Calibration of fibre-optic power meters

This international standard is applicable to instruments measuring radiant power emitted from sources which are typical for the fibre-optic communications industry. The standard describes the calibration of power meters to be performed by calibration laboratories or by power meter manufacturers.

Kalibrierung von Lichtwellenleiter-Leistungsmessern

Etalonnage de wattmètres pour dispositifs à fibres optiques

La présente Norme internationale s'applique aux appareils qui mesurent la puissance rayonnante émise par des sources typiques pour l'industrie des communications par fibres optiques. Cette norme décrit l'étalonnage des wattmètres, qui doit être effectué par des laboratoires d'étalonnage ou par des fabricants de wattmètres.

Umerjanje optovlakenskih števcev električne energije (IEC 61315:2005)

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julij 2006
Umerjanje optovlakenskih števcev električne energije (IEC 61315:2005)
Calibration of fibre-optic power meters (IEC 61315:2005)
ICS 33.140; 33.180.01 Referenčna številka
SIST EN 61315:2006(en)
©  Standard je založil in izdal Slovenski inštitut za standardizacijo. Razmnoževanje ali kopiranje celote ali delov tega dokumenta ni dovoljeno

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EN 61315

January 2006

ICS 33.140;33.180.10 Supersedes EN 61315:1997

English version

Calibration of fibre-optic power meters
(IEC 61315:2005)

Etalonnage de wattmètres pour dispositifs Kalibrierung von Lichtwellenleiter-
à fibres optiques Leistungsmessern
(CEI 61315:2005) (IEC 61315:2005)

This European Standard was approved by CENELEC on 2005-11-01. CENELEC members are bound to comply
with the CEN/CENELEC Internal Regulations which stipulate the conditions for giving this European Standard
the status of a national standard without any alteration.

Up-to-date lists and bibliographical references concerning such national standards may be obtained on
application to the Central Secretariat or to any CENELEC member.

This European Standard exists in three official versions (English, French, German). A version in any other
language made by translation under the responsibility of a CENELEC member into its own language and notified
to the Central Secretariat has the same status as the official versions.

CENELEC members are the national electrotechnical committees of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic,
Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania,
Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
and United Kingdom.

European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization
Comité Européen de Normalisation Electrotechnique
Europäisches Komitee für Elektrotechnische Normung

Central Secretariat: rue de Stassart 35, B - 1050 Brussels

© 2006 CENELEC - All rights of exploitation in any form and by any means reserved worldwide for CENELEC members.
Ref. No. EN 61315:2006 E

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EN 61315:2006 - 2 -
The text of document 86/239/FDIS, future edition 2 of IEC 61315, prepared by IEC TC 86, Fibre
optics, was submitted to the IEC-CENELEC parallel vote and was approved by CENELEC as
EN 61315 on 2005-11-01.
This European Standard supersedes EN 61315:1997.
Changes from EN 61315:1997 consist of adapting the uncertainty calculations to the approach taken
by the GUM, and adapting the terminology and graphical symbology to international standards VIM,
IEC 61931 and IEC 61930.
The importance of the nonlinearity calibration is emphasized by giving more detail and is now in a
separate clause.
Requirements concerning organization and traceability have been taken out of this standard since
they are general requirements concerning calibration laboratories and are given in EN ISO/IEC 17025.
The goal to standardize the type of power meter specifications has been removed since it does not
belong in a standard on calibration. Specifications should, however, still be based on calibrations
made following this standard and EN 60359.
The following dates were fixed:
– latest date by which the EN has to be implemented
at national level by publication of an identical
national standard or by endorsement (dop) 2006-08-01
– latest date by which the national standards conflicting
with the EN have to be withdrawn (dow) 2008-11-01
Endorsement notice
The text of the International Standard IEC 61315:2005 was approved by CENELEC as a European
Standard without any modification.

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Deuxième édition

Second edition


Etalonnage de wattmètres
pour dispositifs à fibres optiques

Calibration of fibre-optic
power meters

 IEC 2005 Droits de reproduction réservés  Copyright - all rights reserved
Aucune partie de cette publication ne peut être reproduite ni No part of this publication may be reproduced or utilized in any
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électronique ou mécanique, y compris la photocopie et les photocopying and microfilm, without permission in writing from
microfilms, sans l'accord écrit de l'éditeur. the publisher.
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Commission Electrotechnique Internationale
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Pour prix, voir catalogue en vigueur
For price, see current catalogue

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61315  IEC:2005 – 3 –

1 Scope.11
2 Normative references.11
3 Terms and definitions .13
4 Preparation for calibration.27
4.1 Organization .27
4.2 Traceability.27
4.3 Advice for measurements and calibrations .29
4.4 Recommendations to customers .31
5 Absolute power calibration .31
5.1 Establishing the calibration conditions.33
5.2 Calibration procedure .35
5.3 Calibration uncertainty .37
5.4 Reporting the results .51
6 Measurement uncertainty of a calibrated power meter .51
6.1 Uncertainty at reference conditions .51
6.2 Uncertainty at operating conditions .53
7 Nonlinearity calibration.67
7.1 Nonlinearity calibration based on superposition .69
7.2 Nonlinearity calibration based on comparison with a calibrated power meter.73
7.3 Nonlinearity calibration based on comparison with an attenuator .75
7.4 Calibration of power meter for high power measurement .75

Annex A (normative) Mathematical basis .79

Bibliography .85

Figure 1 – Typical spectral responsivity of photoelectric detectors.23
Figure 2 – Example of a traceability chain.27
Figure 3 – Measurement setup for sequential, fibre-based calibration .33
Figure 4 – Change of conditions and uncertainty.43
Figure 5 – Determining and recording an extension uncertainty.55
Figure 6 – Possible subdivision of the optical reference plane into 10 x 10 squares, for
the measurement of the spatial response .57
Figure 7 − Wavelength dependence of response due to Fabry-Perot type interference .65
Figure 8 – Measurement setup of polarization dependent response .65
Figure 9 – Nonlinearity calibration based on superposition .69
Figure 10 – Measurement setup for nonlinearity calibration by comparison.73

Table 1 – Typical calibration methods and correspondent power .31
Table 2 – Nonlinearity .71

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61315  IEC:2005 – 5 –


1) The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is a worldwide organization for standardization comprising
all national electrotechnical committees (IEC National Committees). The object of IEC is to promote
international co-operation on all questions concerning standardization in the electrical and electronic fields. To
this end and in addition to other activities, IEC publishes International Standards, Technical Specifications,
Technical Reports, Publicly Available Specifications (PAS) and Guides (hereafter referred to as “IEC
Publication(s)”). Their preparation is entrusted to technical committees; any IEC National Committee interested
in the subject dealt with may participate in this preparatory work. International, governmental and non-
governmental organizations liaising with the IEC also participate in this preparation. IEC collaborates closely
with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in accordance with conditions determined by
agreement between the two organizations.
2) The formal decisions or agreements of IEC on technical matters express, as nearly as possible, an international
consensus of opinion on the relevant subjects since each technical committee has representation from all
interested IEC National Committees.
3) IEC Publications have the form of recommendations for international use and are accepted by IEC National
Committees in that sense. While all reasonable efforts are made to ensure that the technical content of IEC
Publications is accurate, IEC cannot be held responsible for the way in which they are used or for any
misinterpretation by any end user.
4) In order to promote international uniformity, IEC National Committees undertake to apply IEC Publications
transparently to the maximum extent possible in their national and regional publications. Any divergence
between any IEC Publication and the corresponding national or regional publication shall be clearly indicated in
the latter.
5) IEC provides no marking procedure to indicate its approval and cannot be rendered responsible for any
equipment declared to be in conformity with an IEC Publication.
6) All users should ensure that they have the latest edition of this publication.
7) No liability shall attach to IEC or its directors, employees, servants or agents including individual experts and
members of its technical committees and IEC National Committees for any personal injury, property damage or
other damage of any nature whatsoever, whether direct or indirect, or for costs (including legal fees) and
expenses arising out of the publication, use of, or reliance upon, this IEC Publication or any other IEC
8) Attention is drawn to the Normative references cited in this publication. Use of the referenced publications is
indispensable for the correct application of this publication.
9) Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this IEC Publication may be the subject of
patent rights. IEC shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights.
International Standard IEC 61315 has been prepared by IEC technical committee 86: Fibre
This second edition cancels and replaces the first edition published in 1995. It constitutes a
technical revision.
Changes from the previous edition of this International Standard consist of adapting the
uncertainty calculations to the approach taken by the GUM, and adapting the terminology and
graphical symbology to international standards VIM, IEC 61931 and IEC 61930.
The importance of the nonlinearity calibration is emphasized by giving more detail and is now in
a separate clause.

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61315  IEC:2005 – 7 –
Requirements concerning organization and traceability have been taken out of this standard
since they are general requirements concerning calibration laboratories and are given in
IEC/ISO 17025.
The goal to standardize the type of power meter specifications has been removed since it does
not belong in a standard on calibration. Specifications should, however, still be based on
calibrations made following this standard and IEC 60359.
The text of this standard is based on the following documents:
FDIS Report on voting
86/239/FDIS 86/248/RVD

Full information on the voting for the approval of this standard can be found in the report on
voting indicated in the above table.
This publication has been drafted in accordance with the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2.
The committee has decided that the contents of this publication will remain unchanged until the
maintenance result date indicated on the IEC web site under "" in the data
related to the specific publication. At this date, the publication will be
• reconfirmed,
• withdrawn,
• replaced by a revised edition, or
• amended.

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61315  IEC:2005 – 9 –
Fibre-optic power meters are designed to measure optical power from fibre-optic sources as
accurately as possible. This capability depends largely on the quality of the calibration process.
In contrast to other types of measuring equipment, the measurement results of fibre-optic
power meters usually depend on many conditions of measurement. The conditions of
measurement during the calibration process are called calibration conditions. Their precise
description must therefore be an integral part of the calibration.
This International Standard defines all of the steps involved in the calibration process:
establishing the calibration conditions, carrying out the calibration, calculating the uncertainty,
and reporting the uncertainty, the calibration conditions and the traceability.
The absolute power calibration describes how to determine the ratio between the value of the
input power and the power meter's result. This ratio is called correction factor. The
measurement uncertainty of the correction factor is combined following Annex A from
uncertainty contributions from the reference meter, the test meter, the setup and the
The calculations go through detailed characterizations of individual uncertainties. It is important
to know that:
a) estimations of the individual uncertainties are acceptable;
b) a detailed uncertainty analysis is only necessary once for each power meter type under
test, and all subsequent calibrations can be based on this one-time analysis, using the
appropriate type A measurement contributions evaluated at the time of the calibration;
c) some of the individual uncertainties can simply be considered to be part of a checklist, with
an actual value which can be neglected.
Calibration according to Clause 5 is mandatory for reports referring to this standard.
Clause 6 describes the evaluation of the measurement uncertainty of a calibrated power meter
operated within reference conditions or within operating conditions. It depends on the
calibration uncertainty of the power meter as calculated in 5.3, the conditions and its
dependence on the conditions. It is usually performed by manufacturers in order to establish
specifications and is not mandatory for reports referring to this standard. One of these
dependences, the nonlinearity, is determined in a separate calibration (Clause 7).
NOTE Fibre-optic power meters measure and indicate the optical power in the air, at the end of an optical fibre. It
is about 3,6 % lower than in the fibre due to Fresnel reflection at the glass-air boundary (with N = 1,47). This should
be kept in mind when the power in the fibre has to be known.

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61315  IEC:2005 – 11 –

1 Scope
This international standard is applicable to instruments measuring radiant power emitted from
sources which are typical for the fibre-optic communications industry. These sources include
laser diodes, light emitting diodes (LEDs) and fibre-type sources. The radiation may be
divergent or collimated. The standard describes the calibration of power meters to be
performed by calibration laboratories or by power meter manufacturers.
2 Normative references
The following referenced documents are indispensable for the application of this document. For
dated references, only the edition cited applies. For undated references, the latest edition of
the referenced document (including any amendments) applies.
IEC 60050-300, International Electrotechnical Vocabulary – Electrical and electronic
measurements and measuring instruments – Part 311: General terms relating to measurements
– Part 312: General terms relating to electrical measurements – Part 313: Types of electrical
measuring instruments – Part 314: Specific terms according to the type of instrument
IEC 60359, Electrical and electronic measurement equipment – Expression of performance
IEC 60793-2, Optical fibres – Part 2: Product specifications – General
IEC 61300-3-12, Fibre optic interconnecting devices and passive components – Basic test and
measurement procedures – Part 3-12: Examinations and measurements – Polarization
dependence of attenuation of a single-mode fibre optic component: Matrix calculation method
IEC 61930, Fibre optic graphical symbology
IEC 61931, Fibre optic – Terminology
ISO/IEC 17025, General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration
BIPM, IEC, IFCC, ISO, IUPAC, IUPAP, and OIML:1993, International vocabulary of basic terms
in metrology (VIM)
BIPM, IEC, IFCC, ISO, IUPAC, IUPAP, and OIML:1995, Guide to the expression of uncertainty
in measurement (GUM)

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61315  IEC:2005 – 13 –
3 Terms and definitions
For the purposes of this International Standard, the definitions contained in IEC 61931 and the
following definitions apply.
accredited calibration laboratory
a calibration laboratory authorized by the appropriate national organization to issue calibration
certificates with a minimum specified uncertainty, which demonstrate traceability to national
set of operations carried out on an instrument in order that it provides given indications
corresponding to given values of the measurand
[IEV 311-03-16; see also VIM 4.30]
NOTE When the instrument is made to give a null indication corresponding to a null value of the measurand, the
set of operations is called zero adjustment
set of operations that establish, under specified conditions, the relationship between the values
of quantities indicated by a measuring instrument and the corresponding values realized by
[VIM, 6.11, modified]
NOTE 1 The result of a calibration permits either the assignment of values of measurands to the indications or the
determination of corrections with respect to indications.
NOTE 2 A calibration may also determine other metrological properties such as the effect of influence quantities.
NOTE 3 The result of a calibration may be recorded in a document, sometimes called a calibration certificate or
a calibration report.
calibration conditions
conditions of measurement in which the calibration is performed
centre wavelength
the power-weighted mean wavelength of a light source in vacuum.
For a continuous spectrum the centre wavelength is defined as:
λ = p(λ) × λ × dλ

and the total power is:
P = p( λ) × dλ

where p(λ) is the power spectral density of the source, for example in W/nm.

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61315  IEC:2005 – 15 –
For a spectrum consisting of discrete lines, the centre wavelength is defined as:
P × λ
∑ i i
λ =

P is the power of the i discrete line, for example in W, and
λ is the vacuum wavelength of the i discrete line.
NOTE The above integrals and summations theoretically extend over the entire spectrum of the light source,
however it is usually sufficient to perform the integral or summation over the spectrum where the spectral density
p(λ) or power P is higher than 0,1 % of the maximum spectral density p(λ) or power P .
i i
correction factor
numerical factor by which the uncorrected result of a measurement is multiplied to compensate
for systematic error
[VIM, 3.16]
submultiple of the bel (1 dB = 0,1 B), unit used to express values of power level on a
logarithmic scale. The power level is always relative to a reference power P :
 
L = 10 × log   (dB)
P / P 10
0  
 0
where P and P are expressed in the same linear units.
The reference power must always be reported, for example, the power level of 200 µW relative
to 1 mW can be noted L = –7 dB or L (re 1 mW) = –7 dB.
P/1 mW P
The linear ratio, R , of two radiant powers, P and P , can alternatively be expressed as a
lin 1 2
power level difference in decibels (dB):
ΔL = 10 log (R ) = 10 log (P /P ) = 10 log (P ) – 10 log (P ).
P 10 lin 10 1 2 10 1 10 2
Similarly, relative uncertainties, U , or relative deviations, can be alternatively expressed in
U = U ≅ 4,34 × U (dB)
dB lin lin
NOTE ISO 31-2 and IEC 60027-3 should be consulted for further details. The rules of IEC 60027-3 do not permit
attachments to unit symbols. However, the unit symbol dBm is widely used to indicate power levels relative to 1 mW
and often displayed by fibre-optic power meters.
the element of the power meter that transduces the radiant optical power into a measurable,
usually electrical, quantity. In this standard, the detector is assumed to be connected with the
optical input port by an optical path
[see IEC 61931 and VIM, 4.15]

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61315  IEC:2005 – 17 –
for the purpose of this standard, the relative difference between the power measured by the
test meter P and the reference power P
DUT ref
P − P
DUT ref
D =
excitation (fibre)
a description of the distribution of optical power between the modes in the fibre. In context with
multimode fibres, the fibre excitation is described by:
a) the spot diameter on the surface of the fibre end, and
b) the numerical aperture of the radiation emitted from the fibre.
Full excitation means radiation characterized by a spot diameter which is approximately equal
to the fibre's core diameter, and by a numerical aperture which is approximately equal to the
fibre's numerical aperture.
Single mode fibres are generally assumed to be excited by only one mode (the fundamental
instrument state
set of parameters that can be chosen on an instrument
NOTE Typical parameters of the instrument state are the optical power range, the wavelength setting, the display
measurement unit and the output from which the measurement result is obtained (for example display, interface
bus, analogue output).
the quotient of the incremental radiant power ∂P incident on an element of the reference plane
by the incremental area ∂A of that element:
E = (W/m²)
[IEC 61931, definition 2.1.15, modified]
measurement result
(displayed or electrical) output of a power meter (or standard), after completing all actions
suggested by the operating instructions, for example warm-up, zeroing and wavelength-
correction, expressed in watts (W). For the purpose of uncertainty analysis, measurement
results in other units, for example volts, should be converted to watts. Measurement results in
decibels (dB) should also be converted to watts, because the entire uncertainty accumulation is
based on measurement results expressed in watts.
measuring range
set of values of measurands for which the error of a measuring instrument is intended to lie
within specified limits
[VIM, 5.4]

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61315  IEC:2005 – 19 –
NOTE In this standard, the measuring range is the range of radiant power (part of the operating range), for which
the uncertainty at operating conditions is specified. The term "dynamic range" should be avoided in this context.
national (measurement) standard
standard recognized by a national decision to serve, in a country, as the basis for assigning
values to other standards of the quantity concerned
[VIM, 6.3]
national standards laboratory
laboratory which maintains the national standard
relative difference between the response at a given power P and the response at a reference
power P :
nl = − 1
r(P )
If expressed in decibels, the nonlinearity is:
NL = 10 × log (dB)
P/P 10
r(P )
NOTE 1 The nonlinearity is equal to zero at the reference power.
NOTE 2 The term "local nonlinearity" is used for the relative difference between the responses at two different
power levels (separated by 3,01 dB) obtained during the nonlinearity calibration. The term "global nonlinearity" is
used for the result of summing up the local nonlinearities; it is identical to the nonlinearity defined here.
numerical aperture
description of the beam divergence of an optical source. In this standard, the numerical
aperture is the sine of the (linear) half-angle at which the irradiance is 5 % of the maximum
NOTE This definition was adopted from the definition of the numerical aperture of multimode graded-index fibres
in IEC 60793-1-43. In this standard, the definition is used to describe the divergence of all divergent beams.
operating conditions
appropriate set of specified ranges of values of influence quantities usually wider than the
reference conditions for which the uncertainties of a measuring instrument are specified (see
VIM, 5.5)
NOTE The operating conditions and uncertainty at operating conditions are usually specified by manufacturer for
the convenience of the user.
operating range
specified range of values of one of a set of operating conditions

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61315  IEC:2005 – 21 –
optical input port
physical input of the power meter (or standard) to which the radiant power is to be applied or to
which the optical fibre end is to be connected. An optical path (path of rays with or without
optical elements like lenses, diaphragms, light guides, etc.) is assumed to connect the optical
input port with the power meter's detector.
optical reference plane
plane on or near the optical input port which is used to define the beam's spot diameter
NOTE The optical reference plane is usually assumed to be perpendicular to the beam propagation, and it should
be described by appropriate mechanical dimensions relative to the power meter's optical input port.
polarization dependent response
variation in response of a power meter with respect to all possible polarization states of the
input light, expressed in decibels:
 r 
 
PDR = 10 × log (dB)
 
 
where r and r are the maximum and minimum response taken over all polarization
max min
power meter (fibre-optic)
in this standard, instrument capable of measuring radiant power from sources which are typical
for the fibre-optic communications industry. These sources include laser diodes, LEDs and
fibres. The radiation may be divergent or collimated. The radiation is assumed to be incident on
the optical reference plane within the specified conditions. A power meter may consist either of
a single instrument or a main instrument and a separate sensing head. In the case of a
separate sensing head, the head may be calibrated without the main instrument.
NOTE 1 The measurement result may be influenced by the main instrument, particularly if any analog electronics
is used in the main instrument. In such cases, the sensing head must be calibrated together with the main

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