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System and method for mapping chromatic dispersion in optical fibers

Image Number 3 for United States Patent #5956131.

A system and method in which the chromatic dispersion characteristic, as a function of distance along a section of transmissive fiber, is measured. First and second optical signals are launched into a fiber under test to thereby generate, by a four-wave mixing process in the fiber, a probe signal. Because of a wave-vector phase mismatch, the probe signal power oscillates with a spatial frequency that can be measured as a function of distance in the fiber. The intensity oscillations are measurable as, for example, temporal variations in the Rayleigh backscattered light detected at the input end of the fiber. According to the present invention, the dispersion parameter at one or both of the first and second optical signal wavelengths, as a function of length along the fiber, is derived directly from these intensity oscillation measurements. From this information, it is possible to further derive maps at other wavelengths of interest.

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