Distributed phase birefringence measurements based on polarization correlation in phase-sensitive optical time-domain reflectometers
In this paper a technique to measure the distributed birefringence profile along optical fibers is proposed and experimentally validated. The method is based on the spectral correlation between two sets of orthogonally-polarized measurements acquired using a phase-sensitive optical time-domain reflectometer (ϕOTDR). The correlation between the two measured spectra gives a resonance (correlation) peak at a frequency detuning that is proportional to the local refractive index difference between the two orthogonal polarization axes of the fiber. In this way the method enables local phase birefringence measurements at any position along optical fibers, so that any longitudinal fluctuation can be precisely evaluated with metric spatial resolution. The method has been experimentally validated by measuring fibers with low and high birefringence, such as standard single-mode fibers as well as conventional polarization-maintaining fibers. The technique has potential applications in the characterization of optical fibers for telecommunications as well as in distributed optical fiber sensing.