Extinction Ratio

Cross coupling in regards to a birefringent fiber, quantified by extinction ratio, indicates the amount of light which is able to mix between the two polarization axes. Extinction-ratio is important because it is a measure of the polarization-maintaining performance of an optical fiber.

In most applications for HiBi fiber, only one of the two polarization orientations (states) the fiber can guide is used - this is sometimes called the ‘wanted’ polarization-state. The extinction ratio simply compares the optical power held on the wanted axis to that which is on the unwanted axis, the orthogonal polarization state, expressed in decibels (dB).

To test the best possible ER of the fiber, light is launched onto one axis from a polarized source, and the ER is a ratio of the light which remains on the wanted axis to that which has managed to couple onto the unwanted axis. For example, if you are using only the x-polarization (the ‘wanted’ polarization) then you would measure the optical power in both ‘x’ and ‘y’ polarizations and perform the following calculation.

Extinction Ratio

So you can see, an Extinction-Ratio of -30dB is 1000:1 and -20dB is 100:1

The value of extinction ratio you can achieve is highly dependant upon the length of fiber and the environmental conditions in which you use it.  In particular, if you subject the fiber to high mechanical stress and small-diameter bends, then it is possible to disrupt the internal stress (which generates the birefringence) and this reduces the extinction-ratio significantly.

The fundamental design of Fibercore HiBi fiber makes its performance extremely resistant to environmental conditions (see below) - but because the exact way the fiber is used is beyond our control we cannot guarantee what extinction-ratio you will achieve. Typical ER under various deployment conditions re indicated below - with care, you should be able to match or possible exceed these.



Extinction Ratio


Loose-tube cabled, wound on a 300mm cable reel

-25 to -30dB


Wound at low tension on a 150mm spool

-30 to -35dB


Wound at low tension (<5g) on a 60mm spool

-25 to -30dB


Laid straight


*limit of measurement resolution; ask about our test set-up