Low-level birefringence methods applied to the characterization of optical fibers and interconnects

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Montarou, Carole C.
Gaylord, Thomas K.
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Birefringence measurements are of great importance in a plethora of applications spanning from biology to optical communications. Birefringence measurements of nerve-fiber layers have emerged as an important diagnostic technique for early detection of glaucoma. Stress-induced birefringence in optical devices affects their performances by causing Polarization-Mode Dispersion (PMD) and Polarization-Dependent Loss (PDL). Stress-relaxation constitutes a key phenomenon governing the fabrication of some optical devices such as Long-Period Fiber Gratings (LPFGs). This drives the need to develop accurate optical instrumentation techniques to evaluate form and stress-induced birefringence. This thesis deals with the development of new high-accuracy techniques for the characterization of stress-induced birefringence in optical devices. The new Two-Waveplate Compensator (TWC) technique is presented for single-point retardation measurements. It is extensively compared theoretically and experimentally to existing techniques including the Snarmont and Brace-Khler techniques. The Phase-Stepping Two-Waveplate Retarder (PSTWR) is also presented for high-accuracy measurements of retardation magnitude and orientation. The Colorimetry-Based Retardation Method (CBRM) is presented to measure retardation using white-light interference colors. The technique is implemented using a polarization microscope and a spectrophotometer. The TWC and the Brace-Khler methods are implemented for full-field retardation measurements using a polarization microscope. Their accuracies are quantified over the entire field-of-view for small retardations. They are applied to the stress-induced birefringence imaging of LPFGs and polymer pillar waveguides. The TWC technique achieves an accuracy of 0.06 nm and a sensitivity of 0.07 nm. The Brace- Khler technique achieves an accuracy of 0.04 nm and a sensitivity of 0.09 nm. The spatial resolution of both techniques is 0.45 and #61549;m. A Fourier-based algorithm is presented to compute the inverse Abel transform relating the retardation to the axial residual stress profile in optical fibers. It is used to calculate the residual stress profiles of single-mode fibers from full-field retardation measurements with the TWC and Brace- Khler techniques. The stress profiles computed in this work are in very good agreement with previously reported results in the literature. The TWC technique produces the most accurate stress measurements. The TWC technique is used to investigate the stress-relaxation phenomena in LPFGs fabricated using CO2 laser irradiations.
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