Polarization State Scrambler Using Birefringent Phase Mask

Case ID:

A University of Arizona researcher has designed a device to efficiently convert partially polarized and polarized light into light having randomly distributed polarizations, or more generally, into output light having a plurality of polarizations. The passive device provides almost instantaneous conversion of polarization, as opposed to the current methods which use a modulator that requires a signal generator and drive electronics. The novel device will be very useful for telecom, imaging, and illumination.


In fiber optic communication systems, light signals are highly sensitive to polarization impairments such as polarization mode dispersion and polarization dependent loss. Lithium Niobate (LiNbO3) scramblers, which operate as a tunable waveplate that modulates the polarization state of light, are often utilized to mitigate some of the problems by converting a fixed incoming polarized light into random or pseudo-random polarized light at different times. In telecommunications, the scrambling rate should be faster than the inverse gain recovery time of the fiber amplifier. The scrambler should have low cost, low wavelength and temperature sensitivity and long lifetime.



  • Passive - no power required
  • Nearly instantaneous scrambling of polarization
  • Easy to reproduce in high volumes


  • Telecommunications
  • Imaging
  • Illumination

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,067,837

Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Richard Weite
Senior Licensing Manager, College of Optical Sciences
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Stanley Pau