The Fiber Optical Circulator is a device that is based on the nonreciprocal polarization of an optical signal by Faraday effect. A basic optical circulator is a three-terminal device (or four-terminal device), where terminal 1 is the input port and terminal 2 is the output port, while the reflected signal back into terminal 2 will be redirected to terminal 3 instead of terminal 1.
Optical circulators have many applications in optical communication systems and optical instrumentations for redirecting optical signals.
Wave Division Multiplexing System:
Optical circulators in conjunction with Bragg gratings allow specific wavelengths to be reflected and sent down different paths.
Duplex Transmitter/Receiver System:
Optical circulators can be used to enable 2-way transmission along a single fiber. Transmitter 1 sends signal through Port 1 of Circulator 1 and through the fiber to Port 2 of Circulator 2 so that it is directed to Receiver 2. The signal from Transmitter 2 follows the opposite path to Receiver 1.
Fiber Bragg gratings:
Since the reflection characteristic of a fiber Bragg grating can be used either as a bandpass optical filter or as a dispersion compensator, an optical circulator has to be used to redirect the reflected optical signal into the output.
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