We give an extensive study of polarization dynamics in anisotropic fibers exhibiting a third-order index nonlinearity. The study is performed in the framework of the Stokes parameters with the help of the Poincaré sphere. Stationary states are determined, and their stability is investigated. The number of fixed points and their stability depend on the respective magnitude of the linear and nonlinear birefringence. A conservation relation analogous to the energy conservation in mechanics allows evidencing a close analogy between the movement of the polarization in the Poincaré sphere and the motion of a particle in a potential well. Two distinct potentials are found, leading to the existence of two families of solutions, according to the sign of the total energy of the equivalent mechanical system. The mechanical analogy allows us to fully characterize the solutions and also to determine analytically the associated beat lengths. General analytical solutions are given for the two families in terms of Jacobi’s functions. The intensity-dependent transmission of a fiber placed between two crossed polarizers is calculated. Optimal conditions for efficient nonlinear switching compatible with mode-locking applications are determined. The general case of a nonlinear fiber ring with an intracavity polarizer placed between two polarization controllers is also considered.

%N 1 %B Physical Review A %I American Physical Society %V 82 %P 013813 %8 2010/07/13 %G eng %U http://okina.univ-angers.fr/publications/ua5167 %9 1 %4 http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevA.82.013813 %R 10.1103/PhysRevA.82.013813