Optical isolator

E5.2.8.4 Optical isolator


  • Basic concepts.
  • Optical diode.
  • Beam splitting cube.
  • Quarter wave plate.
  • Faraday rotator.
Principle of operation

The carrier of information in optical fibre telecommunications is laser light which is generated by separate highly stabilised laser sources. For each of the optical channels, such a source must be provided to deliver a stable wavelength. It is a well known phenomena that the stabilisation process is severely disturbed when even very small fractions of laser light are coupled back to the source. However, along a fibre optical transmission line many reflecting surfaces, like connectors or other optical components exist. Therefore it is necessary to protect the laser sources against back reflected light by optical isolators. The most commonly used isolator is a combination of a Faraday rotator operated between two polarisers based on the magneto-optical effect.

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