Time-domain reflectometry of spontaneous Brillouin scattering in a single-mode optical fiber is performed with a coherent self-heterodyne detection system containing a recently proposed external frequency translator and a single light-wave source. The light wave is divided into probe and reference light waves. The frequency of the probe light wave is upconverted by the translator by an amount approximately equal to the Brillouin frequency shift. The frequency-converted probe is launched into the fiber and spontaneously Brillouin scattered. As the frequency of the scattered probe is downconverted to near that of the reference light wave, coherent self-heterodyne detection of spontaneous Brillouin scattering becomes possible without having to use a fast-speed detector.
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