Chromatic Dispersion and Polarization-Mode Dispersion (OPN Trends Supplement)

The field of optical communications systems has enjoyed a period of explosive growth in terms of the capacity that can be transmitted over a single fiber cable. This trend has been fueled by the increase in data-rate-per-channel, coupled with the increase in the total number of parallel wavelength channels. The total number of wavelength-division-multiplexed (WDM) channels that can be accommodated in a system depends on a range of factors, including cost, information spectral efficiency, nonlinear effects, and component wavelength selectivity. This article will deal with some of the critical limiting issues associated with the transmission of the ever-increasing data rate of each channel, chief among these chromatic dispersion (CD) and polarization-mode dispersion (PMD).

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