A composite polymer fiber comprises a polymer filler material and a plurality of polymer scattering fibers disposed within the filler material. At least one of the filler material and the scattering fibers is formed of a birefringent material. The refractive indices of the filler material and the scattering fibers can be substantially matched for light incident in a first polarization state on the composite polymer fiber and unmatched for light incident in an orthogonal polarization state. The scattering fibers may be arranged to form a photonic crystal within the composite fiber. The composite fibers may be extruded and may be formed into a yarn, a weave or the like. If the filler material is soluble, it may be washed out of the yarn or weave, and the scattering fibers may then be infiltrated with a resin that is subsequently cured.

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