A systematic derivation of the Coupled Nonlinear Schrodinger Equations (CNLSE) governing nonlinear pulse propagation in a weakly birefringent monomode optical fiber based on a multiple-scale perturbation solution of the semilinear vector wave equation for the electric field in a (randomly) birefringent fiber medium is presented. The analysis of the nonlinear propagation characteristics of optical pulses based on a numerical solution of the CNLSE is deferred to the second part of this contribution.
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