of a light wave oriented along the fast axis of a birefringent medium.

© 1986 Optical Society of America

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