Ub rary of eon gr •..

Calalog Ing In Publication Data

S@ n ior, John. M" 1951-

Optlcal fiber communications-

Bibliography: p. I ncludes index.

1 . Optical communications. 2- Fiber optics, I. Title,

TK5103.59.846 1984 621.38'0414 84--8315

ISBN 0-13-638248-7 {case)

ISBN O~ 13-638222-3 (pbk, ~

Britieh libRII ry Cataloging in Publication Datil

Senior, John M_

Optical fiber com rn unications,

1 , Optical cornrnun lcations 2, Fiber optics

1- Title

621.38'0414 TK5103.59

ISBN 0-13-638248-7 ISBN 0-13-638222-3 Pbk


~ 1985 by Pren'llca-H aU I nte rnational. I nc., London

All rights reserved, No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieve I system, Or transrnlttsd. in any form or by any means, electroruc. mechanical, photocopvlnq, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of Prentrce-Hallinterostiona L lnc., London.

For parmlsslon within tile United States contact Prentlce-Hall inc. Englewood Cliffs, NJ 0763:2.

ISBN 0-13-638248 7

ISBN 0-13-638222 3 {PBK}

Pre fl ti ce ~ H a II In te rna t ion a I, Inc" L on don Prentice-Hall of Australia Pty, l.td.. Sydnev Prentice-Hall Canada, lnc., Toronto

Prsntlce-Ha!l of India Private Ltd" New Delhi Prentice-Hall of Southeast Asia Pte" Ltd., Singapore Pre n ti ce - H a I j Inc, J E nqtewoo de Ilffs, New Jers« y Prentice-Hall do erasil Ltda 'I Rio de Jeneirc WhttehQ!1 Books Ltd., Wellington, New Zealand

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Typeset by Piotail Studios Ltd., Ringwood, Hants., UK. Printed in the United States of America







Glossary of Symbol. and Abbreviations



1.1 Historical Development 1

1.2 The General System 4

1.3 Advantages of Optical Fiber Communication 7

References 1 0


2 .1 Introduction 11

2.2 Ray Theory Transmission 12

2.2.1 Total internal reflection 12

2.2.2 Acceptance angle 14

2.2.3 Numerical aperture 15

2.2.4 Skew rays 19

2.3 Electromagnetic Mode Theory For Optical Propagation 22

2.3.1 Electromagnetfc waves 22

2.3.2 Modes in a planar guide 24

2.3.3 Phase and group velocity 27

2.3.4 Phase shift with total Internal reflection and the evan-escent field 29

2.3.5 Goos-Haenchen shift 34

2.3.6 Cylindrical fiber 34

2.3.7 Mode coupling 41

2.4 Step Index. Fibers 43

2.4.1 Mul1imode step index fibers 44

2.4.2 Sing1e mode step index fibers 45

2.5 Graded Index Fibers 48

Problems 57

Refere n ces 59



3.1 Introduction 62

3.2 Attenuation 63

3.3 Material Absorption Losses 65

3.3 ~ 1 I ntrl nslc absorption 65

3~3.2 Extrinsic absorption 66

3,4 L.lnelr SCltter'ng LOI •• I 6a

3,4, 1 RI V~. ig h le.ttlrl ng 89

:I .4,2 M~. leltterl ng 7 1

3.5 Nonlinear Scattering Losses 71

3.5.1 Stirn ulated Bri I loul n scatterinq

3+5.2 Stirn ulated Ra man scattering

Fiber Bend Loss 73

Dispersion 76

Intramoda I Dispersion 80

3.8. 1 M aterial disperslon

3.8.2 Wavegu~de dispersion

3.9 lnterrnodat Dlsparslon 84

3.9.1 Multimode step inde~ fiber

3.9.2 Multimode graded index fiber

3.10 Overall Fiber Dispersion 93

3.1 0.1 Multimode fibers 93

3.10.2 Single mode fibers 94

3.11 Modal Noise 98

3.12 Polarization 100

3.12.1 Modal birefringence

Problems 104

References 108


3.6 3.7 3.8


72 72



85 90



4.1 4.2 4.3







_ 4.10


4+ 11

lntroductlon 11 1

Preparation of Opttcat Fibers 112

Uquld Phase (Melting) Techniques

4.31 Fiber drawing 114

Vapor Phase Deposition Techniques 118

4.4+ 1 Outside vapor phase oxidation (DVPO) process

4.4.2 Vapor axial deposition (VAD). 121

4.4.3 Modified chemical vapor deposition (MCVD) 123

4.4.4 Plasma-activated chemical vapor deposition {PCVD) 125

4.4+5 Summary of vapor phase deposition techniques 126

Optical Fibers 126 _.!'

4.5. 1 Mu~t[mode step index fibers 127 ... j(

4.5.2 Multimode graded index fibers 128

4.5.3 Single mode fibers 130

4.5.4 Plastic-clad fibers 131

4.5.5 All-plastic fibers 132

Optlca' Fiber Cables 133

4.6.1 Fiber strength and durability 134

4.6.2 Stability of the fiber tra nsmission characteristics

Cable Design 138

4.7.1 Fiber buffering 13 B

4.7.2 Cable structural and strength members 4.7.3 Cable sheath and water barrier 140

4.7.4 . Exam pies of fiber cabl es 141

Optical Fiber Connection 144

4.8.1 Fiber alignment and joint loss

Fiber Sp~ices 166

4.9.1 Fusion splices 157

4.9.2 Mechanical splices , 59

4.9.3 Multiple splices 163

Fiber Connectors , 64

Butt Jointed Connectors

4.1 1.1 Ferrule connector 4.11.2 Biconical connector






165 166 167






4.11.3 Ceramic caplllarv connector 168

4.11.4 Double eccentric connector 168

4.11.5 Triple ball connector 169

4. 11.6 Sing Ie mode fiber con nector 1 70

4. 11.7 Multip1e connectors 170

4. 12 Expanded Beam Connectors 1 72

Problems 1 73

References 177




Introduction 183

Fiber Attenuation Measurements 186

5.2.1 Total fiber attenuation 186

5.2.2 Fiber absorption loss measurement

5.2.3 fiber scattering loss measurement

Fiber Dispersion Measurements 196

5.3. 1 Time domain measurement 197

5.3.2 Frequency domain measurement

Fiber Refractive Index Profile Measuremen1s

5.4.1 Interferometric methods 202

5.4.2 Near field scanning method 204

5.4.3 End reftectlon method 206

5.5 Fiber Numerical Aperture Measurements 209

5+6 Fiber Diameter Measurements 212

5.6.1 Outer diameter 212

5.6.2 Core diameter 214

5.7 Field Measurements 215

5.7.1 Optical time domain reflectometry (OTDR) 219

Problems 224

References 228

5.1 5.2





200 202


6.1 Introduction 231

6.2 Bas.c Concepts 233

B.2.1 Absorption and emission of radiation 234

6.2.2 The Einstein relations 236

6.2.3 Population inversion 238

6.2.4 Optical feedback and laser oscillatlon 240

6+2.5 Threshold condltlon for laser asci llation 244

Optical Emiss;on From Semiconductors 245

6.3.1 The p-n junction 245

6.3.2 Spontaneous emission 248

6.3.3 Carrier recombination 250

6.3.4 Stimulated emission and lasing 253

8.3.6 He1erojunctions 258

8.3 .. 8 Semiconductor materials 260

The Semiconductor Injection Laser 262

1.4.1 Efflclencv 264

1.4.2 Strip. geometry 265

Multtmod. tnj.ctlon Lisera 267

'tl.' L ••• ,. mod.. 287

.~e.2 It ruct\l rtl 2 e B

• tl.1 Optlolt Ol.ltpu t pow,r 218

It'A .... "' dlVllopmln,. 270

.., 1.4






6.8 6.9

6.10 6.11 Problems

Ref ere nc e s


Single Mode Injection Lasers

6.6,1 Single mode operation

Single Mode Structures 273

6.7.1 -Burled heterostructure (BH) laser 6.7.2 /Transverse junction stripe (T JS) laser

6.7.3 Cha nne11 ed substrate la se rs 274

6.7.4 Distributed feedback (DFB} lasers 276

6.7.5 Large optical cavity (LOC) lasers 277

Longer Wavelength I njection Lasers 278

Injection Laser Characteristics 281

6.9.1 Threshold current temperature dependence

6.9.2 Dynamic response 283

6.9.3 Self pulsations 284

6.9.4 Noise 285

6.9.5 Mode hopping 286

6.9.6 Reliability 287

Injection Leser Coupling and Packaging

Nonsemfconductor Lasers 289



271 272

273 274




7.1 Introduction 29 B

7.2 LED Efficiency 298

7.2.1 The double heteroiunction LED 302

7.3 LED Structures 303

7.3.1 Planar LED 303

7.3.2 Dome LED 304

7.3.3 Surface emitter (Burrus type} LED 304

7.3.4 Lens coupling 30B

7.3.5 Edge emitter LED 308

7.4 LED Characteristics 310

7,4.1 Optical output power 310

7.4.2 Output spectrum 311

7.4.3 Modulation bandwidth 313

7.4.4 Reliability 31 8

7.5 Modulation 320

Problems 321

'~eferences 323


8.1 Introduction 326

8.2 Device Types 327

8.3 Optical Detection Principles 328

8.4 Absorption 329

8.4.1 Absorption coeffecient 329

8.4.2 Direct and indirect absorption: silicon and germanium 331

8.4.3 IU-Valloys 331

8.5 Quantu m Efficiency 332

8.6 Responsivity 333

8.7 Long Wavelength Cutoff 335



8.8 Semiconductor Photodlodss Without lnternal Gain 336

8.8.1 p-n photodiode 336

8.8.2 p-i-n photcdtods 338

8.9 Semiconductor Photodiodes With Internal Gain 340

8.9.1 Avalanche photodiodes 340

8.9.2 Silicon reach-through avalanche photodiodes 342·

8.9,3 Germanium avalanche photodlodes 343

8.9.4 Ill-V alloy avalanche photodiodes 343

8.9.5 Drawbacks with the avalanche photodiode 344

8.9.6 Mu ltiplication factor 345

8.10 P hototranslstors 345

Problems 348

References 350


9.1 9.2


Noise 353

9.2. 1 Thermal noise 353 ,

9.2.2 Oark current noise 353

9.2.3 Quantum noise 354

9.2.4 Dig ltal sianalling qua ntum noise 9.2.5 Analog tra nsrntsalcn quantu m noise

Hacslver Noise 359

9.3.1 p-n and o-i-n photodiode receiver

9.3.2 Receiver capacitance ·364

9.3.3 Ava la nche photodlode {AP D) receiver 9.3.4 Excess avalanche noise fa ctor 371

Receiver Structu res 372

9.4.1 Low impedance front end 372

9.4.2 High impedance (Integrating) front end 9.4.3 The transimpedence front end 374

FET Preamplifiers 377

9.5.1 Gallium arsenide MESFETs

9.5.2 PlN-FET hybrids 379

Problems 381







355 357






10.' Introduction 386

, 0.2 The Optical Transmitter Circuit 388

10.2.1 Source lirnttattons 388

10.2.2 LED drive circuits 391

10.2.3 Laser drive circuits 399

10.3 The Optical-Hecelver Circuits 403

10.3.1 The preamplifier 404

1 0.3+2 Automatic gain control (AGe} 409

10.3.3 EQualization 4'2

10.4 Sy.tem Deli;n Considerations 415 , 0.4.1 Componen1 choice 416

. , O.4~2 MuJtlpi.~dng 417

10.1 ;Dlgltll S~.t.ml 41 a

.. '-........... .



10.6 Digital System Planning Considerations 423

10.6.1 The regenerative repeater 424

, 0.6.2 The optical transmitter 426

10.6.3 The optical receiver 427

10.6.4 Channel losses 438

10.6.5 Temporal response 439

10.6.6 Optical power budqstlnq 444

, 0.6.7 Line cadi ng 446

10.7 Analog Systems 449

10.7.1 Direct intensi1y modulation (D-~M) 451

10.7.2 System planning 457

1 O~ 7.3 S ubca rrier intensity modu lation 460

10.7.4 Subcarrier double sideband modulation (DSB-IM) 462

1 0.7, 5 Subcarrier frequency modulation (FM-I M) 463

10.7.6 Subcarriar phase modulation (PM-1M) 466

10.7.7 Pulse analog techniques 467

1 0.8 Coherent Systems 470

Problems 473

References 479


11 .1 11 .2

11 .3


11 .5



11 .8


Appendix A Appendix B Appen~ix C Appendix D Appendix E Appendix F

Inde. 546

I n trod u cti on 484

Public Network Applications 486

, 1.2.1 Trunk network 486

, 1.2.2 Junction network 489

11.2.3 local and rural networks 491

11.2.4 Submerged systems 493

Military Applications 494

11.3.1 Mobiles 494

, 1.3.2 Communication links Civil and Consumer Applications

11.4.1 Civil 497

11 .4.2 Consumer 499

In d u s tri a I App I i ca t ions 500

11.5.1 Sensor systems 501

Computer Applications 506

11.6.1 local area networks

In1egrated Optics 512

, 1 .7. 1 Planar waveguides 51 3

integrated Optical Devices 517

11.8.1 Beam splitters and switches

, 1 .8.2 Modu lators 521

11 .8.3 Periodic structures for fllters and injection lasers

11.8.4 Bistable optical devices 526

, 1 .8.5 Optoelectronic inteqration 530

11 .8.6 Su mmary 532


495 497




The Field Re~ations I n a Plan a r Guide 539

Variance of a Random Variable 540

Variance of the Sum of independent Random Variables 541

Speed of Response of a Photodiode 542

Closed loop Transfer Function for the Transtrnpedance Amplifier

Gaussian Pulse Response 544


.... - , .. ,- .. -.~, .~ ...



The concept of guided lightwave communication along optical fibers has stimulated a major new technology which has come to maturity over the last fifteen years .. During this period tremendous advances have been achieved with optical fibers and components as well as with the associated optoelectronics. As a result this new technology has now reached the threshold of large scale commercial exploitation .. Installation of optical fiber communication systems is progressing within both national telecommunication networks and more localized data communication and telemetry environments. Furthermore, optical fiber communication has become synonymous with the current worldwide revolution in information techno1ogy .. The relentless onslaught will undoubtedly continue over the next decade and the further predicted developments will ensure even wider application of optical fiber communication technology in this 'infermation age' ..

The practical realization of wide-scale optical fiber communications requires suitable education and training for engineers and scientists within the technology. In this context the book has been developed from both teaching the subject to final year undergraduates and from a successful series of short courses on optical fiber communications conducted for professional engineers at Manchester Polytechnic. This book has therefore been written as a comprehensive introductory textbook for use by undergraduate and postgraduate engineers and scientists to provide them with a firm grounding in the major aspects of this new technology whilst giving an insight into the possible future developments within the field. The reader should therefore be in a position to appreciate developments as they occur. With these aims in mind the book has been produced in the form of a teaching text enabling the reader to progress onto the growing number of specialist texts concerned with optical fiber waveguides, optoelectronics, integrated optics, etc.

In keeping with the status of an introductory text the fundamentals are included where necessary and there has been no attempt to cover the entire field in full mathematical rigor. However, selected proofs are developed in important areas throughout the text. It is assumed that the reader is conversant with differential and integral calcu1us and differential equations. In addition, the reader will find it useful to have a grounding in optics as well as a reasonable familiarity with the fundamentals of

, solid state physics.

Chapter 1 gives a short introduction to optical fiber communications by considering the historical development, the general system and the major advantages provided by this new technology. In . Chapter 2 the concept of the optical fiber as a transmission medium is introduced using a simple ray theory approach. This is followed by discuslion of electromagnetic wave theory applied to optical fibers prior to consideration of Ii,htwave transmission within the various fiber types, The major transmission cha r acteris tics of optical fi bers are th en di sCU ssed in so me detail in C h a pter 3.

Chapters 4 and 5 deal with the more practical aspects of optical fiber communication. and therefore could be omitted from an initial teaching program. In Chapter 4 the



manufacture and cabling of the various fiber types are described, together with fiber to fiber connection or jointing, Chapter 5 gives a genera] treatment of the major measurements which may be undertaken on optical fibers in both the laboratory and the field. This chapter is intended to provide sufficient background for the reader to pursue u se f u l 1 a bora tory wo r k with opti cal fibers.

Chapters 6 and 7 discuss the light sources employed in optical fiber communications+ In Chapter 6 the fundamental physical principles of photoemission and laser action are covered prior to consideration of the various types of semiconductor and nonsemiconductor laser currently in use, or under investigation, for optical fiber communications. The other important semiconductor optical source, namely the light emitting diode, is dealt with in Chapter 7.

The next two chapters are devoted to the detection of the optical signal and the amplification of the electrical signal obtained, Chapter 8 discusses the basic principles of optical detection in semiconductors; this is followed by a description of the various types of photodetector currently utilized. The optical fiber receiver is considered in C hap ter 9 with partie uJ ar em ph as is on i ts perform an ce in noise.

Chapter [0 draws together the preceding material in a detailed discussion of optical fiber communication systems, aiming to provide an insight into the design criteria and practices for aU the main aspects of both digital and analog fiber systems. A brief account of coherent optical fiber systems is also included to give an appreciation of this area of future development, Finally, Chapter [1 describes the many current and predicted application areas for optical fiber communications by drawing on examples from research and development work which has already been undertaken, This discussion is expanded into consideration of other likely future developments with a brief account of the current technology involved in integrated optics and optoelectronic inte gra ti on.

Worked examples are interspersed throughout the text to assist the learning process by illustrating the use of equations and by providing realistic values for the various parameters encountered, In addition, problems have been provided at the end of relevant chapters (Chapters 2 to 10 inclusive) to examine the reader's understanding of the text and to assist tutorial work. A Teacher's Manual containing the solutions to these problems may be obtained from the publisher. Extensive end-of-chapter references providea guide for further reading and indicate a source for those equations which have been quoted without derivation. A complete glossary of symbols, together with a list of common abbreviations employed in the text, is provided. SI units are used throughout the text.

I am very grateful for the many useful comments and suggestions provided by reviewer s which have resulted ins ignifican t improvements to this text. Thanks must also be given to. the authors of numerous papers, articles and books which 1 have referenced whilst preparing the text, and especially to those authors, publishers and companies who have kindly granted permission for the reproduction of diagrams and photographs. Further, r would like to thank my colleagues in the Dept. of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Manchester Polytechnic for their many helpful comments on the text; in particular Dr. Norman Burrow, Dr, John Edwards and Stewart C usworth for the time spent checking the manuscript. I am also grateful to my family and friends for tolerating my infrequent appearances over the period of the writing of this book~ Finally, words cannot express my thanks to my wife, Marion, for her patience and encouragement with this project and for her skilful typing of the manuscript.

r .""!



J. M. Senior Manchester Polytechnic

. .:.:._ ..

: _ _._ .


Glossary of Symbols and Abbreviations



constant, area (cross-section, emission), far field pattern size, mode amplitude, wave amplitude (A 0)

Ei n s te in coefficient of s p on taneou s em is sio n

peak amplitude of the subcarrier waveform (analog transmission}

fiber core radius, parameter defining the asymmetry of a planar guide (eq n. 11.6)~ baseband message signal (aCt)

integer 1 or 0

con stan t, electri cal band wid th (po s t detection), m agneti c flu x den s ity ~ mode amplitude, wave amplitude (Eo)

Einstein coefficients of absorption, stimulated emission modal birefringence

bandwidth of an intensity modulated optical signal m(t) optical bandwidth

recombination coefficient for electrons and holes

hit rate, when the system becomes dispersion limited (BT (DL)) normalized propagation constant for a fiber, ratio of luminance to composite video

constant, capacitance, crack depth (fiber), wave coupling coefficient per unit length

effective input capacitance of an optical fiber receiver amplifier opt i c al detector ca pa citan ce

capacitance associated with the feedback resistor of a transimpcdance optic al fi ber re ceiv er amplifier

total optical fiber channel loss in decibels, including the dispersionequalization penalty (CLD)

wave amplitude

total cap aci tan ce

velocity of light in a vacuum, constant (el ~ C2) tap coefficients for a transversal equalizer

amplitude coefficient, electric nux density t distance, corrugation period, decision threshold in digital optical fiber transmission

f req uen c y deviation ratio (s u bcarr ier PM)

dis persio n -eq ualiza lion pen a It y in deci b el s

frequency deviation ratio (subcarrier PM)

fi be r core diameter, di stan ce ~ width of th e a b so r pti on regio n (photodetector)'! pi n diameter (mode scr am b 1 er)

fiber outer (cladding) diameter

electric field, energy, Youngs mod ulu S '! ex peer ed value of a ran dam v ar iable






f fn fd 10


Gt(r) Go








H A(ro)

H CL (00) Heq{w) HOL(ro) Hout(ro) h

" ;

I" r




activation energy of homogeneous degradation for an LED

Fermi level (energy), quasi-Fermi level located in the conduction band (E Fe)" valence band (Ep.,.) of a semiconductor

separation energy between the valence and conduction hands in a semiconductor (bandgap energy)

subcarrier electric field (analog transmission) optical energy

separation energy of the quasi-Fermi levels electronic charge, base for natura] logarithms

probability of failure, transmission factor of a semiconductor-external interface, excess avalanche noise factor (F(M) )

Fourier transform arion

noise figure (amplifier)


peak to peak frequency deviation (PFM-IM)

peak frequency deviation (subcarrier FM and PM) pulse rate (PFM~IM)

open loop gain of an optical fiber receiver amplifier amplitude function in the WKB method

optical gain (phototransistor)

Gaussian (distribution)

degeneracy parameter

gain coefficient per unit length (laser cavity) transconductance of a field effect transistor threshold gain per unit length (laser cavity) magnetic fieJd

optical power transfer function (fiber), circuit transfer function

optical tiber receiver amplifier frequency response (including any equalization)

closed loop current to yo] ta ge tr ansf er fu n ction (receiver amp] ifier) eq u aliz er tr an sf er fu n cti on (f req uen cy response)

open loop current to voltage transfer function (receiver amplifier) output pulse spectrum from an optical fiber receiver

Planck's constant, thickness of a planar waveguide, power impulse response for an optical fiber (h(t»)

optic al fi ber receiver am p lifier i m pu l se res ponse (i n c 1 udi ng an y eq ua 1 iz a ~ tion)

effective thickness of a planar waveguide

common emitter current gain for a bipolar transistor optical fiber impulse response

output pulse shape from an optical fiber receiver in pu t pulse s h ape to an optical fi ber recei ver transmitted pulse shape on an optical fiber link electrical current, optical intensity

background radiation induced photocurrent (optical receiver) bias curre n t for an opti c al detector

collector current (phototransistor)

dark current (optical detector)

maxim urn optica l intensity

photocurrent generated in an optical detector threshold current (injection laser)

electrical current




optical receiver preampJifier shunt noise current optic a l r ecei ver pre a m p lifier total n oi se cu rren t decision threshold current (digital transmission) ph otodiod e dark noi se ell rren t

output current from an optical detector

n oi s e current gen erated in the feed ba ck res istor of an optical fi ber receiver tr an si mpedance preamplifier

total no ise curren t at a digit al opti ca I f ber re eei v er

multiplied shot noise current at the au tput of an APD ex eluding dark n 01 se current

shot noi se current on the pho toe urrent for a photodiode

rn ultiplied shot noise current at the OUtput of an APD including the dark noise current

signal current obtained in an optical fiber receiver the r ma I noi se current gen er a ted ina resistor

tota l sh ot noise cu rren t for a photod iod e wi thou t inte rn al gain Bessel function, current density

t b resho ld cur ren t den s i ty (i n jection I a ser)


B al tz mann's con stan t, con stan t de pendent on the optical fi ber properties,

m odifi ed B es sel function

stress intensity factor, for an elliptical crack (K[c)

wave propagation constant in a vacuum (free space wave number), wave vector for an ele ctron in a cry stal, ratio of ioni za tion rates for holes and electrons, integer

angu l ar f r eq uen cy de vi a tion (su be arrier F M) phase deviation constant (subcarrier PM) length (fiber), distance between mirror s (laser) bea t len gth ina sin gle mode optic al fiber coherenc e len gth in a sin gl e mode 0 pt ic al fiber char acteris tic length (fi ber )

cons tan t with dimensions of length

lateral misalignment loss at an optical fiber joint transmi-ssion loss factor (transmissivity) of an optical fiber azim uth al mode number, distance, length

atomic spacing (bond distance)

wave coupling length

avalanche multiplication factor, material dispersion parameter, total number of guided modes or mode volume; for a multi mode step index fiber (M ~); fOT multimode graded index fiber (M g), mean value (M J) and mean square value (Mt) of a random variable

safety margin in an optical power budget

o ptimum avalanche multiplication factor

excess avalanche noi se factor, (als 0 denoted as F(M) )

radial mode number ~ Wei bull distribution parameter, intensity modulated optical signa] (m(t) )1 mean value of a random variable, integer

mod ula tion index

integer, density of atoms in a particular energy level (e.g. N1, N2, N3), minority carrier concentration in n type semiconductor material, group index of an optical waveguide (N 1 )

numerical aperture of an optical fiber

. noise equivalent power




iD ld idet


I.Rig It




j K



defined by equation 10 .. 80

refractive index (e.g. n J ~ n2,. nJ), stress corrosion susceptibility, negative type semi condu ctor materia]

effective refractive index of a planar waveguide refractive index of air

electrical power, minority carrier concentration in p type semiconductor material, probability, of error (p(e) )t of detecting a zero level (P(O) ), of detecting a one 1evel (P(1)), of detecting z photons in a particular time period (p(z) )~ conditional probability, of detecting a zero when a one is transmitted (P(O/l))~ of detecting a one when a zero is transmitted (P(l/O) )

total power in a baseband message signal a(t) thres h old 0 ptical po wer fo r B ri llou in seat terin g optical power coupled into a step index fiber optical power density

d .c, optical output power

optic al po wer em i tted from an optic al sou rce optical power in a guided mode

mean input (transmitted) optical power launched into a fiber internally generated optical power (optical source)

total power in an intensity modulated optical signal m(t) mean output (received) optical power from a fiber

mean optical power travelling in a fiber

initial output optical power (prior to degradation) from an optical source peak received optical power

reference optical power level

threshold optical power for R am an scatterin g backscattered optical power (Rayleigh) within a fiber o pti c al power sea ttered fro m a fi ber

frequency spectrum of the mean input optical power launched into a fiber freq uency spectrum of the mean output optical power recel ved from a fiber

crystal momentum, average photoelastic coefficient, positive type semiconductor material, probability density function (p(x) )

integer, fringe shift

photodiode responsivity, radius of curvature of a fiber bend, electrical resistance (e.g. R in' Rout)

upward transition rate tor electrons from energy level 1 to level 2 downward transition rate for electrons from energy level 2 to level I effective input resistance of an optical fiber receiver preamplifier bias resistance, for optical fiber receiver preamplifier (R ba)

critical radius of an optical fiber

radiance of an optical source

ratio of electrical input power in decibels for an optical fiber system feedback resistance in an optical fiber receiver transirnpedance preamplifier

load resistance associated with an optical tiber detector

ratio of optical output power to optical input power in decibels for an optical fiber system

tot al load resis t an ce wi thin an opti c al fi be r receiver

r a dia l di s tanc e fro m the fi her ax i s, F r esn e1 rene ctio n coefficien t, mirror re t1 ecti vi t y, ele ctro-o ptic coeffici en t


q R

J •

:.( ...




Sf Sj(r)

Sm(m) SIN

To TR Ts T~yst TT Tt









Vbias Vc Vee VeE VEE Vopt




v A(J)


. v,


ge nerated electron rate ina n opt i cal detec tor

reflection and transmission coefficients respectively for the electric field at a planar, guide-cladding interface

reflection and transmission coefficients respectively for the magnetic field at a planar guide-cladding interface

incident photon rate at an optical detector

fraction of captured optical power, macroscopic stress f r act u re stres s

phase function in the WKB method

spectral density of the intensity modulated optical signal m(t)

peak signal power to rms noise power ratio, with peak to peak signal power l{S/N)1>-P 1~ with rms signal power [(SiN) rrns]

t heoreti cal C oh esi ve strength

pin spacing (mode scrambler)

temper ature .. time

in sertion los s re sul t i ng from an an gular otT set bet ween jo inted optical fibers

10-90% rise time arising from intramodal dispersion on an optical fiber link

I 0--90% ri s e ti me for an opti ca 1 detector fictive temperature

in serti on los s res u l ti n g f ro m a lateral 0 IT set between j 01 n ted opti c al fi b ers 10-90% rise time arising from intermodal dispersion On an optical fiber link

threshold temperature (injection laser), nominal pulse period (PFM-IM) ] 0-90% rise time at the regenerator circuit input (PFM~IM)

10-90% rise time for an optical source

total 10-90% rise time for an optical tiber system tot ali nsertion los s at an op ti cal fi ber j oi n t

tern per at ure rise at time t

maximum temperature rise


time constant

switch on delay (laser)

] Ie pulse width from the center

-. IO~90% rise time eigenvalue of the fiber core

electrical voltage, nomalized frequency for an optical fiber or planar waveguide

bias vo]t age for a p hotod i 0 de

cutoff value of normalized frequency collector supply voltage

collector-emitter voltage (bipolar transistor) emitter supply voltage

voltage reading corresponding to the total optical power in a fiber voltage reading corresponding to the scattered optical power in a fiber ele ctrica 1 vo It age

amplifier series noise voltage receiver amplifier output vo1tage crack velocity

,TOU p velocity

output voJtaie from an R C fitter eire u it

, '


Vp phase velocity

W eigenvalue of the fiber cladding, random variable

We electric pulse width

Wo optical pulse width

X random variable

x coordinate, distance, constant, evanescent field penetration depth, slab thickness

Y constant, shunt admittance, random variable

y coordinate, I ateral offset at a fiber joint

Z random variable

20 electrical impedance

z coordinate, number of photons

Z III a verage or mean number of photons arriving at a detector in a time period



Ucr IlJB arc J















oT .



average number of photons detected in a time period r

ch ar ac teristic re fr active index profile for fi ber (profile par ameter), optimum profile parameter (ao )

loss coefficient per unit length (laser cavity)

conn ector los s at trans rni tter and receiver in dec ibels signa] attenuation in decibels per unit length

fiber cable loss in decibels per kilometer

fiber joint loss in decibels per kilometer

signal atten u a tion in nepers

absorption coeffi cien t

rad I ation a tten u a tion coefficient wa ve propag ation constant

gain factor (injection laser cavity) isotherm a1 com pre s stbil ity

pro portional ity con st ant

degr adation rate

angle, attenuation coefficient per unit length for a fiber su rface energy of a material

Rayleigh scattering coefficient for a fiber

reJative refractive index difference between the fiber core and cladding phase shift associated with transverse electric waves uncorrected source frequency width

phase shift associated with transverse magnetic waves

optical source spectral width (linewidth)

intermodal dispersion time in an optical fiber

delay difference between an extreme meridional ray and an axial ray for a graded index fiber

delay difference between an extreme meridional ray and an axial ray for a step index fiber ~ with mode coupling (STsc)

electrical permittivity, of free space (€o), reJative (s.)

solid acceptance ang1e

quantum efficiency (optical detector) angular coupling efficiency (fiber joint) coupling efficiency (optica1 source to fiber)

differential external q u an tum efficiency (opti c at source) external power efficiency (optical source)

internal quantum efficiency (optical source)

lateral coupling efficiency (fiber joint)

overall power conversion efficiency (optical source) total external quantum efficiency (optlcal scuree)




" llang


TID llep lli 11lat 'lpc llT




aT 01- t

121 tE te tg '1'. 'tf

rll q.

't' (0

angle, fiber acceptance angle (Sa), Bragg diffraction angle (80) acoustic wavelength, period for perturbations in a fiber

ell totT period for pert ur ba tion s in a fiber

optical wavelength

long wavelength cutoff (photodiode)

wavelength at which first order dispersion is zero

magnetic permeability, relative permeability (u.), permeability of free space (JJo)

optic al sou rce band width in gig ahertz

polarization rotation in a single mode optical fiber

s pectr at density of the r adiation energy at a tr an si tion f req uen cy f standard deviation, (rrns pulse width), variance (02)

rm s pulse broadening res ul ting f ro m in tr amodal dis per sian in a fiber rms pulse broadening resulting from material dispersion in a fiber

rms pulse broadening resulting from interrnodal disperion, in a graded index fiber (O'g), in a step index fiber (O"~)

total rms pul se broaden ing in a fiber or fiber link rms spectral width of e mission from optical source

time period, bit period, pulse duration 3 dB pulse width (t(3 dB)) spontaneous transition lifetime between energy levels 2 and 1 time delay in a transversal equalizer

1/ e full width pulse broadening due to di s persion on an optic at fiber link group delay

injected (minority) carrier lifetime radiative minority carrier lifetime linear retardation

angle, critical angle (q,c)

sc al ar q u an ti t y representing E or H field

angular frequency, of the subcarrier waveform in analog transmission (mc )~ of the mod ulati ng signa l i n analo g trans mis sian (ro m)

spot size of the fundamental mode

vector operator, Laplacian operator (V2)

A-D analog to digital CMOS complementary metal
a.c. alternating current oxide silicon
AGe automatic gain CNR carrier to noise ratio
control CPU central processing unit
AM ant p li tude mod ula lion CSP channelled substrate
APD a v alanche photodiode planar (injection laser)
ASK amplitude shift keying CW continuous wave or
BER bit error rate operation
BH bur ied hetero s tr u ct u re D-A digital to analog
(injection laser) dB decibel
BOD bistable optical device O-IM direct intensity modula-
CAM computer aided manu- tion
facture DBF distributed feedback (in-
CATV common an tenna televi- j ection la s er)
• DBR distributed Bragg reflec-
(CTV close eire uit televi si 0 n tor (injection laser)
CDH con stricted dou b~e d.c .. dire ct cur re n t
heteroj unction (injectio n DH do u b 1 e heteros true t u re or
II.er.) heteroj unction (injection
oodId mark Jllvw.ion 1 ••• r or LED) •••





EMP erf erfc

















PCM pes


double sideband (amplitude modulation) traditional mode designation

el ectrom agneti c in terference

electrom agnetic pulse error function

co mp lementary error function

frequency division multiplexing

field effect trans istor frequene y modu1ation freq uenc y sh i ft keying f u1 l width half po wer hi gh den s ity bi pol ar

tr ad itiona 1 m ode de sign ation

helium-neon (laser) high frequency - high voltage

in termedia te freq uen cy in j ecti on laser d iod e intensity modulation integrated optics

in put! 0 u tput

in ters ym bo 1 interference local area network

Jig h t em itt in g diode large optica1 cavity (injection laser)

linearly polarized (mode notation)

liquid phase epitaxy modi fied c he rnical va por deposition

met al Schottky fi eld eff ect tr a ns i stor

metal in te gr ated -se mi ~ cond u eto r field effect transistor neodymium-doped yttrium-aluminumgarnet (la ser)

n onret urn to zero optical time domain

. reflecto m etrv outside vapor phase oxidation

pulse amplitude modulalion

pulse code modulation plastic-clad silica (fiber)

: ... ~'. . .~~'-. :'

- ••••• .:.1.:.:.:. • ...:.:: • "~


p la sm a- act iva ted chemical vapor deposition

plano-convex waveguide (injection laser)

pro ba hi li t Y den s i ty fun c ~ tion

pulse frequency modulation

p-i-n photodiode fol] 0 wed by afield effect transistor

phase modulation

p u ls e position mod u1 a tion phase shi ft keying

Post, Telegraph and Tele-







• •


pulse width modulation reach-through avalanche photodiode

radio f req uen cy i n terference

root mean square

re lax atio n osci lla t 10 n return to zero

surface acoustic wave space division multiplexing

super high freq uency separated multiclad layer (injection laser)

signa] to noise ratio

time division multiplexing tr ans verse e1ectric

tr ansverse electro m ag ~ netic

transverse junction stripe (injection laser)

tr an s ver se m agn eti c tr an sistor- tr an sistor logic

ultra high frequency vapor axial deposition vo ltage co n trolled 0 scillator

very hi gh frequency vapor phase epitaxy wavelength division multi .. plexing

Wentzel, Kramers, Brillouin (analysis tech-

niq ue) for IT adad Rber wide band .witch point zen rI •. ~ dJodI














Communication may be broad ly defined as the transfer of in formation from one point to anothe...G When the information is to be conveyed over any distance a communication system is usually required. Within a communication

~ system the information transfer is frequently achieved by superimposing or

. . ~

mod ulating the i nforma 1 ion onto. an electromagnetic tva ve wh ich acts a s a

. carrier for the information signal. This modulated carrier is then transmitted to

. .'

, the required destination where it is received. and the original information signa]

is obtained by demodu]ationl Sophisticated techniques have been developed for this process using _electromagnetic carrier waves operating at radio frequencies ~ .. - -: as well as microwa~'e.,a~d millimeter. wave frequencies, However, 'communication' may also be achieved using an electrom agnetic carrier which is selected from the optical" range of frequencies.

. W-tb&T'ON ! b


. The use of visible optical carrier waves or light for communication has been common for many years. Simple systems such as signal fires, reflecting

'mirrors and, more recently ~ signalling I amps have provided successful, if limited, information transfer. Moreover, as early as 1880 Alexander Graham Bell reported the transmission of speech using a light beam l Ref. 11. The otophone proposed by Ben just four years after the invention of the telephone modulated sunlight with a diaphragm giving speech transmission over a dlstance of 200 m .. However, although some investigation of optical communication continued in the early part of the 20th Century l Refs, 2 and 3 I its use was limited to mobile, low capacity communication links. This was due to th the lack of suitable light sources and the problem that light transmission

ln the atmosphere is restricted to line of sight and scvere]y affected by disturces such as rain, snow, fog, dust and atmospheric turbulence. Nevertheless frequency and hence longer wavelength electromagnetic waves" (i.e. actio and microwave) proved suitable carriers for information transfer in the

:r .. .For .th. prop_.aUon or elcctromaanetic waves in free space, the wavelength A. equals th e v.lQllt~ 01' t~lhl in I vlcuum c tlmes the reciprocnl of the frequency f in hertz or A -=.:: elj:

~. I I·r: • ,I: . .





atmosphere, being far less affected by these atmospheric conditions, Depending on their wavelengths these electromagnetic carriers can be transmitted over considerable distances but are limited in the amount of information they can convey by their frequencies (Le~ the information-carrying capacity is directly related to the bandwidth or frequency extent of the modulated carrier, which is gener all y Ibn i ted to a fixed fraction of the carrier freq uency). In theory, the greater the carrier freq uency ~ the larger the available transmission bandwidth and thus the information-carrying capacity of the communication system. For this reason radio communication was developed to higher frequencies (i~e. V HF and UHF) leading to the introduction of the even higher frequency microwave and, latterly, millimeter wave transmission .. The relative frequencies and wavelengths of these types of electromagnetic wave can be observed from the electromagnetic spectrum shown in Fig+ 1 ~ 1. In this context it may also be noted that communication at optical frequencies offers an increase in the potential usable bandwidth by a factor of around 104 over high frequency microwave transmission. An additional benefit of the use of high carrier frequencies is the general ability of the communication system to concentrate the available power within the transmitted electromagnetic wave, thus giving an im proved sy stern perform ance f Ref. 41 ..

A renewed interest in optical communication was stimulated in the early 1960s with the invention of the laser I Ref. 51~ This device provided a powerful coherent light source together with the possibility of modulation at high frequency. In addition the 10\\1" beam divergence of the laser made enhanced free space optical transmission a practical possibility. However, the previously mentioned constraints of light transmission in the atmosphere tended to restrict these systems to short distance applications. Nevertheless, despite the pro blerns some mod est free space optical commun lea tion lin k s have been implemented for application s such as the lin king of a television cam er a to a base vehicle and for data I inks of a few hundred mete rs between bu ildings, There is also some interest in optical communication between satellites in outer space u s i ng similar techn iq ues [Ref. 6 J.

Although the U5e of laser for free space optical communication proved somewhat limited, the invention of the laser instigated a tremendous research effort in the study of optical components 10 achieve reliable information transfer using a lightwave carrier, The proposals for optical communication via dielectric waveguides or optical fibers fabricated from glass were made almost simultaneously in 1966 by K ao and Hockharn [Ref. 7 J and Werts I Ref. 8 J to avoid degradation of the optical signa] by the atmosphere. Such systems were viewed as a replacement for coaxial cable or carrier transmission systems. Initially the optical fibers exhibited very high attenuation (i.e ..

1000 dB k m") and were therefore not comparable with the coaxial cables they were to replace (i.e. 5-10 dB km' ). There were also serious problems involved with jointing the fiber cables in a satisfactory manner to achieve low loss and to enable the process to be performed relatively easily and repeatedly in the

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field . Nevertheless, within the space of ten years opti cal fi bcr 10sses were reduced Lo below 5 dB km ' and suitable low loss jointing techniques were perfected.

in parallel with the development of the fiber waveguide, attention was also focused on the other optical components which would constitute the optical fiber communication system. Since optica1 frequencies are accompanied by extremel y small wavelength s the development of all these optical com pon ents essentially required a new technology .. Thus semiconductor optical sources (i.e, injection lasers and 1ight emitting diodes), as wen as detectors (i.e, photodiodes and to a certain extent phototransistors) compatible in size with optical fibers were designed and fabricated to enable successful implementation of the optical fiber system. Initially the semiconductor lasers exhibited very short lifetimes of at best a few hours, but significant advances in the device structure enabled lifetimes greater than 1000 hr r Ref. 91 and 7000 hr ~ Ref. 101 to be obtained by 1973 and 1977 respectively. * These devices were originall y fa bricated from alloys of galliu m arsenide (Al Ga As) which emitted in the near infrared between 0.8 and 0.9 11m. More recently this wavelength range has been extended to include the 1. 1-1 .. 6 urn region by the use of other semiconductor alloys (see Section 6.3.6) to take advantage of the enhanced performance characteristics displayed by optical fibers over this range. Similar developments in the generally simpler structure of light emitting diodes and detector photodiodcs also contributed to the realization of rel ia ble optical fiber communication.

The achievem ent of these impressive results h as stemmed from the enorm ous amou nt of work directed into these areas due to the m aj or distinct advantages offered by optical fiber communications. However, 'prior to discussian of these ad vantages we will briefly consider the salient features of the optical fiber communication system,

, I

~ I

I '



I' ,

I i

, I



1 I

An optical fiber communication system is similar in basic concept to any type of communication system. A block schematic of a general communication system is shown in Fig. 1.2(a), the function of which is to convey the signal fr01TI the information source over the transmission medium to the destination. The com munication syste m therefore consi sts of a transmitter or modulator linked to the information source, the transmission medium, and a receiver or demodulator at the destination point. In electrical communications the information source provides an electrical signal, usually derived from a message


~ I



* Projected semiconductor laser lifetimes are currently in the region of I O~ to IOI!i h (see ' , Section 6. Y.6) indicating a substantial improvement since 1977.




,-------~_~----- --- ~_--- ~_rl

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1 1
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-- - Des t! ua lion
-- ([11 (H~ ul a tor) -- m:.::d iurn -- (dcrnodul ::.Il()r) --L
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1 I
1 1
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1 1

1 C ommurucatior; sysluin I

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I n (()fm at jon 1 Fko:;t~jcal Optical ()p tj ('..:1.] fi be I
... .. --
source -- transmit -- 'SOlJ rce -- (,.i:I; blc -


Optical - l.lectrical _.L Dr;;."~ lin auon
-- detector - receive -I
1 () P tical Iibur corm n L! n i UI. tion sy 5 tvrn

----------~~----------~------------ ~ __ I

Fig. 1.2 tal The general communication system. (b) The optical fiber communication

system, .'

signal which is not electrical (erg .. sound), to a transmitter C01n prising electrical and electronic components which converts the signal into a suitable form for propagation over the transmission medium. This is often achi eyed by modu-

. lating a carrier w hich, as mentioned previously ~ may be an electromagnetic wave. The tran s mission rnedi urn c an con sist of a p air of wires, a coaxial cable or a radio link through free space down which the signa] is . transmitted to the receiver, where it is transformed into the original electrical :. information signal (dernod ulated) before being passed. to the desti nation. -However it must be noted that in any transmission medium the signa] is attenuated, or suffers Joss, and is subject to degradations due to contamation by random signals and noise as well as possible distortions imposed by hanisms within the medium itself. Therefore, in any communication stem there is a maximum permitted distance between the transmitter and the

ftceiver beyond which the system effectively ceases to give intelligible com:m.unication. For long haul applications these factors necessitate the installation r repeaters or line amplifiers (see Section 1 O~4) at intervals, both to remove ·Ilanal distortion and to increase signal level before transmission is continued '.4own the link.

For optical fiber communications the system shown in Fig .. 1 .. 2(a) may be sidered in slightly greater detail, as in Fig. 1.2(b). In this case the informalouree provides an electrical signal to a transmitter comprising an



electrical stage which d rives an optical source to give mod ulation of the lightwave carrier, The optical source which provides the electrical-optical conversion may be either a semiconductor laser or light emitting diode (LED). The transmission medium consists of an optical fiber cable and the receiver consists of an optical detector which drives a further electrical stage and hence provides demodulation of the optical carrier" Photodiodes (p-n, p~i~n or avalanche) and, in some instances, phototransistors are utilized for the detection of the optical signal or the optical-electrical conversion. Thus there is a requirement. for electrical interfacing at either end of the optical link and at present the signal processing is usual1y performed electrically."

The optical carrier may be modulated using either an analog or digital information signal. In .~h~ system shown in Fig .. 1 .. 2(b) analog modulation involves the variation of the light emitted from the optical source in a continuous manner. W ith digital. modul ation, however ~ discrete changes in the light intensity are obtJined (i.e, on-off pulses). Although often simpler to implement, analog modulation with an optical fiber communication system is Jess efficient, requiring a far higher signa] to noise ratio at the receiver than digital modulation. A] so the linearity needed for analog modulation is not alway s provided by semiconductor optical sources, especially at high modulation frequencies. For these reasons, analog optical fiber communication Jinks are general1y limited to shorter distances and lower bandwidths than digital links.

Figure 1.3 shows a block schematic of a typica1 digital optical fiber link.

Initially the input digital signal from the information source is suitably encoded for optical transmission. The laser drive circuit directly modulates the intensity of the semiconductor laser with the encoded digital signal. Hence a digital optical signa] is launched into the opticaJ fiber cab1e. The ava1anche photodiode (APD) detector is followed by a front-end amplifier and equalizer or filter to provide gain as wen as linear signal processing and noise bandwidth reduction" Finally, the signal obtained is decoded to give the original digital information. The various elements of this and alternative optical fiber system configurations are discussed in detail in the following chapters. However, at this stage it is instructive to consider the advantages provided by lightwave

Laser drive circuit

Amplifier and

eq ual i t.r:;::T



in f OTLTIa tio n :yL) I)ro:,::~ .

Dlgiud output

Fig. 1.3 A dlqltal optical fiber link usinp a semiconductor laser source and an avalanche photodiode (APD) detector.

,. I I :1

Ijt: Significant developments are taking place in optical signal processing which may alter thl. situation in the future (see Sections I L 7 and ] 1.8),



communication via optical fibers in comparison with other forms of line and radio communication which have brought about the introduction of such systems in many areas throughout the world.


_ __._:...--.-_... -~ .. ._.r___... •• _.. ...... ·- .--:.,. ...................... ---- ... --..... .............. - " .•

~....,.._,........,........._.~ -~~ti:._c a~~]:...:c~a~~r,~r~i~~--~.2,~~gplQ,.e.d~.along ... a .gJ.a~_s .. l1p.~r .. ~.~~~_a

............ __.

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~iq ue was ori !TIY S.~C~!Y!.8.:,_,~f.,~.~.~.h~~~.?r~:~_~~~t: __ - ad ~I ~P'9~_§," .. jn ~tJJ~ y to. da:i~ ._~ay~ surpassed even the most optimistic predictions creat-

1III;II:tot!iII •. ~r.r.,."i.u.-.I~.-;,:_,;."r2. _'l.i:;.:c-1"1.I:' ..... .i-= "" .... ", .... ._"':""t...J", ''', •••••• ..:...-: .• ::,,:.: .... " ":=,,1. ,",.... I ,," , , ' -. .. " ,

advant Hence it is useful to consider the merits and special ~-~.

~~e·a~tu ...... r-e......;.s -o-tl~e-r..,_ed~b~y--o ... p ..... t"'ical fiber communications over more convention'al -:

electrical communications. ~:Sfogtex4 ~e c~~l~~<~tl)x<s;trJgf.!!!llY :;:;_ .. ':,-' foreseen advantages and then consider additional features \Vh1Ch have become. '<)'

IPpa!e.pt as the technology developed. - . . . ... _ ...... _ .. ~ .. _~ ... ~-~~~ .


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(a) Enormous potential bandwidth

The optical carrier frequency in the range 1013 to 1016 Hz (generally in the near infrared around IO'" Hz hor 105 GHz) yields a far greater potential transmission bandwidth than metallic cable systems (i.e, coaxial cable bandwidth up to around 500 MHz) or even millimeter wave radio systems (i.e. systems currently operating with modulation bandwidths of 700 MHz)+ At present, the bandwidth available to fiber systems is not fully utilized but . modulation at several gigahertz over a few kilometers and hundreds of , megahertz over tens of kilometers without intervening electronics (repeaters) is possible. Therefore, the information-carrying capacity of optical fiber systems is already proving far superior to the best copper cable systems. By comparison the losses in wideband coaxial cable systems restrict the transmission distance to only a few kilometers at bandwidths over a hundred megahertz. Mcreover, it is certain that the usable fiber system bandwidth will be extended further towards the optical carrier frequency in the f u lure to provide an Information-carrying capacity far in excess of that obtained using copper cables or a wideband radio system,


(b) Small sIze and weight

pptical fibers have very smal1 diameters which are often no greater than the 1iiameter of a human hair. Hence, even when such fibers are covered with protective coatings they are far smaller and much lighter than corresponding opper cables. This is a tremendous boon towards the alleviation of duct conion in cities, as well as allowing for an expansion of signal transmission

thin mobiles such as aircraft, satellites and even ships.


8IIotrlaai l,oIatlon

. I fiber. whlch are rabricated from alas s or somet imes a p last ic po lymer

- ~ :...'\. j 'i : -, . . . - ..




are electrical insulators and therefore, unlike their metairie counterparts, they do not exhibit earth loop and interface problems. Furthermore, this property makes optical fiber transmission ideally suited for communication in electrically hazardous en viron merits as the fi bers create no arcin g or spark haz ard at abrasions or short c i reu its.

(d) Immunity to interference and crosstalk

Optical fibers form a dielectric waveguide and are therefore free from electromagnetic interference (EMI)~ radiofrequency interference (R F I)~ or switching transients giving electromagnetic pulses (EMP). Hence the operation of an optical fiber communication system is unaffected by transmission through an electrically noisy environment and the fiber cable requires no shielding from EMI. The fiber cable is also not susceptible to lightning strikes if used overhead rather than underground. Moreover, it is fairly easy to ensure that there is no optical interference between fibers and hence .. unlike communication using electrical conductors, crosstalk is negligible .. even when many fibers arc cabled together.

" "


(e) Signal security

The light from optical fibers does not radiate significantly and therefore they provide a high degree of signal security. Unlike the situation with copper cables, a transmitted optical signal cannot be obtained from a fiber in a noninvasive manner (i.e. without drawing optical power from the fiber). Therefore, in theory, any attempt to acquire a message signal transmitted optically may be detected. This feature is obviously at tractive for military, banking and general data transmission (i.e. computer network) applications.

(f) Low transmission loss

The deveJopment of optical fibers over the i ast 15 years has resul ted in the production of optical fiber cables which exhibit very low attenuation or transmission loss in comparison with the best copper conductors, Fibers have been fabricated with losses as low as 0.2 dB km' (see Section 3.3.2) and this feature has become a major advantage of optical tiber communications. It facilitates the implementation of communication links with extremely wide repeater spacing (long transmission distances without intermediate electronics), thus red ucing both system cost and complexity .. Together with the already proven modulation bandwidth capability of fiber cable this property provides a totally compe1ling case for the adoption of optical fiber communication in the majority of long-haul telecommunication applications.

(g) Ruggedness and nexibillty

Although protective coatings are essential, opticaJ fibers may be manufactured with very high tensile strengths (see Section 4~6.]). Perhaps surprisingly for a glassy substance, the fibers may a]80 be bent to quite smalJ radii or twj.t~d



wit hout damage. F urthermore, cable s tr uctu res have been developed (see Section 4.7 .. 4) which have proved flexible, compact and extremely rugged. Taking the size and weight advantage into account, these optical fiber cables are generally superior in terms of storage, transportation, handling and installation than corresponding copper cables whilst exhibiting at least compar able strength and durability.

(h) System reliability and ease of maintenance

These features primarily stem from the low loss property of optical fiber cables which reduces the requirement for intermediate repeaters or line amplifiers to boost the transmitted signal strength. Hence with fewer repeaters, system reliability is generally enhanced in comparison with conventional electrical

conductor systems. Fu rthermore, the reliability of the optical component s j s no

longer a problem with predicted lifetimes of 20-30 years now quite common. Both- these factors also tend to reduce maintenance time and costs.

(I) Poten ti al low cost

The glass which generally provides the optical fiber transmission medium is made from sand-not a scarce resource+ So, in comparison with copper conductors, optical fibers offer the potential for 10\\' cost line communication. As yet this potential has not been fully realized because of the sophisticated, and therefore expensive, processes required to obtain ultra-pure glass, a nd the lack of production volume. At present, optical fiber cabJe is reasonably competitive with coaxial cable, but not with simple copper wires (e.g, twisted pairs). However, it is likely that in the future it will become as cheap to use optical fibers with their superior performance than almost any type of electrical conductor,

Moreover, overall system costs when utilizing optical fiber communication on long-haul links are generally reduced to those for equivalent electrical line systems because of the 10w loss and wideband properties of the optical transmission medium. As indicated in (f'), the requirement for intermediate repeaters and the associated electronics is reduced .. giving a significant cost advantage. However, although this cost ben efi t gives a net gai n for 1 ong - ha u I links this is not usually the case in short-haul applications where the additional cost incurred, due to the electrical-optical conversion (and vice versa), may be a deciding factor .. Nevertheless, there are other possible cost advantages in relation to shipping, handling, installation and maintenance, as well as the features indicated in (c) and (d) which may prove significant in the system choice ..

The Jow cost potentia] of optical fiber communications not only provides Itrong competition with electrical line transmission systems, but also with microwave and millimeter wave radio transmission systems. Although these .)'~teml are reasonably wideband the relatively short span 'line of sight' trlnlmil.ton n,eccssitates expensive aerial towers at intervals no greater than a ,.W· tllII of kilometer It'

.. ;~ . ;

,. I



M any advantages are therefore provided by the use of a lightwave carrier within a transmission medium consisting of an optical fiber. The fundamental principles giving rise to these enhanced performance characteristics, together with their practical realization, are described in the following chapters. However, a general understand ing 0 r the basic nature and properties of I ight is assumed. If this is lacking, the reader is directed to the many excellent texts encompassing the topic, a few of which are indicated in Refs. ] 6-22.




1 A. G. Ben, "Selen ium and the p hotophone ', The E lect ric ian, pp. 2 l4~ 2 15., 220~ 22], l880,

2 w. S. Huxford and J+ R. Platt, 'Survey or near infra-red communication systems" J. Opt. Soc. Am., 38~ pp. 253-268, I948.

3 N. C. Beese, '" Light sources for optical com munication \ Infrared P hys . ., I, pp. 5-16, 1961.

4 R. M. Gagliardi and S, Karp, Optical Communications, John Wiley, 1976.

5 T~ H. Mairnan, "Stimulated optical radiation in ruby" Nature .. LOJ1d~~ 1871 pp, 493--4941 1960.

6 A. R. Kraemer, -i Free-space optical cornmun ications', Signal, pp, 26-32, 1977.

7 K. C. Kao and G. A, Hockharn, 'Dielectric-fiber surface waveguides for optical frequencies', Proc, IEE~ 113(7)~ pp. 115] -l l58, 1966.

8 A. Werts, '" Propagation de la I u rniere coherente dans les fibres optiq ues \ L 'Onde Electrique, 46, pr. 967~980, 1966+

9 R. L. Hartman, J. C. Dymen L, C. J. Hwang and H. K uhn, 'Contin uous operation of Ga.As-Ga, Al1_,," As~ double heterostructure lasers with 30°C half lives exceeding 1000 h', Appl. Phys. Lett., 23(4), PP+ 181-1.83~ ] 973.

10 A. R~ Goodwin, J. F+ Peters, M+ Pion and W. O. Bourne: 'Ga.As lasers with consistently low degradation rates at room temperature', Appl. Phys. Leu., 30(2), pp. 110- I 13 ~ 1977.

11 P. Russer, 'Introduction to optical communication', M. J. Howes and D. V.

Morgan (Eds.), Optical Fibre Communications, pp, I~26~ John Wiley, 1980. 12 J + E+ Mid winter ~ Optical Fibres for Transmission, J oh n WHey, 1979.

13 B+ Casta, '" H istorical remark s' ~ in Optical Fibre Communication by the Tech nical S ta t f of C S E L T ~ Me Gr a w - Ji i 11, 1981.

14 C. P. Sandbank (Ed+)~ Optical Fibre Communication Systems, John Wilcy~ 19RO. 15 H. r. WoJf (Ed.), Handbook oj Fiber Oplics~ Theory and Applications. Granada~ 1981.

16 f-i. A. Jenkins and H. E+ White, Fundamentals oj Optics (4th cdn.), McGraw-HiH, 1976.

1 7 E+ Hecht and A. Z aj ac, Optics. Addison-Wesley ~ J 974.

18 G. R+ Fowles. J ntroduction to Modern Optics (2nd cdn.I, H 01 t, Rinehart &

Winston, ] 975.

19 R + S+ Longhurst. Geometrical and Physical Optics, (3 rd cdn .}~ Longman, 1 973. 20 F~ G. Smith and J. H. Thomson, Optics, John WileY1 1980.

21 S+ G. Lipson and H. Lipson .. Optical Physics, (2nd edn.), C ambridge University Press, 1981.

22 M. Born and E+ Wolf, Principles of Optics. (6th edn.), Pergamon Press, 1980,


Optical Fiber Waveguides


The transmission of light via a dielectric waveguide structure was first proposed and in vcstigated at the begi n n i ng of the 20th Cen 1 u ry ~ ln ] 9 10 H ond ros and Debyc i ReL 11 cond ucted a theoretical study and ex peri m ental work was reported by Schriever in 1920 l Ref. 2 L However .. a transparent dielectric rod ~ ty picall y of silica glass with a refractive index of aro und 1.5, su rrounded by air, proved to be an impractical waveguide due to its unsupported structure (especially when very thin waveguides were considered in order to limit the number of optical modes propagated) and the excessive losses at any discontinuities of the glass-air interface. Nevertheless, interest in the application of dielectric optical waveguides in such areas as optical imaging and medica] diagnosis (c.g, endoscopes) led to proposals I Refs. 3 and 4l for a clad dielectric rod in the mid 1 Y 50s in order to overcome th esc pro blem s. Th is structure is illustrated in Fig. 2. I which shows a transparent core with a refracti ve index n I S U frau nded by a tran sparcnt cladding of sligh 11 y lower refractive index n], + The cladding supports the waveguide structure w hilst also, when sufficiently thick, substantially reducing the radiation Joss into the surrounding air. I n essence, the ligh t energy travels in both t he core a nu the cl adding allowing the associated fields to decay to a negligible value at the cladding-air interface.

The invention of' the clad waveguide structure led to the first serious proposals by Kao and Hockham I Ref. 5 ~, and Werts l Ref. 6! in 1966 to utilize optical fibers as a communications medium even though they had losses in excess of 1000 dB km '. These proposals stimulated tremendous efforts to

FIQJ It 1 Opt~cl!Il fiber wavagulde showing the core of refractive index n1 surrounded by tn. cllddlng of slightly lower refractive Index nl.






reduce the attenuation by purification of the materials. This has resulted in improved conventional glass refining techniques giving fibers with losses of around 4.2 dB km " r Ref. 7 J+ Also progress in glass refining processes such as depositing vapor-phase reagents to form silica r Ref. 8 J has allowed fibers with los scs below l dB km 1 to be fabricated.

Most of this work was focused on the 0 .. 8-0.9 um wavelength band because the first generation optical sources fabricated from gallium aluminum arsenide alloys operated in this region. However, as silica fibers were studied in further detail it became apparent that transmission at longer wavelengths (] .1-1 ~6 urn) \\'0 uld result in lower losses and reduced signal dispersion .. This produced a shift in optical fiber source and detector technology in order to provide operation at these longer wavelength s. Hence at longer wavelength s, es pee ially a rau nd ] .. 55 urn, fibers with losses as low as O~2 dB km " have been reported l Ref. 91~

In order to appreciate th e transmission mechanism of optical fi hers \v ith dimensions approximating to those of a human hair, it is necessary to consider the optical wavcguiding of cylindrical glass fibers. Such a fiber acts as an open optica1 waveguide, which may be analyzed utilizing simple ray theory+ However; t he concepts of geometric optics are not sufficien L \v hen con sidering an types of optical fiber and electromagnetic mode theory must be used to give a complete picture. The following sections will therefore outline the transmis sion of light in optical fibers prior to a more detai1ed discu ssion of the v ariou s. types of fiber.

I n Section 2.2 we con tinuc the discussion 0(' light propagation in optical fibers using the ray theory approach in order to develop some of the fundamental parameters associated with optical fiber transrnission (acceptance angle" numerical aperture, etc .. ). Furthermore, this provides a basis for the disc ussion of electromagnetic wave propagation presented in Section 2.3 + I n this section the electromagnetic mode theory is developed for the planar (rectangular) wa veg uidc prior to consideration of the cyl indric al tiber. Foll owi n g~ in Section 2 .4~ we discuss optical propagation in step index fibers (both multimode and single mode). Finally, Section 2 .. 5 gives a brief account of the waveguiding mechanism within graded index fibers.


2.2.1 Total Internal Reflection

To consider the propagation of light within an optical fiber utilizing the ray theory model it is necessary to take account of the refractive index of the dielectric medi U lTI. T he refractive index of a mcdi U In is defined as the ratio or the velocity of light in a vacu urn to the velocity of ligh t in the rued i u rn. A ray of 1ight travels more slowJy in an optically dense medium than in one that is less dense, and the refractive index gives a measure of this effect. When a ray is

u. ...



incident on the interface between two dielectrics of differing refractive indices (c.g. glass-air), refraction occurs as illustrated in Fig. 2.2(a). It may be observed that the ray approaching the interface is propagating in a dielectric of ref r active index n J and is at an angle $1 . to the norm al at t he surface of the interface. If the dielectric on the other side of the interrace has a refractive index N2 which is Jess than n1 then the refraction is such that the ray path in this lower index medium is at an angle ~2 to the normal, where ~~ is greater than $] . The angles of incidence ~ l and refraction ~: are related to each other and to the refractive indices of the dielectrics by Snell's law of refraction ~ ReL 10] ~ which states that:



It may also be observed in Fig. 2.2(a) that a small amount of light is retlected back into the originating dielectric medium (partial internal reflection). As nl is greater than n2.' the angle of refraction is always greater than the angle of incidence. Thus when the angle of refraction is 900 and the refracted ray emerges parallel Lo the interface between the dielectrics the angle of incidence must be less than 90°. This is the limiting case of refraction and the angle of in cidence i 5 now known as the critical angle ~, as shown in Fig.

L(J w i ndex 1~"2- (a ir)

IJ ;;!

High i nLlt:":-;' H] H~.I~%)

'" Partial iu ccrnal

\ r\' Ill: l: ~ in Il


Incident ray


Jig. 2.2

L;ght rays incident on high to low refractive index interface (e.g, glass-air): (8) 'refraction; (b) the Ii miting ca se of refra etten showing the crltlca ~ ray at an angle ~c; ~c) tota I lnternal reflection where '" > ~ .



2.2(b). From Eq. (2.1) the value of the critical angle is given by:


A t angles of incidence greater th an the critical angle the I igh t is reflected back into the originating dielectric medium (total internal retlection) with high efficiency (around 99+9cyo). Hence it may be observed in Fig. 2.2(c) that total internal reflection occurs at the interrace between t\VO dielectrics of differing refractive indices when light is incident on the dielectric of lower index from the dielectric of higher index, and the angle of incidence of the ray exceeds the critical value. This is the mechanism by which light at a sufficiently shallow angle (less th an 900 - $c) may be considered to propagate down an optical fiber with low loss .. Figure 2.3 illustrates the transmission of a light ray in an optical fiber vi a a series of total internal reflections at the interface of the silica core and the slightly lower refractive index silica cladding" The ray has an angle of incidence ~ at the interface which is greater than the critical angle and is reflected at the same angle to the normal,

l.n Vr.' it) d ex r J addln g I

Fig. 2~3 The transmission of a light ray in a perfect optical fiber.

The light ray shown in Fig. 2 .. 3 is known as a meridional ray as it passes through the axis of the tiber core+ This type of ray is the simplest to describe and is generally used when illustrating the fundamental transmission properties of optical fibers. It must also he noted that the light transmission illustrated in Fig. 2.3 assumes a perfect fiber, and that any discontinuities or imperfections at the core-cladding interface would probably result in refraction rather than total internal reflection with the s ubseq uent loss of the light ray into the cladding.

2.2.2 Acceptance Angle

Having considered the propagation of light in an optical fiber through Lota) internal reflection at the core-cladding interface, it is useful to enlarge upon the geometric optics approach with reference to light rays entering the fiber. Since on] y rays with a sufficiently s ha1 low g razing angle (i.e. with an an gle to the normal greater than ~c) at the core-cladding interface are transmitted by totaJ



' .. I •










, ,



I Conical

I halt

I angle

IA"':L.:C'J)L~rjC_~ _

I CUrll.!"

\ \




\. /"

.'o\../ B

Fig.2.4 The acceptance angle f)a when launching light into an optical fiber,

intern al reflection, it is clear that not all ray s enteri n g the f ber core will conti n uc to be propagated down its length.

The geometry concerned with launching a light ray into an optical tiber is shown in Fig. 2~4 which illustrates a meridional ray A at the critical angle ~~ within the fiber at the core-cladding interface, It may be observed that this ray enters the fiber core at an angle e~ to the fiber ax i s and is refracted at the aircore interface before transmission to the core-cladding interface at the critical angle. Hence, any rays which are incident into the fiber core at an angle greater than Oa will be transmitted to the core-cladding interface at an angle less than +(' and will not be totally internally reflected. This situation is also illustrated in Fig. 2 .. 4 where the incident ray B at an angle greater than 6.1 is refracted into the cladding and eventually lost by radiation. Thus for rays to be transmitted by total internal reflection within the fiber core they must be incident on the fiber core \v ithin an acceptance cone defined by th c co nical half angle 6[p Hence Oa is the maximum angle to the axis that light may enter the fiber in order to be propagated and is often referred to as the acceptance angle" for the fiber.

If the fiber has a regular cross section (i.e, the core-cladding interfaces arc parallel and there are no discontinuities) an incident meridional ray at greater than the critical angle will continue to be reflected and will be transmitted through the fi ber. From s ym metry consideration s it rna y be noted that the output angle to t he ax i s will be cq ual to the input angle for the r ay ~ ass uming .. the ray emerges into a medium of the same refractive index from which it "vas . input.

2.2.3 Numerical Aperture

The acceptance angle for an optical fiber was defined in the previous section .. However, it is possible to continue the ray theory analysis to obtain a

• 8. i. lomedm el re ferred to I. the m IxJmu m or total acceptance anaJ e.



relationship between the acceptan ce an glc and the refractive indices of the three media involved, namely the core, cladding and air" This leads to the definition of a more generally used term, the numerical aperture (NA) of the fiber. It must be noted Lhat within this analysis, as with the previous discussion of acceptance angle, we are concerned with meridional rays. within the fiber.

Figure 2,,5 shows a light ray incident on the fiber core at an angle 81 to the fiber axis which is less than the acceptance angle for the fiber 9.1• The ray enters the fiber from a medium (air) of refractive index no, and the fiber core has a refra-ctive index n 1, which is slightly greater than the cladding refractive index nl.. Assuming the entrance face at the fiber core to be normal to the axis, then considering the refraction at the air-core interface and using Snell's law given by Eq, (2~ l):

no si n a! = n I sin 92

Considering the right-angled triangle A Be indicated in Fig. 2.5, then:



where 9 is greater than the critical angle at the core-cladding interface. Hence Eq .. (2.3) becomes

no sin 91 == n I cos ~ (2.5)

U sing the trigonornetrical relationship sin 2 ~ + COs2 ~ = 1, Eq. {2 .. 5) may be written in the form:


When the limiting case for total internal reflection is considered ~ becomes equal to the critical angie ~c for the core-cladding interface and is given by Eq. (2.2). Also in this limiting case 61 becomes the acceptance angle for the fiber Sa. Combining these limiting cases into Eq. (2+6) gives:

(2~ 7)

Equation (2 .. 7), apart from relating the acceptance angle to the refractive



Fig.2.5 The ray path for a meridional ray launched into an optical fiber in air at an input angle less tha n the acceptance anqle for the fiber.

,..t. . ... __ ..



indices, serves as the basis for the definition of the important optical fiber parameter ~ the numerical apertu re (N A). Hence the N A is defined as:


Since the N A is often used with the fiber in air where nu is unity ~ it is simply equal to sin 901• It may also be noted that incident meridional rays over the

range 0 ~ 91 ~ 9~ will be propagated within the fiber.

The numerical aperture may also be given in terms of the relative refractive index difference 6. between the core and the cladding which is defined as:


1'"'00.1 _

for Ll4 1

Hence combining Eq, (2.8) with Eq. (2.9) we can write:

N A '""w n l (26.) ~


The relationships given in Eqs, (2.8) and (2. ] 0) for the numerical aperture are a very useful measure of the light-collecting ability of a fiber .. They are independent of the fiber core diameter and will hold for diameters as small as 8 urn, However, for smaller dia meters they break down as the geometric optics approach is invalid. This is because the ray theory model is only a partial description of the character of light It describes the direction a plane wave component takes in the fiber but does not take into account interference between such components. When interference phenomcn a arc con sidercd it is found that only rays with certain discrete characteristics propagate in the fiber core. Thus the fiber will only support a discrete number of guided modes. This becomes critical in small core diameter fibers which only support one or a few modes. Hence electromagnetic mode theory must be applied in these cases I Ref. 12 L

Example 2.1

A stllca optical fiber with a core diameter large enough to be considered by ray theory analysis has a core refractive index of 1 ,50 and a cladding refractive index of 1.47.

Determine: (a) the critica I a ngle at th e core--ctadd i ng inta rfa ce: (b) lhp. NA fo r tho fiber; (c) the acceptance angle ina ir for the fi beL .

S olution: (a} The critical angl e .q.(; at the core-claddi ng interface is give n by Eq. ~2.2) where:

n'i, 1,47

"c. .:..:..: sln-' - ::::::: sin-1 --

n, 1 ,50

:;:;: 7S.5C1



(b) Fro m Eq. (2. 8) th e nu meri ca I apertu re is:

1 1

N A = (n~ -- n ~ rz = (1.502 - 1.4 72) ~


-- (2.25 _. 2.16)~

= 0.30

(c) Considering Eq, (2-8) the acceptance angle in air an is given by: ea = sln " NA = sln " 0.30

_. 17.40

.j I·

Example 2.2

A tvpica ~ relative refractive index d ifferance fo r an optl ca I fibe r desiq nod for lonq distance transmission is 1 %_ Estimate the NA and the solid acceptance angle in air for the fiber when th e core Index IS 1 .46. Fu rthe r ca leu I ate the criti ca ~ a ng I e at the corc-claddlng interface within the fiber. lt may be assumed that the concepts of geometri C optics hold fo r the fi ber.

Solution: Usi ng Eq. (2. 1 0) wi rh 11 = 0_ a 1 gives the n u me rica I a perture as:

r I,





I 1

NA ,..,., n, (2~)7 = 1_46 (O.02P

= 0.21

For small anqlss the solid acceptance angie in air ~ is given by: ~ ""W nO; . 1t sin 2 Oa


Hence from Eq - (2 - 8}:


0.1 3 rads

I .


Using Eq. (2.9) for the relative refractive index difference Ll gives:

I .

1 I




.. -~ - - 1 A 1 - 0.01


~ 0.99

From Eq. (2.2) the critical angle at the core-cladding interface is:

, n2 1

4-c = sin - = sin 0-99




: I



I n the previous sections we have considered the propagation of meridional rays in the optical waveguide .. However, another category of ray exists which is transmitted without passing through the fiber axis, These rays, which greatly outnumber the meridional rays, follow a helical path through the tiber as illustrated in Fig. 2,,6 and are called skew rays. It is not easy to visualize the skew ray paths in two dimensions but it may be observed from Fig. 2.6(b) that the helical path traced through the fiber gives a change in direction of 2"1 at each reflection where y is the angle between the projection of the ray in two dimensions and the radius of the fiber core at the point of reflection. Hence .. unlike meridional rays, the point of emergence of'.skew rays from the fiber in air will depend upon the n urn her of reflections they undergo rather than the input conditions to the fiber, When the light input to the fiber is nonuniform, skew rays will th ercfore tend to have a smoothing effect on the distribution of the light as it is transmitted, giving a more uniform output. The amount of smoothing is dependent on the number 0(' reflections encountered by the skew rays.

A further possible advantage of the transmission of skew rays becomes apparen t when their acceptance condition s are con sidered, In order to calculate th e acceptance angle for a skew ray it is necessary to define t he direction of the ray in two perpendicular planes, The geometry of the situation is illustrated in Fig. 2 .. 7 where a skew ray is shown incident on the fiber core at the point A., at an angle 90; to the normal at the fiber end face. The ray is refracted at the air-core interface before travelling to the point B in the same plane. The angles of incidence a nd reflection at the point B arc <p which is greater than the critical angle for the core-cladding interface.


.... 1 1.1 The heHeal path taken by a skew ray in an optical fiber: (a) skew ray path down the f~b.r; (b) eros .... sectional view of the fiber.





All' {na)


Fig.2.7 The ray path within the fiber Gore for a skew ray incident at an afigle 9s to the normal at the air-core interface.

When considering the ray between A and B it is necessary to resolve the direction of the ray path AB to the core radius at the point B~ As the incident and reflected rays at the point B are in the same plane, this is simply cos ~~ However, if the two perpendicular planes through which the ray path A B traverses are considered, then y is the angle between the core radius and the projection of the ray onto a plane BRS normal to the core axis, and {} is the angle between the ray and a line AT drawn parallel to the core axis. Thus to resolve the ray path AB relative to the radius BR in these two perpendicular planes, requires multiplication by cos y and sin O~

Hence, the reflection at point B at an angle ~ may be given by:

cos y sin e = cos tit

(2.11 )

U sing the trigonometric al relationshi p 81 n 1 q. + cos/ ~ = 1, Eq <I (2+]] ) becomes:

cos r sm e == cos + == (I - sin2 $)+

1 f the limiting case for total in tcrnal reflection is now con sidcrcd then + becomes equal to the critical angle ~c for the core-cladding interface and following Eq, (2~2) is given by sin ~c == n21n I. Hence Eq, (2.12) may be written as:

( n2 )!

cos y sin 9";; cos ~c = 1 - nf


Furthermore, using Snell's law at the point A following Eq. (2.1)~ we can write:

, (2.l4)

where ea represents the maximum input axial angle for meridional rays as expressed in Section 2.2.2~ and 9 is the internal axial angle. Hence substituting for sin a from Eq. (2.13) into Eq4 (2.l4) gives ~



. n J C os ~c n 1 ( n~ ) !

SIn e~~ - ~ - - ............... __ 1 --

no cos y flo cos y nT

(2~ 15)

where 9~lS now represents the maximum input angle or acceptance angle for skew rays. It may be noted that the inequality shown in Eq. (2+] 3) is no longer necessary as all the terms in Eq. (2.15) are specified for the limiting case. Thus

the acceptance conditions for skew rays are: "

. 9 (' ))1

Ill} Sin as cos 'Y == 'ti - n2_ ~


(2. l6)

and in the case of the fiber in air (no =-: 1):

sin 6.% cos y == NA

(2.1 7)

Therefore, by comparison with EqL (2.8) derived for meridional rays, it may be noted that skew rays are accepted at larger axial angles in a given fiber than meridional rays, depending upon the value of cos y. In lact for meridional rays cos y is equal to unity and Oa~ becomes equal to 8a 4 Thus although Sa is the maximum conical h alf angle for the acceptance of meridional rays, it defines the minimum input angle for skew rays. Hence as may be observed from Fig. 2. 6~ sk cw ray s tend to propagate on I yin the ann u lar region near the outer surface of the core, and do not fully utilize the core as a transmission medium. However, they are complementary to meridional rays and increase the lightgathering capacity of the fiber. This increased light-gathering ability may be significant for large N A fibers, but for most communication design purposes the expressions given in Eqs. (2.8) and (2.10) for meridional rays are cons idered adequate.

Example 2.3

An optical fiber in air has an NA of 0.4, Compare the acceptance angle tor me rid ions I rays with that for skew rays wh ich change direction by 1 000 at eac h reflecti on.

S otution: The accepta nee a ngle for meridional rays ls give n bv Eq. t2" 8) with

nO = 1 as:

9a sin-"1 NA = sin-1 0.4

= 23.6~

The skew rays change di rection by 1 00-0 at each refl ection. th eretore y = 500 Hence usi n 9 Eq, {2.1 7} the accaptan ce ang I e for skew rays is ~

In this axe mpls, the acceptance ang Ie for th e skew rays is about 1 5 Q 9 rca tc r th a 11 the correlpondlng angle for meridional rays. However/ it must be noted that we have on~y complred the acceptance angle of one oartlcu lar skew ray PC31 h. Whe n the light


input to the fiber is at an angle to the fiber axis, it is possible that y will vary from zero for meridional rays to 900 for rays which enter the fiber at the core-cladding inte rface giving acceptance of skew rays over a conical half anql e of n./2 rad i a ns.


2.3.1 Electromagnetic Waves

In order to obtain an improved model for the propagati on of light in an optical fiber ~ electromagnetic wave theory must be considered, The basis for the study of electromagnetic wave propagation is provided by M axwell's equations l Ref. 131. For a medium with zero conductivity these vector relationships may be written in terms of the electric field E, magnetic field H,) electric flux density D and magnetic flux density B as the curl equations:

(jB VxE==-~ of

(2~ 18)

aD VxH~-


(2. 19)

and the divergence conditions:

(no free charges) (no free poles)

(2.20) (2~2] )

where V is a vector operator.

The four field vectors arc related by the relation s:

D == EE B ~ till


where E is the dielectric permittivity and j.1 is the magnetic permeability of the medium.

Subs tituting for D and Band iaki ng the cu r1 of Eq s .. (2. I 8) and (2.19) gives

riE V x (V x E) == -~I.E.ot2



Then using the divergence conditions of Eqs. (2.20) and (2.21) with the



vector identity

v x (V x Y) == V(V · Y) - V2 (Y)

we obtain the nondispersive w ave eq uation s :




where V2 is the Laplacian operator. For rectangular Cartesian and cylindrical polar coordinates the above wa ve equation s hold for cac h com ponen t of the field vector ~ every co m portent sa tislying the seal ar wa vc equation:


where", may represent a component of the E or H field and Pp is the phase veloci ty (velocity of propagation of a point of constant ph asc in the \\1 ave) in the dielectric medium. It follows that


v ==~-

p (us) ~



where Ilr and e, are the relative permeability and permittivity for the dielectric medium and llo and Eo are the permeability and permittivity of free space. The velocity of light in free space c is therefore



(Jlo Eo)!


If planar waveguides, described by rectangular Cartesian coordinates (x~ y, z), or circular fibers, described by cylindrical polar coordinates (r, cp, z) are considered, then the Laplacian operator takes the form:



2 02 'II 1 o 'if 1. 02 '¥ 02 W

VW= +--+- +-~

or2 r or r a~2 OZ2

rl.peotivelYt It ia nece.lary to consider both these forms for a comp1ete treat-


ment of optical propagation in the fiber although many of the properties of interest may be dealt with using C artesian coordinates.

The basic solution of the wave equation is a sinusoidal wave, the most important form of which is a uniform plane wave given by:

tV == Wo expj(ro/- k ~ r)


where ro is the angular frequency of the field, t is the time, k is the propagation vector which gives the direction of propagation and the rate of change of phase with distance, whilst the components of r specify the coordinate point at which the field is observed. When ~ is the optical w a velength in a v ac u u m, the magnitude of the propagation vector or the vacuum propagation constant k (where k -= f kl) is given by:

2n: k==~



It should be noted that in this case k: is also referred to as the free space wave number.

2.3.2 Modes in 8 Planar Guida

The planar guide is the simplest form of optical waveguide. We may assume it consists of a slab of dielectric with refractive index n f sandwiched bel ween two regions of lower refractive index n2' In order to obtain an improved model for opti cal propagation it is useful to consider the interference of pi ane wave components within this dielectric waveguide.

The conceptual transition from ray to wave theory may be aided by consideration of a plane monoch romatic wave propagating in the direction or the ray path within the guide (see Fig42.8(a)). As the refractive index within the guide is HI ~ the optical wavelength in this region is reduced to Alnl whilst the vac u urn propagation con stan t is increased to n I k. When e is the an g le bet ween the wave propagation vector or the equivalent ray and the guide axis .. the plane wave can be resolved into two component plane waves propagating in the z and x directions as shown in Fig, 2. 8( a). The com pon ent of the propagation constant in the z direction ~= is given by:


The component of the propagation constant in the x direction P.\_ is:


The com poncnt of the plane wave in the x direction is reflected at the interface bet ween the higher and lower refractive index media. When the total




. -"

~ ~iH~~ti~~~_.

(Juid..:: uxss


x Jj re crion

.------~ - ~_~ __,~-______I t1n~ll~L,'~t'~)



Fig.2.8 The formation of a mode in a planar dielectric guide: (a) a plane wave propagating in the guide shown by its wave vector or equivalent ray~the wave vector is resolved into co m po nents in the z and x dire ctions: {b) the interference of plana waves in the guide forming the lowest order made (m = 0),

phase change" after two successive reflections at the upper and lower interfaces (between the points P and Q) is equal to 2 mt: radians, where m is an integer. then constructive interference occurs and a standing wave is obtained in the x direction. This situation is illustrated in Fig.. 2.8(b) where the interference of two plane waves is shown. In this illustration it is assumed that the interference forms the lowest order (where m _- 0) standing wave, where the electric field is a maximum at the center of the guide decaying towards zero at the boundary between the guide and cladding. However, it may he observed from Fig. 2.8(b) that the electric fie1d penetrates some distance into the cladding .. a phenomenon which is discussed in Section 2 .. 3 .. 4.

Nevertheless the optical wave is etTectively confined within the guide and the electric fiel d distribution in the x direction docs not chan gc as the wa vc propagates in the z di rection. The sin usoidally vary ing electric field 1 n the z direction is also shown in Fig. 2.8(b)~ The stable field distribution in the x direction with only a periodic z dependence is known as a mode, A specific mode is only obtained when the angle between the propagation vectors or the rays and the interface have a particular value as indicated in Fig. 2+8(b). In effect Eq 54 (2.34) and (2~3 5) define a group or con gruence of ray s which in the

... It should be noted that there is a phase shift on reflection of the plane wave at the interface a. well as B. phaBe chartae with distance travelled. The phase shift on reflection at a dielectric interflce til dc.it with in Section 2.344 .



case described represents the lowest order mode. Hence the light propagating within the guide is fanned into discrete "modes each typified by a distinct value of 9. These modes have a periodic z dependence of the form exp (-J131! z] where ~.: hecomes the propagation constant for the mode as the modal field pattern is in varian t except for a period ic z dependen eel Hence for notati onal simplicity ~ and in common with accepted practice, we denote the mode propagation constant by ~~ where ~ -_ ~z. If we now assume a time dependence for the monochromatic electromagnetic 1ight field with angular frequency OJ of cxp Urnt)'! then the combined factor exp j(rot - ~z) describes a mode propagating in the z direction.

To visualize the dominant modes propagating in the z direction we may consider plane w aves correspond ing to rays at different specific angles in the planar guide .. These plane waves give constructive interference to form standing wave patterns across the guide following a sine or cosine formula. Figure 2.9 shows examples of such rays for In == I, 2, 3 together with the electric field distributions in the x direction. It may be observed that m denotes the number of zeros in this tran s verse field pat tern. I n this way m signifies the order of the mode and is known as the mode number.

When light is described as an electromagnetic wave it consists of a periodically varying electric field E and magnetic fie1d H wh i ch are orientated


Claduuig penet ... ati()n


E] ect r i I,,: field



(j,;-:,d d ll~g p,,:: nc t 1'8 t i LJ II

_---- ..... -- ___

_ ---- --- --- --- -- -- --

- ----- ___

Fig.2.9 Physical model showlnq the ray propaqation and the corresponding transverse electric (TE) field patterns of three lower order modes (m = 1 r 21 3) in the planar dlelectric guide,

~ . . ~

.. .. ,



2.3 .. 3 Phase and Group Velocity

Within all electromagnetic waves, whether plane or otherwise, there are points of constant phase. For plane waves these constant phase points form a surface which is referred to as a wavefront. As a monochrornati c I ight wave propagates along a waveguide in the z direction these points of constant phase tr a vel at a phase velocity Pp given by:


where ro is the angular frequency of the wave .. However .. it is impossible in practice to produce perfectly monochromatic light waves, and light energy is generally composed of a sum of plane wave components of different frequencies. Often the situation exists where a group of waves with closely similar frequencies propagate so that their resultant forms a packet of waves. The form ation of such a wa vc packet resulting from the combination of t \.\"0 waves of slightly different frequency propagating together is illustrated in Fig. 2.10. This wave packet docs not travel at the phase velocity of the individual waves but is observed to move at a group velocity rg given by


v ==-

g B~


The group velocity is of greatest importance in the study of the transmission characteristics of optical fibers as it relates to the propagation characteristics of observab1e wave groups or packets of light,

If propagation in an infinite medium of refractive index n J is considered, then the propagation constant may be written as:

2ft nl ro

~= "l -=--

A c








Fig. 2.10 The formation of a wave packet from the combination of two waves with nea rly equa I frequencies. The envelope of the wave packet or group 01 waves travels at a grou p velocitv Vg.

where c is the velocity of light in free space. Equation (2.38) follows from Eqs. (2.33) and (2.34) where we assume propagation in the z direction only and hence cos 9 is equal to unity. Using Eq .. (2.36) we obtain the following relationship for the phase velocity:


Similarly employing Eq. (2.37), where in the limit om/op becomes dro/d~'I the group velocity:

-0) 21tA.

(~ dnl _~) 1

A dA ,),}




The parameter NJ is known as the group index of the guide.



2.3.4 Phase Shift with Total Internal Reflection and the Evanescent Field

The discussion of electromagnetic wave propagation in the pl anar wa vegu ide gi yen in Section 2. 3 ~2 drew at ten tion to certain phenomen a th at occur at the guide-cl adding interface \v h ich are not a pparent from ray theory considerations of optical propagation. In order to appreciate these p hcnomena it is necessary to use the wave theory model for total internal reflection at a planar interface. This is illustrated in Fig. 2. l l , where the arrowed lines represent wave propagation vectors and a component of the wave energy is shown to be transmitted through the interface into the cladding. The VIr/ave equation in Cartesian coordinates for the electric field in a loss less medium is:

As the guide-cladding interface lies in the y-z plane and the wave is incident in the ."'(-z plan e onto the interface, then v/oy may be ass umed to be zero. Since the phase fronts must match at all points along the interface in the z direction, the three waves shown in Fig. 2. 11 w ill have the same propagation con stant ~ in this direction. Therefore from the discussion of Section 2~3~2 the wave propagation in the z direction may be described by exp j(rot - ~z)~ In addition, there will also be propagation in the x direction. When the components are resolved in this plane:



11~ cxp ( j~xz.'{) X

III (Claddlug l

H I l C uide ) Y

iJXP Hw! ~~)- - - - ....

(:(1 ~ ~ P U(1l. l-Y,1 I





FIg. 2.11 A wave incident on the guide-cladding interface of a planar dielectric waveguide. The wave vectors of the incident. transmitted and reflected waves are indicated (soltd arrowed lines} together with their components in the z and x directions {dashed arrowed lines) .

. ~


~xl - n2 k cos ~2

(2.43 )

where Pod and ~x2: are propagation constants in the x direction for t he guide and cladding respectively. Thus the three waves in the waveguide indicated in Fig. 2.] l , the incident, the transmitted and the reflected, wi th am pii tudes A ~ B and C respectively win have the forms:

A == Ao exp ~(j~_d x) exp j(rot - ~z) B == Bo exp -(j~.r2X) cxp j(W! ~ ~z) C == Co exp (JPx~ x) exp j(rol - ~z)

Using the simple trigonomctrical relationship cos/ ~ + sin ' 4l ---== l :

~_:.L 7.: (nT k1 - ~2) == -~T

(2.44) (2.45) (2~46)




r .

I I: . I



When an electromagnetic wave is incident upon an interrace between two dielectric media, Maxwell's equations require that both the tangential cornponents of E and H and the normal components of D (==-: EE) and B (== tiH) are continuous across the boundary. If the boundary is defined at x --= 0 we may consider the cases of the transverse electric (TE) and transverse magnetic (TM) modes.

Initially let us consider the TE field at the boundary. When Eqs .. (2.44) and (2.46) are used to represen t the electric field components in the y direction E_I' and the boundary conditions are applied, then the normal components of the E and H fields at the interface may be equated giving:

Ao + Co -= 80

Furthermore it can be shown (see Appendix A) that an electric field component in the y direction is related to the tangential magnetic field component H~ following:


Applying the tangential boundary conditions and equating liz. by differentiating E'~I gives:


Algebraic manipulation of Eqs. (2.49) and (2.51) provides the fo11owing results:

( 2.52)



( 2Px( )

Bo == Ao == AOrfT

~_\" I + ~,\"2

where rJ-,R and rET are the reflection and transmission coefficients for the F: field at the interface respectively. The expressions obtained in Eqs, (2.52) and (2.53) correspond to the Fresnel relationships lRef. 10] for radiation polarized perpendicular to the interface (E polarization).

When both ~xl and ~x2 arc real it is clear that the reflected wave C is in ph ase with the incident w ave A. This corresponds to parti at reflection of the' incident beam" However, as ¢t I is increased the component P2 (i .c. ~) increases and following Eqs. (2.47) and (2.48)~ the components ~,\'l and ~_T2 decrease. Con tinuation of this process results in ~x2 passing th rough zero, a point which is signified by ~ J reaching the critical angle for total internal reflection. If ~l is further increased the component ~_Y2 becomes imaginary and we may write it in the form -jr,2" During this process Pod remains real because we have assumed that nl > nl_. Under the conditions of tota] internal reflection Eq4 (2.52) may therefore be written as:

C A ( ~_'d + j ~2) A 2 +5:,

o == 0 . == 0 exp JUE

~x2 -J~2

where we observe there is a phase shift of the reflected wave relative to the incident wave .. This is signified by OE which is given by:

Furthermore the modulus of the reflected wave is identical to the modulus of the incident wave (I CO I ~ I Au ~). The curves of the amplitude reflection coefficient I rER I and phase shift on reflection, against angle of incidence 4t l' for TE waves incident on a glass-a ir interface are displayed in Fig" 2. l2 I Ref. ] 41. These curves illustrate the above results, where under the condition s of tota] in ternal reflection the reflected wave h as an equal amplitude to the incident wave, but undergoes a phase shift corresponding to OE degrees.

A similar analysis may be applied to the TM modes at the interface which leads to expressions for reflection and transmission of the form ~ Ref. 14 ~:







Rc fJ..:-c- rio n l,;U~ Hj l'h' n t


...... ---



Fig.2.12 Curves showing the reflection coefficient and phase shift on reflection for transverse electric waves aga i nst the an gle of incidence for a 9 lass-a i r interface (n1 = 1-5, n2 = 1.O}, Reproduced with permission from J, E, Midwinter, Optical Fibers for Transmission, John Wiley & Sons Inc" 1979.

where rHR and r"T are respectively the reflection and transmission coefficients for the H field at the interface. Again the expressions given in Eqs, (2.56) and (2.57) correspond to Fresnel relationships I Ref. ] 0 L but in this case they apply to radiation polarized parallel to the interface (H polarization). Furthermore, co nsiderations or an increasin g angle of inciden ce ~ I.. such th at ~x! goes to zero, and then becomes imaginary ~ again results in a phase shirt when total internal reflection occurs. However, in this case a different phase shill is obtained corresponding to

Co _- Au exp (2jOH)



Thus the phase shift obtained on total interna1 reflection is dependent upon both the angle of incidence and the polarization (either T E or T M) 0 f th e radiation.

The second phenomenon of interest under conditions of total internal reflection is the form of the electric field in the ciaddi ng of the g uidc, Before the cri tical angle for total intern al reflection is reached and hen ce when there is only partial reflection, the field in the cladding is of the form given by Eq. (2~45). However, as indicated previously, when total interna1 reflection occurs, ~ x2 becomes imagi nary and may be written as -j~2. Substituting for ~ x2 in Eq. (12.45) gives the transmitted wave in the cladding as:


B == Bo exp (~~2X) exp j(rot - ~z)




or l h l~ ~ II..::.i\"L~ n t p 1 a nc ~~I ave


, ~',


Fig. 2.13 The exponeutia I ~y decaying eva nescent field in the cladding of the optical waveguide.

Thus the amplitude of the field in the cladding is observed to decay ex ponentially" in the x direction + Such a field. exhibiti rig an ex poncn ti ally decaying am pl it ude, is often referred to as an evanescent field. Figure 2.13 shows a diagrammatic representation of the ev ancscen t field. A field of th is type stores energy and tran sports it in the directi on of propagation (z) but docs not tr ansport energy in the transverse di rection (x), Nevertheless the existence of an evanescent field beyond the plane of reflection in the lower index medium indicates that optical energy is transmitted into the cladding.

The penetration of energy into the cladding underlines the importance of the choice of cladding mat eri al. It gives rise to the follow in g rcq uirernen ts:

(a) The cladding should be transparent to light at the wavelengths over which the guide is to operate.

(b) Ideally the cladding should consist of a solid material in order to avoid both damage to the guide and the accumulation of foreign matter on the guide \1.,/ alls. These effects degrade the reflection process by in tern cti on wi th the evanescent Held. This in part explains _ the poor performance (high losses) of early optical vv a veguides with ai r c] add in g.

(c) The cladding thickness must be sufficient to allow the evanescent field t.o decay to a low value or losses from the penetrating energy may be encountered .. I n many cases, however ~ the magnitude of the field falls off rapidly with distance from the guide-cladding interface. This may occur withi n distances eq ui valent to a I'C\V wa vclcngths of the tr an sm ittcd light.

Therefore the most widely used optical fibers consist of a core and cladding both made of gl ass. The cl adding refractive index is thus hig her than would be the case with liquid or gaseous cladding giving a lower numerical aperture [or the fiber. but it provides a far more practical solution.

• It should be noted that we have chosen the sign of ~1 so that the exponential field decays rlther than lrowB with dlatance into the cladding. ln this case a growing exponential field is • 'phYIJCIUy improbable Aoiution.

_ ..



2.3.5 Goos Haenchan Shift

i I




The phase change incurred with the total internaJ reflection of a light beam on a planar dielectric interface may be understood from physical observation . Careful examination shows that the reflected beam is shifted laterally from the trajectory predicted by simple ray theory analysis as illustrated in Fig. 2.14. This lateral displacement is known as the Goos-Haenchen shift after its first observers ..

The geometric reflection appears to take place at a virtual reflecting plane which is parallel to the dielectric interface in the lower index medium as indicated in Fig. 2J 4" Utilizing wave theory it is possibl e to determine this lateral shift l Ref. 141 although it is very small (d ~ O.06-0~ 10 11m for a silvered glass interface at a wavelength of 0.55 11m) and difficult to observe. However, this concept provides an important insight into the guidance mechanism of d ielectric optical waveguides.

R(: fl cc ti n~r

.::-- __

lnt crfucc

Virtu al rc llc c tin!; plane

<.:»: ~--F-

-PGi" .. ctration depth



....., ... -

L!J. re i'<.J I !i I ti ft

Fig.2.14 The latera! displacement of a light beam on reflection at a dielectric interface {Goos-Haenchen shift}.

2.3.6 Cylindrical Fiber

Th e exact so] u tion of M ax wei ~ '5 equations for a _c y lindrical homogenco us core dielectric waveguide" involves much algebra and yields a complex result I ReL ] 5l~ Although the presentation of this mathematics is beyond the scope of this text, it is useful to consider the resulting modal fields. In common with the planar guide (Section 2.3.2), TE (where E, == 0) and TM (where Hz == 0) modes are obtained with in the dielectric cy Under. The cy 1j ndrical waveguide, however, is bounded in two dimensions rather than one, Thus t\VO integers, I and m, are necessary in order to specify the modes in contrast to the single integer (m) required for the planar guide. For the cylindrical waveguide we therefore refer to TE1m and TM1m modes. These modes correspond to meridional rays (see Section 2.2.1) tra velling within the fiber. However, hybrid

* This type of optical waveguide with a constant refractive index core is known as a step index fiber (see Section 2.4)+



modes where E, and Hz are nonzero also occur within the cylindrical waveguide, These modes which result from skew ray propagation (see Section 2.2.4) within the fiber are design ated HElm and EH/n~ depending upon whether the components of H or E make the larger contribution to the transverse (to the fiber axis) field, Thus an ex act descri ption of the modal fields in a step index fiber proves somewhat complicated.

Fort un ately the analy sis may be simplified when considering optical fibers for communication purposes. These fibers satisfy the weakly guiding approximation I Ref 161 where the relative index difference ~ ~ I. This corresponds to small grazing angles a in Eq, (2 .. 34)~ In fact ~ is usually Jess than 0.03 (24yO) for optical communications fibers, For weakly guiding structures with dominant forward propagation, mode theory gives domin an t transverse field components. Hence approximate solutions for the full set of HE, EH, TE and TM modes may be given by two linearly polarized components I Ref. 16 J. These linearly polarized (L.P) modes are not exact modes of the fiber except for the fundamental (lowest order) mode. However, as 6. in weakly guiding fibers is very small, then HE-EH mode pairs occur which have almost identical propagation constants. Such modes are said to be degenerate. The superpositions of these degenerating modes characterized by a common propagation constant correspond to particular l~P modes regardless of their HE~ EH~ TE or TM field configurations. This linear combination of degenerate modes obtained from the exact solution produces a u sefu 1 sirnpl ification in the analysis of weakly guiding fibers.

The relationship between the traditional HE~ EH~ TE and TM mode designations and the LP"11 mode designations are shown in Table 2.1. The mode subscripts I and m are related to the electric field intensity profile for a particul ar LP mode (see Fig. 2. 15( d». T here are in general 21 field maxim a around the circumference of the fiber core and m field maxima along a radius vector. Furthermore, it may be observed from Table 2.1 that the notation for labelling

Table 2.1 Correspondence between the lower order llnearlv polarized modes and the traditiona I exact modes from which they are formed

l.inearlv pol a rized




Tl:..DI l,t *1
LPjL "[ \1m I..... .._)
\<_J_Y (aj

(,j l

Fig. 2.15 The electric field configurations for the three lowest LP modes illustrated in terms of their constituent exact modes: (a} LP mode deslqnations: (b) exact mode desig nations; (c) electric field distribution of th e exact modes; (d) Intensity distribution of Ex for the exact modes indicating the electric field intensity prof I e for the correspond i ng LP m odes.

the HE and EH modes has changed from that specified for the exact solution in the cylindrical waveguide mentioned previously. The subscript I in the LP notation now corresponds to HE and EH modes with labels I + I and /- 1 respecti vely.

The electric field intensity profile for the lowest three LP modes, together with the electric field distribution of thci r constituent exact modes, are shown in Fig. 2.15. It may" be observed from the field configurations of the exact modes that the field strength in the transverse direction (~~x or h~r) is identical for the modes which belong to the same LP mode. Hence the origin of the term 'linearly polarized'.

Using Eq. (2 .. 31) for the cylindrical homogeneous core waveguide under the weak guidance conditions outlined above, the scalar wave equation can be written in the form I Ref. 1 7 J ;

d2 'V I dw- I d2 '" 2 1 2

- + - - + - · - + (nJ k - ~ )V = 0

drl r dr r d+2

(2.61 )


. -..'

, -

" " ."1"



where '41 is the field (~. or H), n J is the rcfr acti ve index of the f her core, k is the propagation constant for light in a vacuum, and r and ~ are cylindrical coordinates. The propagation con stan ts of the guided modes ~ ] ie in the range

n2k < ~ < n,k


wh ere III is the refractive index of the fiber cladding. Sol ution s of the wa vc equation for the cyl i ndrical fiber are separable, having the form:

{ cos l~ }

W ~- E(r) + exp (rol - ~z)

sin l~


where in this case 't' represents the dominant transverse electric field componcnt, The periodic dependence on ~ following cos 1$ or sin 14t gives a mode or radia1 order l. Hence the fiber supports a finite number of guided modes of the form of Eq, (2.63).

] ntroducing the solutions given by Eq. (2,,63) into Eq, (2.6 J) results in a

J/tr) 0_6
o .) - -
0 ... - ._, .--+-~---+---+--+--+------I

I--I-------II--t- ... .


~ ·Ii] (r)
. ~ . L __ .
, -' :=; 6 -t 8 Ij l{)
r /
(a) 2.U
t .. :,oI. r)
O.~ ! 1
i i
--_._ .. .... .. .. .. -
. - . - .. . .

~-.- ~- --
\- :
- _ ..... .- . . - - .. ._ ...

_ .... .. ~ . ----
K .1 I
I f,r J
, ... . - . -_ ...
K~(r} I
~ ....... ---. ~
- --- --- - ._--- • ....&.. ••••• -
l i ~ ~ I I
l 3




( l;)

(.) Vlrl.tlon of thl al •• 11 function JI (r) for I == 01 L 2/ 3 (first four orders) J plotl.d IGlln,t r. {b) Qr.ph of ttl. modified B •••• I funct~on K, (r) aga inat , for

'.0, L .


differential cq ua tion of the form:

(2.64 )

For a step index fiber with a constant refractive index core, Eq .. (2.64) is a Bessel's differential equation and the solutions arc cylinder functions. In the core region the solutions are Bes sel function s denoted by J t: A graph of these grad u ally dam ped oscillatory functions (with respect to r) is shown in Fig. 2.16(a) .. It may be noted that the field is finite at r == 0 and may be represented by the zero order Besse] function J u- However, the field vanishes as r goes to infinity and the solution s in the cladding are therefore modified Bessel functions denoted by K/ L These modified functions decay exponentially with res pect to r as ill u str ated in Fig, 2. 16(b). The electric field may therefore be given by:


R < 1 (core)


K(WR) ==GJ(U)-t -

/ K1(W)


R > 1 (cladding]

where G is the amplitude coefficient and R == ria is the normalized radial coordinate when a is the radius of the fiber core. U and W which are the eigenvalues in the core and cladding respectively, are defined as:

U == a(I1T k2 _ ~2)+ W -== a(~2 - 1l~ k? )+

(2.66) (2.67)

The sum of the sq uares of U and W defines a very user ul quantity I Ref. 18l which is usually referred to as the normalized frequency" V where

It may be observed that the commonly used symbol for this parameter is the same as that normally adopted for voltage. However, within this chapter there should be no confusion over this point. Furthermore, using Eqs .. (2.8) and (2.10), the normalized frequency may be expressed in terms of the numerical aperture N A and the relative refractive index difference A respectively as:


V== -a(NA) ,A


• When used in the context of the planar waveguide. V is sometimes known as the normalized f lm thi c knes s as it re] ares to the thick ness 0 f the i u i de layer (see Section J 1 . 7 ~ 1 )"

~ ..

• • • • .' .:. (-":"1 .':-~:' •• : I ", .-

• • • p' .' • • ... .J .. - ','. :": -...... ... --;. •• I

_L.. _ .. .. _ ·::~···~1 ~ r :: ·tt~~ ml

• .......... __ ---...l. _:. _._.

•• _.: •••• .:... ••• .,;; • ..1. £': ..... _:;_~L"'_ .. ,_ • ....__.:~~-:.............:.........:a. I:~ ~ ..... .....:.:: ..:i:.:



2n I

== ~- anl (2ll.)~



The normalized frequency is a dimensionless parameter and hence is also sornetim es simply called the V number or val uc of the fiber.

It is also possible to define the normalized propagation constant b for a fiber in term s of the parameters of Eq, (2.68) so that:

u2 (~/k)2 - n~

b~l ~~~==~~~

V2 ni - n~

(2.7] )

Referring to the expression for the guided modes given in Eq, (2.62)~ the limits of ~ are n2 k and n l k, hence b must lie between 0 and 1.

In the weak guidance approximation the field matching conditions at the boundary require continuity of the transverse and tangential electrical field components at the core-cladding interface (at r == a)" Therefore, using the Bessel function relations outlined previously, an eigenvalue equation for the LP modes may be written in the following form I Ref, l81:


Solving Eq, (2.72) with Eqs, (2~66) and (2.67) allows the eigenvalue U and hence ~ to be calculated as a function of the normalized frequency" In this way the propagation characteristics of the various modes and their dependence on the optical wavelength and the fiber parameters may be determined,

Considering the li mi t of mode propagation when ~ == n2 k ~ then the mode phase velocity is equal to the velocity of light in the cladding and the mode is no longer properly guided, In this case the mode is said to be cut off and the eigenvalue W = 0 (Eq .. 2.67). Unguided or radiation modes have frequencies below cutoff where ~ < kn2, and hence W is imaginary. Nevertheless, wave propagation does not cease abruptly below cutoff. Modes exist where ~ < kn, but the difference is very small, such that some of the energy loss due to radiation is prevented by an angular momentum barrier ~ Ref 201 formed near the core-cladding interface. Solutions of the waveequation giving these states are called leaky modes, and often behave as very lossy guided modes rather than radiation modes, Alternatively as ~ is increased above n-k, less power is propagated in the cladding until at ~ = n1 k all the power is confined to the fiber core. As indicated previously t this range of va1ues for ~ signifies the guided model or the fiber.




. .. . ----

LP..n I LP J".!: LP(I)

j 1

LP J 3 LP(l4

nr 1 J J] 1 :·:!.I llEu 1[t::2~ HI·: 1 J II F~J. Ill" 1<:1

™oJ ·[·M 1)2 T~1o_'

11:..(101 ·1 Em T~1)3

Fig. 2. 17 The a II owed reg ions for the LP mod es of orde r I· 0, 1 against norma I i led freq u ancv {V, for a circu la r opti cal waveg u ide with a consta nt refractive index core (step index fiber). Reproduced with permission from D. Glope, Appl. Opt., 10, p. 2552, ·1971.

The lower order modes obtained in a cylindrical homogeneous core waveguide are shown in Fig. 2~ 17 [Ref. 16 [. Both the LP notaL ion and the corresponding traditional H E, EH~ TE and TM mode notations are indicated. In addition, the Bessel functions Jo and J1 arc plotted against the normalized frequency and where they cross the zero gives the cutoff point for the various modes. Hence the cutoff point for a particular mode corresponds to a distinc live value of the normalized frequency (where V == Vc) for the fiber. It may be observed from Fig" 2+ 17 that the value of Vc is different for different modes, For example the first zero crossing J, occurs when the normalized frequency is a and this corresponds to the cutoff for the LPol mode. However, the first zero crossing for J 0 is when the normalized frcq ucncy is 2 .405 ~ gi vi 11 g a c u toff val ue

Vc of 2.405 for the LP 1 ~ 1TIOdCr Similarly, the second zero of J i corresponds to a normalized frequency of 3.831 giving a cutoff value Vc for the LP02 mode of 3.83+ It is therefore apparent that fibers may be produced with particular va1ues of norma1ized frequency which allows only certain modes to propagate+ This is further illustrated in Fig. 2~ 18 j Ref. 16 J which shows the normalized propagation constant b for a nu mber of LP modes as a function of V. It may be observed that the cutoff value of normalized frequency VI; which occurs when p == n!_ k corresponds to b == O~

The propagation of part icular modes within a fiber may a lso be con firmed through visual analysis. The electric field distribution of different modes gives similar distributions of light intensity within the fiber core. These waveguide patterns (often called mode pattern s) may give an indication of t he predominant modes propagating in the fiber. The field intensity distributions for the three lower order L P modes were shown in Fig. 2.15. I n Fig. 2.] 9 we ill u strate the mode pat tern s for two higher order LP modest However, unless

• 1







()_:: .

(J......_""""""--....r....""'--I....-"""""'-_....1.01..""'-- ........ ......w:~"""""-~-....&,11;","-- ...... ~


Fig. 2.18 The norm a I ized propa ga tio n co nstant b as a fu nction of normalized frequ ency V for a nurnbar of LP modes. Reproduced with permission from D, Gloge, Appl. o,«, 10, p. 2552, 1971.

1.1 \.:,;0

Fig~ 2.19 S ketches of fiber CrOSS section s illustr a t i ng the d i stinctive lig ht I nte nsitv distributions (mode patterns} generated by propagation of individual linear~y pol a rized modes

the fiber is designed for the propagation of a particular mode it is likelv that the superposition of many lTIOUCS will result in no distinctive pattern.

2.3.7 Mode Coupling

We have thu s far con sidered t he propagation aspects of perfect dielect ric w avegu ides. However, wa vegu ide perturbation s such as devi at ion s or the fi bcr axis from straightness, variations in the core diameter 1 irrcgu I ariti cs at the



lrrvgulurlty .

- ......

----- I

\ I

Fig. 2r20 Ray theory i U ustrati ons showing two of the pcssi ble fiber pe rtu rba r ions wh i ch give mode cou pi i ng: (a) i rreg u la ritv at the core-cladding inte tiace; (b) fiber bend.

core-cladding interface and refractive index variations may change the propagation characteristics of the fiber. These will have the effect of coupling energy tra velling in one mode to another depcndin g on th e specific pertu rba tion ..

Ray theory aids the u nderstan ding of th i s phenomenon as shown in Fig. 2.20 which illustrates two types of perturbation. 11 may be observed that in both cases the ray no longer maintains the same angle with the axis. In electromagnetic wave theory this corresponds to a change in the propagating mode for the 1 ight. Thu s individ u al modes do not norm all y propagate throughout the length of the fiber without large energy transfers to adjacent modes even when the fiber is exceptionally good quality and not strained or bent by its surroundings. This mode conversion is known as mode coupling or mixing. It is usually ana1yzed using coupled mode equations which can be obtained direct1y from Maxwell's equations. However, the theory is beyond the scope of this text and the reader is directed to Ref. ] 7 for a comprehensive treatment. Mode coupling affects the transmission properties of fibers in several important ways; a major one being in relation to the dispersive properties of fibers over long distances. This is pursued further in Sections 3. 7~3. 10.




The optical fiber considered in the previous sections with a core of constant refractive index n l and a cladding of a slightly lower refractive index n, is known as step index fiber. This is because the refractive index profi1e for this type of fiber makes a step change at the core-cladding interrace as indicated in F ig. 2~ 2] which illu strates the two maj or types of step i ndcx fiber. The refrac '" Live index profile may be defined as:

(core) (cladding)


in both cases.

Figure 2.21 (a) shows a rnultimode step index fiber with a core diameter of arou nd 50 J.l m or greater" which is large cno ugh to allow the propagation of many modes within the fiber core. This i s illustrated in Fig. 2.21 (a) by the many different possible ray paths through the fiber. Figure 2.21 (b) shows a single mode or monomode step index fiber which allows the propagation of only one transverse electromagnetic mode (typically HE 11)" and hence the core diameter must be of the order of l. 10 J.1m. The propagation of a single mode is illustrated in Fig. 2.21(b) as corresponding to a single ray path only (usually shown as the axial ray) through the fiber.




, ...... -----4r--~__.." a --r ""

Pill. 2.21 The refractive index profile and ray tra nsrnission in step index fibers: ~a) m u IUmode step index fiber; (b) single mode step index fiber,



The single mode step index fiber has the distinct ad v an tage of ]O\V inter modal dispersion (broaden i ng of tr an smitted light pul scs), as onl y one mode is transmitted. whereas with multirnode step index fiber considerable dispersion may occur due to the differing group velocities of the propagating modes (see Section 3.9)" This in turn restricts the maximum bandwidth attainable with m ul timode step i ndcx fi hers, cspeci all y w hen compared wi th single mode fibers.. However, for lower bandwidth applications multirnodc fibers have several advantages over single mode fibers, These arc:

(a) The use of spatially incoherent optical sources (e.g. most light emitting diodes) which cannot be efficiently coupled to single mode fibers;

(b) Larger numerical apertures .. as well as core diameters, facilitating easier coupling to optical sources;

(c) Lower tolerance requirements on fiber connectors ..

2.4.1 Multimode Step Index Fibers

r M ultimode step index fibers allow the propagation of a finite n u m bcr of gui ded { modes along the channel, The number of guided modes is dependent upon the I ph ysical parameters (i.e. relative refractive index difference, core rad ius) of the r fiber and the wavelengths of the transmitted light which are included in the I normalized frcq ucn c'i V for the fiber. It was indicated in Section 2.3.6 that

there is a cutoff value of normalized frequency V( for guided modes below which they cannot exist. However, moue propagation does not entirely cease below cutoff. Modes may propagate as unguided or leaky modes which can travel con sider able distances along the fiber. Nevertheless it is the guided modes wh i ch are of para mou nt importance in opti cal fiber com munication s as these are confined to the fiber over its full length" It can be shown I Ref. ] 61 that the total number of guided modes or mode volume M~ for a step index fiber is related to the V value for the fiber by the approxi rna t e ex pression:


M ......... _

... -

. 2

which allow s an esti rna tc of th c n urn bcr of guided mod es p ropagatin g in a particular m ultimode step index fiber ..

Example 2.4

A rnultirnode step index fiber with Q core diameter of 80 11m and a relative index: difference of 1.5% is operating at a wavelength of 0,85 urn. lf the core refractive index is 1 .48, estl mate: (a) the normalized freq uency for th e f ber; (b) ttl e nu mbe r of guided modes.

Solution: (a) The normal ized freq u ency may be obta ined from Eq I (2 ,70) whe re:



21t 1

V:::: - al11 ~2d) ~ )"

2 rt x 40 x 1 0 6 X 1 ,48 1

------.---. - {2 X 0,015)7 0.85 X 10-f)

= 75-8

(b) The tota I nu m ber of 9 u 'ded mod ss ls giv8n by Eq. (2.74) as:

v2 5745.6

2 2


Hence this fi ber ha s a V rl umber of a Dr roxi m a tf.!ly 76 }.Ji viriq nca rly 3000 t] LJ i dod modes.

Therefore as ill u str ated in examp1e 2 .4~ th e optical power is I aunchcd into a large num her of gu ided modes each havi ng d iffcrcnt ~ pa ti al field di stri bu lions, propagation constants, etc+ In an ideal rnultimodc step index fiber with properties (i.c, relative index difference, core diameter) which arc independent of distance, there is no mode coupling, and the optical power launched into a particular mode remains in that mode and travels independently of the power 1aunched into the other guided modes. Also the majority of these guided modes opera te far from cutoff, and are well confined to the fiber core l Ref. 16 l, Thus most of the optical power is carried in the core region and not in the cladding. The properties of the cladd ing (e .. g. th ick ness) therefore do not significan tly affect the propagation of these modes.

2.4.2 Single Mode Step Index Fibers

The advantage of the propagation a f a singl e mode V\J·i thin an optical fiber j s that the signal dispersion caused by the delay differences bet ween different modes in a multimode fiber may be avoided (sec Section 3.9). Multimode step index fibers do not lend themselves to the propagation of a single mode due to the difficulties of maintaining single mode operation within the fiber when mode conversion (i .c, coupling) to other g uid ed modes takes place at both input mismatches and fiber imperfections. Hence for the transmission of a single mode the fiber must be designed to allow propagation of only one mode .. whilst all other modes are attenuated by leakage or absorption,

Following the previous discussion of rnultirnodc fibers this may be achieved through choice of a s u itab le normalized freq uency for the fiber. For single mode operation .. only the fundamental LPn, mode can exist. Hence the limit of single mode operation depends on the lower limit of guided propagation for the LP II mode. The cutoff norma1ized frequency for the L.P! l mode occurs at V~ = 2.405 (see Section 2.3.6). Thus single mode propagation of the LPOl



mode is possible over the range:

o ~ V < 2.405


as there is no cutoff for the fundamental mode. It must be noted that there are in fact two modes with orthogonal polarization over this range, and the term s Ingle mode applies to propagation of Ugh t of a parti cu lar polarizati on. Also, it is apparent that the normalized frequency for the fiber may be adjusted to within the range given in Eq, (2 .. 75) by reduction of the core radius, and possibly the relative refractive index difference fol1owing Eq. (2.70).

Example 2.6

Esti m ate the maxi mu m core dia meter for an optica I fibe r wi th the sa me re lative refra ctive index d lfference (1 .5%) a nd co re refractive index (1 ,48) as the fi be r given in example 2,4 in order that it may be suitable for sing~e mode operation, It may bB assumed that the fiber is operating at the same wavelength (0,85 urnl Further, estimate the nnw maximum core diameter for single mode operation when the relative refra ctive index diff ere n ce is redu ced by a fa eta r of ten.

Solution: Consideri ng th e re I ationship 9 ivan in Eq. (2.75} ( the m a xi mu m V va hJH for a fiber which g,ves single mode operation is 2_4. Hence from Eq. {2, 70) the COrP radius a is:


2.4 x 0-85 x 1 o"


2nn, (211r~

= 1 -3 urn

.-- ... -~----


21t X 1.48 x (0,03)7

Therefore the maximum core diameter for single mode operation is approxirnatalv 2.6 ~m.

Red ucing the rela tive refractive index d iffere nee by a facto r of 1 0 and ag a i n u sin~l Eq, (2.70) gives:

2.4 x 0.85 x 10-6

a = -;.

2n: x 1.48 x (O,003P

4,0 urn,

Hence the maximum core diameter for single mode operation is now approxlmarelv 8 IJ,m.

It is clear from example 2.5 that in order to obtain single mode operation with a maximum V number of 2 .. 4 the single mode fiber must have a much smaller core diameter than the equivalent multimodc step index fiber (in this case by a factor of 32). However, it is possible to achieve si ngle mode operalion with a slightly larger core diameter, a1beit still much Jess than the diameter of multimode step index fiber ~ by reducing the relative refractive index difference of the fiber. Both these factors create difficulties with single mode fibers. The small core diameters pose problems with launching light into the fiber and with field join ting, a nd the reduced relative refractive index difference presents difficulties in the fiber fabrication process,



A further problem with single mode fibers. with low relative refractive index differences and low V values is that the electromagnetic field associated with the L·P IU mode extends appreciably into the cladding, For instance, with V values less than 1.4, over half the modal power propagates in the cladding

l Ref. 201. Thus the exponentially decaying evanescent field may extend significan t distances into the cl adding, 11 is therefore essen ti al t ha t the cladding is of a s uitable thick ness, a nd has low absorption and scattering losses in order to reduce attenuation of the mode. Estimates [Ref. 21 J show that the necessary cladd in g thic kness is of the order of 50 11m to avoid prohibitive losses (greater than 1 dB krrr ' ) in single mode fibers, especially when additional losses result ing fro m microbending (see Section 4.6.2) arc taken into account Therefore the total fi her cross section for single mode fibers is of a com parable size La multirnodc fibers+

Another approach to single mode tiber design which allows the V value to be increased above 2~405 is the W fiber l Ref. 231. The refractive index profile for this fiber is illustrated in Fig+ 2.22 where two cladding regions may be observed. Usc of such t\VO step cladding allows the loss threshold between the desirable and undesirable modes to be substantially increased. The fundamental mode will be fully supported with small cladding Joss when its propagation constant lies in the range knJ < ~ < kn l +

I f the undesirable higher order modes which are excited or converted to have values or prop agation con stant ~ < kn 3 ~ they will leak th rough the barrier layer between al and Q2 (Fig. 2.22) into the outer cladding region 113 . Conseq uently these modes will lose power by radiation into the lossy surroundings. Thi s design can provide single mode fibers with J arger core di am ctcrs than the conventional single cladding approach which proves useful for easing jointing difficulties, W fibers also tend to give reduced losses at bends in comparison with conventional single mode fibers.



....._---~--~-.........-----~ ..... -== .. Rilld~.:.d distan:.;~ from

u, IJ~ core axis (r)

~ •• 11112 The rl1ractlve fndex profi~e for the single mode W fiber,




<Gr aded index f bers do not have a con stan t refracti ve index in the core" but a decreasing core index n(r) with radial distan ce from a max im u m val ue of III at ,he axis to a constant value n2 beyond the core radius a in the cladding. This .index variation may be represented as:

r < a (core)

r ~ a (cladding)


w here ~ is the relative refractive i nd_ex difference and a is the prof Ie parameter which gives the characteristic refractive index profile of the fiber core. Equa tion (2. 76) which is a convenient method of expressing the refractive index profile of the fiber core as a variation o f a allows representation of the step index profile when a == oo, a parabo1ic profile when a --= 2 and a triangular profile when a == 1 . This range of refractive index profiles is illustrated in Fig" 2.23~

The graded index. profiles \\0' hich at present produce the best results for multimode optical propagation have a near parabo1ic refractive index profile core with a ~ 2" Fibers with such core index profiles .are well established and consequently when the term 'graded index'! is used without qualification it usually refers to a fiber \\ .. ith this profile. For this reason in this section we consider the wavcguiding properties of graded index tiber with a parabo1ic refractive index profile core.

I A multimode graded index fiber with a parabolic index profile core is /; filustrated in Fig. 2.24. It may be observed that the meridional rays shown til/appear to follow curved paths through the fiber core. Using the concepts of

: ~:

. r·


... "-/ ,., - .4J

Re fra cti vc j nde x (H{r) ,

~---......I....--~"""""""'-~~__:__-____''---~ Radial distance (rl

-.::.I CMe a


Fig. 2.23 Possi ble fibe r refractive index profiles for different va I uas of (t (give n in Eq. (2.76)}.

If! Graded index fibers are therefore sometimes referred to as inhomogeneous core fibers •

• • • r :', ":, :.:





-- -r --

.:..! .........__________.I--------I _1_

Fig. 2.24 Th e refractive index profi I e and ray t ra nsm lssion ina multi mode graded index fiber,

geometric optics, the gradual decrease in refractive index from the center of the core creates many refractions of the rays as they are effectively incident on a

]!lr~~_ number of high to ~~~_ ~~~~e~~i~_~err~es. ~!:!J_~mechanjsrn is iq.~_str~te.~ i~ .... Fig. 2:r3"-,vfler-e~a-ray i.~ shown to be gradually curved. with ~Hl ever-increasing

angle of incidence, until the conditions for total internal reflection arc met, and

. ... ..

the .ray travels back towards the core axi s, a gain being conti nuou sly ref ractcd.

To. ,i I in k r nal rl.:' tk c tiu n

. - - - -- - - -/- - - - T/~ - - - - - - .- -- - . ·~:-l

... ,/ - - - - - - - - .-:. - -- -- _. - }I~\

.- - - - - - - - - - - \

11.~ I

..... - -: =- ~J2 s'

, 'II

: '.L .

'( .I

, ,

-------- -_ .. - ----

. -- - -- - - - -- - ---


Fig. 2.25 An expanded ray diagram showing refraction at the various high to low index interfaces with ina graded index fi ber 91ving an overa II curved ray path.

Multirnode graded index Qbcrs exhibit far less intermodal dispersion (sec Section 3~9.2) than !.1!l}lti,~~d~_.~.~~p.lq_,!~~. ~~~ers due to their refracti~~c index profi1e. Although many different modes are excited in the graded .index fiber, thedifferent group velocities 'ofthe modes tend to be normalized by ·the-index . g-r·Eiding. Again considering ray theory, the rays travelling close to the fiber axis have shorter paths when compared with rays which travel into the outer regions of the core. However, the near axial rays are transmitted through a region of higher refractive index and therefore tra vel with a lower velocity than the more extreme rays. This compensates for the shorter path lengths and red uces dispersion in the fiber. A similar situation exists for skew rays which follow longer helical paths as illustrated in Fig. 2.26. These travel for the most







CJilJJ ir:.g

Fig. 2.26 A helical skew ray path within a graded index fiber .

. ,' part in the lower index region at greater speeds thus 21VJng the same mechanism of mode transit time equalization. Hence multirnode graded index fibers with parabolic or near parabolic index profile cores ha vc tran smission bandwidths which may be orders of magnitude greater than multirnode step index fiber bandwidths, Consequently, although they are not capable of the bandwidths attainable with single mode fibers, such multimode graded index fibers have the advantage of la rge core diameters (greater th an 30 11m) coupled with bandwidths suitable for long distance communication.

The parameters defined for step index fibers (i.e .. NA~ fj" V) may be applied to graded index fibers and give a comparison between the two fiber types. However, it must be noted that for graded index fibers the situation is more complicated since the numerical aperture is a function of the radial distance from the tiber axis. Graded index fibers, therefore, accept less light than corresponding step ind ex fibers with t he same relative refractive index difference.

Electromagnetic mode theory may also be utilized with the graded profiles, Approximate field solutions of the same order as geometric optics are often obtained employing the WKB method from quantum mechanics after Wentzel, Kramcrs and Brillouin I Ref 241. Using the WK B method modal solutions of the guided w ave arc ac h ieved by ex pressing the field in the form:

.. . ( cos l~) .

E . =- .1~ G (r)e}.)tn + G"I (r)e jS{r-) l ef~':

.\ ~ 1 - • I*'

sm 'r

where G and S are assumed to be real functions of the radial distance r.

Substitution of Eq .. (2.77) into the scalar wave equation of the form given by Eq .. (2.61) (in which the constant refractive index of the fiber core nl is. replaced by n(r)) and neglecting the second derivative of OJ (r) with respect to r provides approximate solutions for the amplitude function Gj(r) and the phase function S(r)" It may be observed from the ray diagram shown in Fig .. 2.24 that a light ray propagating in a graded index fiber does not necessarily reach every point within the fiber core. The ray is contained within two cylindrical caustic surfaces and for most rays a caustic does not coincide .with the

~ .....

I,' -t:i." '_J'

.: : .,,' ,.'

-.- ..... :

• •• L..L_.



core-cladding interface. Hence the caustics define the classical turning points of the light ray within the graded fiber core. These turning points defined by the two caustics may be designated as occurring at r::;;;;;: fl and r == '2 r

The result of the W K B approximation yields an oscillatory field in the region rl < r < r2 between the caustics where:

G I (r) = G2.(r) == D/l(n2 (r)k2 ~ ~2),.1 - /21+ (where D is an amplitude coefficient) and

Jrl dr 1t

S(r) ~ l(n1(r)k2 - ~2)r - [21+ - --

r r 4



Outside the interval r j < r < r 2 the field solution must have an evanescent form. In the region inside the inner caustic defined by r < rl and 'assuming rl is not too close to r = 0, the field decays towards the fiber axis giving:

G l (r) ~ Deimft I~ [2 - (n2 (r)k2 - Pl),-2 It G2 (r) == 0

(2~80) (2.8 J)

where the integer m is the radial mode number and


A I so outside t he outer caustic in the region r > rz., the field decays a way from the fiber axis and is described by the eq nations :

G 1 (r) == Dejm1t 11/2 ~ (n1 (r)k2 ~ ~2)r2 P O2 (r) == 0


The WKB method does not initially provide valid solutions of the wave equation in the vicinity of the turning points. Fortunately this may be amended by replacing the actual refractive index profile by a li near approxim ation at the location of the caustics. The solutions at the turning points can then be expressed in terms of Hankel functions of the first and second kind of order f I Ref. 251. This facilitates the joining together of the two separate solutions described previously for inside and outside the interval rl < r < T2 ~ Thus 'the W KB theory provides an approximate eigenvalue equation for the propagation constant p of the guided modes which cannot be determined using ray theory. The W KB eigen val ue equation of which ~ is a solution is given by [Ref. 251:

[1 dr 1t (n2(r)k2 - ~2)r2 - P J+ - = (2m - 1)-

~I r 2




where the radial mode number m -= 1, 2, 3 . ~ ~ and determines the number of maxima of the oscillatory field in the radial direction. This eigenvalue equation can only be solved in a closed analytical form for a few simple refractive index profiles. Hence, in most cases it must be solved approximately or with the use of n u m ericai techniq ucs,

Finally the amplitude coefficient D may be expressed in terms of the total optical power PG within the guided mode. Considering the power carried between the turning points rl and r2 gives a geometric optics approximation of I Ref. 28J,


D == ~4(_Ilo_/~€o_)~_PJ_G





The properties of the WKB solution may be observed from a graphical representation of the intcgran d give n in Eq, (2.79). Th is iss hown in Fig. 2.27 together with the correspondin g \V K B solution. F igurc 2~2 7 i 11 ustrates the

r~ I




Fig. 2 .. 27 G raphica I represents tio n of the fu net ions (nZ(dk2 - (32) and t/2/r2) that ate im porta nt in th e WK B solution and which define the tu rni ng poi nts r 1 and r 2' Also shown is an example of the corresponding WKB solution tor a guided mode where an oscillatory wave exists in the region between the turninQ points .


. . ~~.-. : ...



functions (n2 (r)t;2 ~ ~2) and ([2 /r). The two curves intersect at the turning points r == rl and r == '24 The oscillatory nature of the WKB solution between the turning points (i.e, when p. / r2 < 112 (r)k 2 - PI) which changes into a decay-

ing exponential (evanescent) form outside the interval Tl < r <'1 (i.e. when P /r2 > n2 (r)k2 - P2) can also be clearly seen~

It may be noted that as the azimuthal mode number I increases, the curve /21r2 moves higher and the region between the two turning points becomes narrower. In addition, even when J is fixed the curve (n2 (r)Ji2 - Pl) is shifted up and down with alterations in the value of the propagation constant ~4 Therefore modes far from cutoff w hie h have large values of ~ exhibit more closely spaced turning points, As the value of ~ decreases below n2 k, (n2 (r)k2 - ~2) is no longer negative for large values of r and the guided mode situation depicted in Fig .. 2.27 changes to one corresponding to Fig. 2.28 .. In this case a third turning point r ~ '.1 is created when at r == a the curve (n 2 (r)k2 - ~2) becomes constant, th us allowing the curve (f- ! r2 ) to drop below it. Now the field displays an evanescent, exponentially decaying form in the region '2· < r < r3 as shown in Fig .. 2.28. Moreover, for r > rJ the field resumes an oscillatory behavior and therefore carries power away from the fiber core. Unless mode cutoff occurs at ~ == n 1 k the guided mode is no longer full y contained within the fiber core but loses power through leak age or tunnelling into the cladding. This situation corresponds to the leaky modes mentioned previously in Section 2~3 .. 6.

'lit 2.28 SimHar graphical represe ntaticn as that illustrated in Fi g. 2.27. Here the cu rve (na~r)k2 - ~~) no longer goes negative and a third turning poi nt fJ Occurs. Th is corr,.panda to ~eaky mode sol utlons in the WKB method.


The W BK method may be used to calculate the propagation constants for the modes in a parabolic refractive index profile core ltber where following Eq, (2.76):

Substitution of Eq, (2. g9) Into Eq. (2+86) gives:


The integral shown in Eq. {2.(0) can be evaluated using a change of variable tr orn r to U .. =. r': The integral obtained may be found ina standard table of indefinite integrals I RcL 291+ As the square root term ill the resulting expression goes to zero at the turning points (i.e, r == r 1 and r - r~}~ then we can write

(2.9 I )

Solving Eq. (2.9 I) for ~ ~ gives:

, ~ ~ [ l - 2 V(2~) ]

~ - -. 1 ~ I k - . __ ... (2 111 + {~ 1)



lt is interesting to note that the solution for the propagation constant for the various modes in a parabolic refractive index core fiber given in Eq, (2.92) is ex act even though it was derived from t he approximate W K 8 eigen val ue eq u alion (Eq, 2.86)+ However, although Eq. (2.92) is an exact solution of the scalar wave equation for an infinitely extended parabolic profile medium, the wave eq ua tion is only an approx i mate representation of Maxwel I 's equation. Furthermore" practical parabolic refractive index profile core fibers exhibit a tru nc ated par abolic distribution which merges into a con stant refractive index at the cladding .. Hence Eq. (2.92) is not exact for rea] fibers.

Equation (2+92) docs, however, allow us to consider the mode number plane spanned by the radial and azimuthal mode numbers m and I. This plane is displayed in Fig~ 2.29 where each mode of the fiber described by a pair of mode numbers is represented as a point in the plane. The tnode number plane contains guided, leaky and radiation modes. The mode boundary which separates the guided modes from the leaky and radiation modes is indicated by the solid line in Fig. 2.29. It depicts a constant value of P following Eq. (2.92) and occurs when ~ = n 2 k. Therefore, all the points in the mode n umber pi ane lying below the line ~ == n2 k are associated with guided modes whereas the region above this line is; occupied by leaky and radiation modes. The concept



of the mode plane allows us to count the total number of guided modes within the fiber. For each pair of mode numbers m and I the corresponding mode field can have azimuthal mode dependence cos l~ or sin 1$ and can exist in two possible polarizations (see Section 3. 12)+· Hence the modes are said to be fourfold degenerate." If we defirie the mode boundary as the function In =/(/) then the total number of" guided modes M is given by:

M = 4 J~ 1m", f(l) dl

as each representation point corresponding to four modes occupies an element of unit area in the mode plane. Equation (2+93) allows the derivation of the total number of guided modes or mode volume M~ supported by the graded index fiber. It can be shown l Ref. 25] that:

(2.94 )

Furthermore, utilizing Eq. (2~ 70), the normalized frequency V for the fiber w hen A ~ 1 is approxirn ately given by:

v = n, kQ(2A}~ Substituting Eq. (2.95) into Eq. (2.94), we have:




(j u id I,;U fib e I'

mod ~'S ""

Mode boundary: ~ -:- PI::! k


Fig. 2.29 The mode nu mber p' an e illustratinq the mode boundary a nd the gu ided fiber modes,

• An exception to this are the modes that occur when 1= 0 which are only doubly degenerate II COl I, become,. unity and sln I, vanishes. However. these modes represent only a small minority and thererort may be nCllected.



Hence for a parabolic refractive index profile core fiber (a 777. 2), M~ ~ V 2/4 which is ha]f the number supported by a step index fiber (a == 00) with the same V value ..

Ex.ample 246

A graded index fiber has a core with a pa ra bol ic refra ctive ind Ax profi Ie \IV"" i ell ha s a d la meter of 50 urn. The fiber has a n U me rica I a pertu re of 0,2. E 5t1 m ale the total number of guided modes propagating in the ffber whe n it is ope rating at a wavel ength of 111m.

Solution: Using Eq, (2,69), the normalized frequency for the fiber is:

21t 211 x: 25 x 10 6 X 0.2

v= --~ a(NA) = --------

A 1 x 10 6

"7 31.4

The mode vol u me may be obta ined fro m Eq. (2.96) where fo r J pa rabotic profi Ie:

v2 986

M ,.....~ .247

~ - 4 4

Hence the fiber supports approximately 24 7 ~LJjded rnodas.

Example 2.7

A graded index fiber with a parabolic refractive inrlex profile corp t-Jas H refractivu index at the core axis of 1.5 a nd a relative index difference of 1 W), E sti mate the maximum possible core diameter which allows single mode operation a t a wavelength of 1.3 lim.

Solution: Usi ng Eq. f2, 97} the maxi rnu m va I ue of norma lized trequen cv for sin gle mode operation is

I 1 . ,

V = 2_4{ 1 + 2/0) r = 2_4( 1 +- 2/2P

The maximum core radius. may be obtained from EQ- (2 -95) where:

v }~ 2,4 V 2 x t 3 x 1 0 - '3

8= -- _ .. - 1


. 1

2 rt xl, 5 x to. 02 r::

= 3.3 um

Hence the maximum core diameter which allows. single mode operation -5 approxirn atelv 6.6 J1m,

Graded index fibers may also be designed for single mode operation although there is no obvious advantage to this as in the step index case, However, it may be shown I Ref. 301 that the cutotT value of normalized frequency Vc to support a single mode in a graded index fiber is given by:




NO .



Vc = 2.405 (1 + 2/a)+


Therefore, as in the step index case, it is possible to determine the fiber parameters which give single mode operation.

It may be noted that the critical val ue of normal i zed frequency for the parabolic profile graded index fiber is increased by a factor of y2 on the step index case. This gives a core diameter increased by a similar factor for the graded index fiber over a step index fiber with the eq uiv a1ent core refractive index (equivalent to the core axis index), and the same relative refractive index d iffcrence,

The maximum V number which permits single mode operation can be increased still further when a graded index tiber with a triangular profile is employed. It is apparent from Eq. (2.97) that the increase in this case is by a factor of V3 over comparable step index fiber. Hence significantly larger core diameter single mode fibers may be produced utilizing this index profile. Such fibers have recently generated some interest ~ Ref. 381 for use in single mode tran srnission at wa velengths of 1.55 urn:


2.1 Using simple ray theory ~ describe the mech anism for the transmi ssion of light within an optical tiber. Briefly discuss with the aid of a suitable diagram what is meant by the acceptance angle for an optical fiber. Show how this is related to the fiber numerical aperture and the refractive indices for the fiber core and cladding.

An optical fiber has a numerical aperture of 0.20 and a cladding refractive index of 1.59. Determine:

(a) the acceptance angle for the fiber in water which has a refractive index or 1.33;

( b) the critical angle at the core-cladding interface.

Comment on any assumptions made about the fiber.

2 .. 2 The velocity of light in the core of a step index fiber is 2.01 x 1 O~ m S-l, and the critical angle at the core-cladding interface is 80°. Determine the numerical aperture and the acceptance angle for the fiber in air, assuming it has a core diameter suitable for consideration by ray analysis. The velocity of light in a vacuum is 2+99A x 1 O~ m S-l.

2.3 Define the relative refractive index difference for an optical fiber and show how it may be related to the numerical aperture.

A step index fiber with a large core diameter compared with the wa velength of the transmitted light has an acceptance angle in air of 220 and a relative refractive index difference of 3%+ Estimate the numerical aperture and the critical angle at the core-cladding interface for the fiber.

2 .. 4 A step index fiber has a solid acceptance angle in air of 0.115 radians and a relative refractive index difference of 0.9%. Estimate the speed of Jight in the fiber core.

..... . .... -


2.5 Briefly indicate with the aid of suitable diagrams the difference between meridional and skew ray paths in step index fibers.

Derive an expression for the acceptance angle for a skew ray which changes direction by an angle 3y at each reflection in a step index fiber in terms of the fiber NA and y. It may be assumed that ray theory holds for the fiber.

A step index fiber with a suitably large core diameter for ray theory considerations has core and cladding refractive indices of L44 and 1.42 respectively, Calculate the acceptance angle in air for skew rays which change direction by 150 Q at each reflection.

2.6 Skew rays are accepted into a 1arge core diameter (compared to the wavelength of the transmitted light) step index fiber in air at a maximum axial angle of 42°. Within the fiber they change direction by 90° at each reflection. Determine the acceptance angle for meridional rays for the fiber in air.

2.7 Explain the concept of electromagnetic modes in relation to a pi an ar optical waveguide.

Discuss the modifications that may be made to electromagnetic mode theory in a planar waveguide in order to describe optical propagation in a cylindrical fiber ~

2.8 Briefly discuss, with the aid of suitable diagrams, the following concepts in

optical fiber transmission:

(a) the evanescent field; (b) Goos-Haenchen shift: (c) mode coupling,

Describe the effects of these phenomena on the propagation of light in optical fibers.


2.9 Define the normalized frequency for all optical fiber and explain its, use in the

determination of the number of guided modes propagating within a step index fiber~

A step index fiber in air has a numerical aperture of O.l6~ a core refractive index of 1.45 and a core diameter of 60 urn. Determine the normalized frequency for the fiber when light at a wavelength of 0.9 urn is transmitted+ Further, estimate the number of guided modes propagating in the fiber.

2.10 Describe with the aid of simple ray diagrams: (a) the multirnode step index fiber;

(b) the single mode step index ti ber ..

Compare the advantages and disadvantages of these two types of fiber for use as an opti c al chan nel,

2.11 A rnultimode step index fiber has a relative refractive index difference of 1 % and a core refractive index of L5. The number of modes propagating at a wavelength of 1 .. 3 um is 1100. Esti mate the dia meter of the fiber core.

2.12 A single mode step in dex fiber has a core diameter of 4 ,... m and a core refractive index of J .49~ Estimate the shortest wavelength of light which allows single mode operation when the relative refractive index difference for the fiber is 2%.

2.13 In problem 2 .. 12~ it is required to increase the fiber core diameter to 10 ~m



whilst maintaining single mode operation at the same wavelength. Estimate the maximum possible relative refractive index difference for the fiber.

2.14 Explain what is meant by a graded index optical fiber, giving an expression for the possible refractive index profile, U sing simple ray theory concepts, discuss the transmission of light through the fiber. Indicate the major advantage of this type of fiber with regard to multirnode propagation.

2.15 The relative refractive index difference between the core axis. and the cJadding of a graded index fiber is 0.7% when the refractive index at the core axis is l.45. Estimate values for the numerical aperature of the fiber when:

(a) the index profile is not taken into account ~ and

(b) the index profile is assu med to be triangular.

Comment on the results.

2 .. 16 A multimode graded index fiber has an acceptance angle in air of 80 + Estimate the relative refractive index difference between the core axis. and the cladding when the refractive index at the core axis is 1.52.

2.17 A graded index fiber with a parabolic index profile supports the propagation of 742 guided modes. The tiber has a numerical apertu re in air of O~3 and a core diameter of 70~. Determine the wavelength of the light propagating in the fiber.

Further estimate the maximum diameter of the fiber which gives single mode operation at the same wavelength.

2.18 A graded index fiber with a core axis refractive index of 1..5 has a

characteri slic index profile (a) of 1 +901 a relative refractive index difference of 1.3~o and a corc diameter of 40 11m. Estimate the number of guided modes propagating in the fiber when the transrn itted light has a wa velength of 1.55 urn, and determine the cutoff value of the normalized frequency for single mode transmission in the fiber.

Anlwers to Numerical Problems

2.1 (a) 8.60 ~ (b) 83.60 2.11 92 urn
2.2 0 .. 26'1 15.2° 2.12 1.56 urn
2.3 O.37t 75.9° 2.13 0.32%
2.4 2.11 x 1 08 m s ~ 1 2.16 (a) OJ 72; (b) 0.1 7 ]
2111 34.6° 2 .. 16 0+42%
2.8 28~2° 2.17 l.2 um, 4.4 urn
2MB 33~5, 56] 2.18 94, 3.45 REFERENCES

, D. Hondros and P. Debye 'Electromagnetic waves along long cylinders of dieiectric', Annal. Physik, 32(3), pp~ 465-476, 1910+

Z 0 .. Schriever, 'Blectromagnetic waves in dielectric wires', Annal. Physik, 63(7)~ pp. 645-673. 1920.

I AI C t S. van Hee), 'A new method of transporti ng opt leal i mages without a berrationa\, Nat~". Lond., 173. p .. 39, 1954.


4 H. H. Hopkins and N~ S .. Kapany, '·A flexible fibrcscope, using static scanning', Nature, Lond.. 173" pp. 39-41 ~ 1954.

5 K. C. Kao and O. A+ Hockharn, 'Dielectric-fibre surface waveguides for optical frequencies' .. Proc IE R. 113~ pp. 115 1-1 J 58, 1 966.

6 A. Werts .. 'Propagation de la lurniere coherente dans lcs fibres optiques', L 'Onde E lectrique, 46.. pp. 967.-980, ] 966.

7 S. Takahashi and T+ Kawashima, "Preparation of low" loss multi-component glass

fiber" Tech+ Dig. Int. Con! Integr. Opt. and Opt. Fiber Commun., p. 62 L 197"7. 8 J. B. Mac C h esn ey, P ~ B. O'Con nor, F. W r Di M arcel1 o, J. R+ S imp so nand P. D.

Lazay, .. Preparation of Jaw-loss optical f brcs u sing simultaneous vapour phase deposition and fusion' ~ PrOCL 10th Int. Con! on Glass. paper 6-40, [974.

9 T. Miya, Y. Tcrunuma, T. Hosaka and T. Miyashita, 'Ultimate low-loss single-

mode fibre at 1..55 urn', Electron Lett., 15(4) .. pp, l06~ l08<1 1979.

10M. Born and E. Wolf, Principles of Optics, 6th edn., Pergamon Press, ] 980. 11 W. B. Allan, Fibre Optics, Oxford University Press, 1980+

12 D~ C. Agarwal, ~ Ray concepts in optical fibres', Indian J. Theoret. Phys., 28(])~

pp. 41-54~ J 980.

13 R+ P+ Feyman, The Feyman Lectures on Physics, Vol. 2, Addison-Wesley, 1969+ 14 J. E. Midwinter, Optical Fibers for Transmission, John Wiley, 1979.

15 E. Snitzer, 'Cylindrical dielectric waveguide modes', J~ Opt. SOC~ A m., 51 .. pp.491-498, 196 L

16 D. Glogc, 'Weaklv guiding fibers', Appl. Opt., 10, pp. 2252-2258<1 1971.

17 D~ Marcusc, Theory of Dielectric Optical Waveguides, Academic Press, New York, ] 974.

1 S A. W. Snyder, "A syrnptotic expressions for eigenfunctions and eigenvalues of a dielectric or optical w avcg uide', Trans IEEE M icrowave Theory Tech., M TT - ] 7, p p. 1130-]] 38, I 969 +

19 D~ Gloge, 'Optical power flow in rnultirnode fibers'" Bell S ySI. TechL J'<I S I, pp. 1767-1783, 1972.

20 R. 01 shansky .. 'Propagation in glass optical waveguides', Rev, Mod. Phys.. 51( 2),

pp. 341-366, 1979. "

21 D. Gloge, "The optical fibre as a transmission medium', Rep. Prog. Phys.. 42~ pp. 1777-l824, 1979.

22 M. M. Ramsay and G+ A. Hockham, "Propagation in optical fibre waveguides" in C. P. Sandbank (ed.) Optical Fibre Communication Systems, pp, 25--41, John Wiley, 1980.

23 S. Kawakami and S. Nishida, 'Characteristics of a doubly clad optical fiber with a low index cladding., IEEE J+ Quantum Electron, QE-I0~ pp. 879-887~ 1974. 24 P. M. Morse and H. Fesbach, Methods of Theoretical Physics, Vol. 11, McGrawHilL 1953.

25 D. Marcusc, Light Transmission Optics, 2nd edn., Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1982.

26 A~ Ghatak and K. Thyagarajan, 'Graded index optical waveguides', in E. WoJf (ed.), Progress in Optics Vol xvttt. PP+ 3-128:t North-Holland ] 980~

27 D. B~ Beck .. 'Optical Fiber Waveguides', in M. K. Barnoski (ed.), Fundamentals of Optical Fiber Communications, pp. 1-58, Academic Press, 1976~

28 D+ Marcuse, D. Gloge, E. AL J~ Marcatili, 'Guiding properties of fibers', in Optical Fiber Telecommunications, S. E~ Miller and A. O. Chynoweth (eds), Academic Press, pp. 37-l00, ] 979.

29 1+ S. Gradshteyn and L M. Ryzhik, Tables oj Integrals, Series and Products, 4th edn., Academic Press, 1965.




30 K. Okamoto and T. Okoshi, 'Analysis of wave propagation in optical fibers having core with {l-power refractive-index distribution and uniform cladding" IEEE Trans. Micro~vave Theory Tech., MTT -24~ pp. 4] 0-421, 1976+

31 C. W. Yeh, "Optical waveguide theory' .. IEEE Trans. Circuits and SYSI.~ CAS-26 (12), pp. 101] -lO 19, 1979~

32 C. Pask and R. A+ Sammut, 'Developments in the theory of fibre optics', PrOCr

I REE Aust.; 40(3)~ pp. 89~ 1 01, 1979.

33 W. A. Gambling, A. H. Hartog and C+ M. Ragdale .. 'Optical fibre transmission

lines' ~ The Radio E lectron. Eng. ~ 5 117 /8), pp. 313-325, 1 981.

34 H. G. Unger, Planar Optical Waveguides and Fibres ~ Clarendon Press, 1 977. 35 M+ J. Adams, An Introduction TO Optical Wapeguides~ John Wiley, 1981.

36 Y. Suematsu and K~-I. Iga, Introduction to Optical Fibre Communications, John Wiley ~ 1 982.

37 T. Okoshi, Optical Fibers, Academic Press .. 1982+

38 M. A. Saifi, "Triangular index monomode fibres' in Proc, SPJE Int. Soc. Opt.

Eng. ((_lSA)~ 3 74~ ppr 13-15~ 19 83.


Transmission Characteristics of Optical Fibers


Th e basic tran smission mech all isms of the v ariou sty pes of opti cal fiber waveguide have been discussed in Chapter 2. However, the factors which affect the performance of optical fibers as a transmission medium were not dealt with in detail. These transmission characteristics are of utmost importance when the suitability of optical fibers for communication purposes is investigated. The transmission characteristics of most interest are those of attenuation (or loss) and bandwidth.

The huge potential bandwidth of optical communications helped stimulate the birth of the idea that a dielectric waveguide made of glass could be used to carry wideband telecommunication signals. This occurred, as indicated in Section 2.1 in the celebrated papers by Kao and Hockham, and Werts in 1966. However, at the time the idea may have seemed somewhat ludicrous as a typical block of glass could support optical transmission for at best a few tens of meters before it was attenuated to an unacceptable level. Nevertheless, careful investigation of the attenuation showed that it was largely due to absorption in the glass, caused by impurities such as iron, copper, manganese and other transition metals which occur in the third row of the periodic table. Hence, research was stimulated on a new generation of 'pure' glasses for use in optical fiber communications.

A major breakthrough came in 1970 when the first fiber with an attenuation below 20 dB k m- J was reported [Ref. ] I. This level of attcn uation was seen as the absoJ ute minimum that had to be achieved before an optical fi ber system could in any way compete economically with existing communication systems. Since 1970 tremendous improvem ents h ave been made leading to fi bers with losses of less than 1 dB k m - I in th c I abora tory + Hence, com paratively low loss fibers h ave been incorporated into optical cornm unication system s throughout the world.

The other characteristic of primary importance is the bandwidth of the fiber ..

This is limited by the signal dispersion within the fiber. which determines the number of bits of information transmitted in a given time period. Therefore.





once the atten u arion was reduced to acceptable levels attention was directed towards the dispersive properties of f bcrs, Again this has Jed to substantial improvements giving wideband fiber bandwidths of tens of gigahertz over a n urn ber of kilometers l Ref. 2].. In order to appreciate these advances and possible future developments, the optical transmission characteristics of fibers must be con sidcred in greater depth .. Therefore in this ch apter VlC discuss the mechanisms within optical fibers which give rise to the major transmission characteristics mentioned previously (attenuation and dispersion), whilst also considering other perhaps less obvious effects when light is propagating down an optical fiber (modal noise and polarization).

We begin the discussion of attenuation in Section 3.2 with calculation of the total losses incurred in optical fibers. The various attenuation mechanisms (matcri al absorption, linear scatterin g, nonlinear scattering, f ber bends) are then considered in detail in Sections 3.3 to 3.6. Following this .. in Section 3~ 7, dispersion in optical fibers is described, together with the associated limitations on fiber bandwidth. Sections 3.8 and 3.9 dea1 with intramodal and interrnodal di s persian mechan isms .. prior to a discu ssion of overall fiber di spcrsion (in both mu1timode and single mode fibers) in Section 3~! O. Modal noise in multimode optical fibers is then considered in Section 3. I ] ~ Finally 1 Section 3.12 presents a brief account of pol arization within single mode optical fibers.


The attenuation or transmission loss of optical fibers has proved to be one of the most important factors in bringing about their wide acceptance in tclccornm un ications, As charm e! atten uation largely determined the maxim urn transmission distance prior to signal restoration, optical fiber communications became especially attractive when the transmission losses of fibers were reduced below those of the competing metallic conductors (less than 5 dB km") ..

Signal attenuation within optical fibers, as with metallic conductors, is usuall y ex pressed in the logarithmi c u nit of the decibel. The decibe1 which is used for comparing two power levels may be defined for a particular optical wavelength as the ratio of the input (transmitted) optical power Pi into a fiber to the output (received) optical power p{) from the fiber as:

p. number of decibels (dB) == 10 log., _I Po

(3.1 )

This logarithmic unit has the advantage that the operations of multiplication and division reduce to addition and subtraction" whilst powers and roots reduce to rnuldplication and .division. However, addition and subtraction require a conversion to numerical values which may be obtained using the



rel at ions hi p ~


.;; ~ I O(dBl J 0)


In optical fiber communications the attenuation is usually expressed in decibels per unit length (i.e. dB krrr ') following:




adsL = 10 log., ~ (3.3)


where adB is the signal attenuation .per unit length in decibels and L is the fiber length.

Example 3.1

When the mean optical power launched into an 8. km lenqth of fiber is 1 20 ~WJ the mean optical power at the fiber output is 3 }1W.


(a) the overall signal attenuation or loss in decibels throuqh the fiber asaurninq there are no connectors or splices:

(b] th e signal atten u at ion per ki lorneter fo r the fibe r_

{c) th e ove rail sig na I atten u a t ion for a 10k m optics I lin k using the sa m c fiber "''\1 i t h SP"CBS at·1 km intervals each giving an attenuation of 1 dB;

(d) the nu medea I input/on tput POW8 r ra ti 0 i n (r.~_

S elution: (a) Us i ng Eq. (3. 1 }, the overa II signal attenuation in dr~G i be Is th ro LI q h the fiber is:



signa I attenuation 1 0 log 10 _.-


120 j", 10-6

1 a ~ 0 g 1 0 _.. --

3 x 10-6

1 0 lug to 40 = 1 6.0 d8

{b} The signa I a tte n uation per ki 10 meter for the fi ber may he simp Iy obtn i ned bv dlvidiriq the result in (a) by the fiber length which corresponds usinq Eq. (3,3) where,

aliBi .:: 1 6-0 dB


16,0 8

2,0 dB krn :"

(c) As adB 2 dB km -1, t he loss inc u rred alo n 9 1 0 km of the fiber is qiven by

-crusL 2 x 10 .- 20 dB

However. the link also has nine splices rat 1 km hrtervals) each with an attenuation of 1 dB. Therefore. the loss due to t he splices ls 9 dB.

Hence, the avera II sign a I a tten u at ion for the lin k is:

siqnal atteriuation .:.:.= 20 + 9

. ~ 29 dB




{cD To obta i n a numeri eel I ve I ue for the i np LI t. ..... OLJtp ut power ratio. E'I. (3.2) III '::lV he u~ed where:

A number of mechanisms are responsible for the signal attenuation within optical fibers. These mechanisms are influenced by the material composition, the pre par ation and purification tech niq ue, and the wa veg uide structure. They may be categorized within several maj or areas which include material absorption, material scattering (linear and nonlinear scattering), curve and microbending losses, mode coupling radiation losses and losses due to leaky modes. There are also losses at connectors and splices as illustrated in example 3. 1. However, in this chapter we are interested solely in the ch aracteristics of the fiber; connector and splice losses are dealt with in Section 4.8. It is instructive to consider in some detail the loss mechanisms within optical fibers in order to obtain an understanding of the probJems associated with the design and fabrication of low 10 ss waveguides.


Material absorption is a loss mechanism related to the material composition and the fabrication process for the fiber, which results in the dissipation of some of the transmitted optica1 power as heat in the waveguide. The absorption of the light may be intrinsic (caused by the interaction with one or more of the major components of the glass) or extrinsic (caused by impurities within the glass).

3.3.1 Intrinsic Absorption

An absolutely pure glass has little intrinsic absorption due to its basic material structure in the near infrared region .. However, it does have two major intrinsic absorption mechanisms at optical wavelengths which leave a low intrinsic absorption window over the 0.8-].7 urn wavelength range as illustrated in Fig. 3 .. 1, which shows a possible optical attenuation against wavelength characteristic for absolutely pure glass r Ref 31. It may be observed that there is a fundamental absorption edge, the peaks of which are centered in the ultraviolet wavelength region .. This is due to the stimulation of eJectron transitions within the glass by higher energy excitations. The tail of this peak may extend into the window region at the shorter wavelengths as illustrated in Fig .. 3. IJ Also in the infrared and far infrared, normally at wavelengths above 7 urn, fundamentals of absorption bands from the interaction of photons with molee ular vibrations within the alass· ace ur + These gi v e ab sorpti on peaks which


O. f

\\. av ele [) g tn (/J. m )

U. X O. ~ l. 0 1 . 1

1.3 LS 1.7 :.0

i r





l U-J


II)rmn'~ I

,) h ~'VTP ~] un .. ,



P11'V ((I n en 1,,' C".l!:}' (I.: V)

Figr 3.1 Th e atte n u atlcn sp ectra fo r the i ntri ns lc loss mecha n isms in pu re G e02-S~02 9 I a 55 [Ref. 31.

1 !

again extend into the window region. The strong absorption bands occur due to oscillations of structural units such as Si-O (9.2 um), P-o (8~ 1 Jim), B-O (7.2 urn) and Ge-O (11.0 urn) within the glass. Hence, above 1~5 urn the tails of these largely far infr ared absorption peaks tend to cause most of the pure glass losses.

However, the effects of both these processes may be minimized by suitable choice of both core and cladding compositions. For instance in some nonoxide glasses such as fluorides and chlorides, the infrared absorption peaks occur at much longer wavelengths which are well into the far infrared (up to 50 urn) giving less attenuation to longer wavelength transmission compared with oxide glasses.

3.312 Extrinsic Absorption

In practic al op ti cal fiber s prepared by con v ention at melting tee hniques (see Section 4.3), a major source of signal attenuation is extrinsic absorption from transition metal element impurities. Some of the more common metallic impurities found in glasses are shown in the Table 3.1, together with the absorption losses caused by one part in 109 [Ref, 41. It may be noted that certain of these impurities namely chromium and copper in their worst valence state can cause attenuation in excess of 1 dB km' in the near infrared region, Transition element contamination may be reduced to acceptable levels (i.e, one part in 1 OJO) by glass refining techniques such as vapor phase oxidation I Ref. 5] (see Section 4t4) which largely eliminates the effects of these metallic impurities.



Tabla 3.1 Absorption losses caused by some of the more common metallic ion impurities in glasses together with the absorption peak wavelength

Peak wavelength (rirn] O"ne part in 109 (dB km :')

c-C2+ Cu2 .... Fe2+ Fe;) f-

NF+ Mn3+ V4t

625 685 850

1100 400 650 460 725

1.6 0.1

1 . 1 0.68 0.15 0.1 0,2 2.7

However, another major extrinsic loss mechanism is caused by absorption due to water (as the hydroxyl or OR ion) dissolved in the glass .. These hydroxyl groups are bonded into the glass structure and have fundamental stretching vibrations which occur at wavelengths between 2 .. 7 and 4 .. 2 um depending on group position in the glass network. The fundamental vibrations give rise to overtones appearing almost harmonically at It38, 0 .. 95 and 0.72 urn as illustrated in Fig. 3.2 [Ref. 6] .. This shows the absorption spectrum for the hydroxyl group in silica. Furthermore, combinations between the overtones and the fundamental Sial vibration occur at 1.24) 1.13 and 0.88 um completing the absorption spectrum shown in Fig. 3.2.

It may also be observed in Fig .. 3 .. 2 that the only significant absorption band in the region below a wavelength of 1 11m is the second overtone at 0 .. 95 IJ.m which causes attenuation of about 1 dB km ' for one part per million (ppm) of

I; i rs t 1)\' er lone


At tcnuation (d]~ krn-1)

Third o ..... crtonc


] 0'-'






FII. 3.2 The absorption spectru m for the hydroxyl (OH) 9 roup in si tica. Reproduced with perm'selon from D. B. Kackr K, D. Maurer and p, C, Schuttz, Appl. Phvs. Lett" 22, p. 307. '873,


At ten LLa tion tJ [J. lm-J J

Fig. 343 The m easu red attenuation spectrum for an ultra low loss stng ~e mode fibs r (sol fd Ii ne) with the ca lculated attenuation spectra for some of the loss mecha nism s contributing to the overall fiber atten uatlon (da shed and dotted lines) [Ref. 31.

hydroxyL At longer wavelengths the first overtone at 1 .. 38 11m and its sideband at 1424 urn are strong absorbers giving attenuation of about 2 dB krrr ' ppm and 4 dB krn' ppm respectively. Since most resonances are sharply peaked, narrow windows exist in the longer wavelength region around 1.3 and 1.55 urn which are essentially unaffected by OH absorption once the impurity level has been reduced below one part in 10'. This situation is illustrated in Fig. 3.3 which shows the attenuation spectrum of an ultra low loss single mode fiber [Ref. 3] 4 It may be observed that the lowest attenuation for this fiber occurs at a wavelength of 1.55 Jll11 and is 0.2 dB km'. This is approaching the minimum possible attenuation of around 0418 dB km' at this wavelength [Ref. 8].


Linear scattering mechanisms cause the transfer of some or all of the optical power contained within one propagating mode to be transferred linearly (proportionally to the mode power) into a different mode. This process tends to result in attenuation of the transmitted light as the transfer may be to a leaky or radiation mode which does not continue to propagate within the fiber core, but is radiated from the fiber. It must be noted that as with all linear processes there is no change of frequency on scattering.

Linear scattering may be categorized into two major types: Rayleigh and Mie scattering. Both result from the nonideal physical properties of the manufactured fiber which are difficult and in certain cases impossible to eradicate at present.



3.4.1 Rayleigh Scattering

Rayleigh scattering is the dominant intrinsic loss mechanism in the low absorption window between the ultraviolet and infrared absorption tails. It results from inhomogeneities of a random nature occurring on a small scale compared with the wavelength of the light. These inhomogeneities manifest themselves as refractive index fluctuations and arise from density and compositional variations which are frozen into the glass lattice on cooling. The compositional variations may be reduced by improved fabrication, but the index fluctuations caused by the freezing-in of density inhomogeneities are fundamental and cannot be avoided. The subsequent scattering due to the density fluctuations, which is in almost all directions, produces an attenuation proportional to l/A 4 following the Rayleigh scattering formula [Ref. 9 J. For a single component glass this is given by:


'YR -- J}.I d'p" ~J(TI


where VR is the Rayleigh scattering coefficient, A is the optical wavelength, n is the refractive index of the medium, p is the average photoelastic coefficient, Pc is the isothermal compressibility at a fictive temperature TF, and K is Boltzmann's constant. The fictive temperature is defined as the temperature at which the glass can reach a state of thermal equilibrium and is closely related to the anneal temperature. Furthermore, the Rayleigh scattering coefficient is related to the transmission loss factor (transmissivity) of the fiber following the relation I Ref. 10]:

where L is the length of the fiber. It is apparent from Eq. (3~4) that the fundamental component of Rayleigh scattering is strongly reduced by operating at the longest possible wavelength. This point is illustrated in example 3.2.

Example 3.2

Silica has an estirnatad fictive temperature of 14QOK with an isothermal compressibility of ·7 x 10-11 m2 N-1 I Ref. 111. The refractive index and the phctoelastic coeHi clant for silica are 1 .46 and 0_286 respective Iy [RpL 1 11. Dete rm i ne the theoretlca I atten u ation 1 n d acibets per ki lometer d UP. to th (~ fu nd a me nta I R avl H i qh scattering in silica at opticai waveleriqths of 0.63, 1_00 and 1.30 urn. Boltzmann's constant is 1 .381 x 10-23 J K-l.

Solution: The Rayleigh scatter: n~ coeffic ie nt m(:LY be ob t a i nad fro m Eq. (3.4) for each wave Ie ngth. However. the 0 nly variabl e in 8 ach c3."'C i So the wavelenqt h and therefore the constant of pronortionalitv of Eq. {3_4) applies in all C(lse~- Hcncn:

.8n3n8p2.~C KTF YR=----- 3A4

.. ,



248_ 1 5 x 2 0.65 x 0.082 x 7 x 1 0- 1 1 X 1.38 1 x 1 0 -23 X 1 40 a 3 x A_4

1,895 x 10-28


At a wavelength of 0.63 urn:

1_895 x 10-28

YR·· . =- 1. 1 99 x 1 0-3 m-1

O. 1 58 x 1 0 -24

The trarisrnisslon loss factor for one kilometer of fiber may he obtained uslnc Eq (3.5) .

Lkrl"l .:. exp (-YR L) = exp (_. 1.199 x 10-3 X lO.3} = 0-301

The attenuation due to Rayre~gh scattering in dB kln-1 may be obtained from Eq. (3.1) where:

Attenuation = 10 log10 (1/ Ckm} = 10 10910 3,322 .. 5.2 dB km-1

At a wavelength of 1.00 jim:

1.895 x 10-28

"fR - • -:- 1. 89 5 x 1 0-4 m-1

1 0-.24

Using Eq. (3.5):

.(.km = exp (-1.895 x 10--4 X 103) = axp (-O.1895} 0.827

and Eq. (3 _ 1 ):

Attenuation = 10 IOQ10 1-209 = 0.8 dB km·-1 At a wavelen gth of 1 .30 urn:

1 ,89 5 x 1 0 --.28

YR = .~. = 0.664 x 10--4

2.856 x 10-24

Using Eq- (3 ,S}:

krn = axp {-O.664 x 10-4 X 10J) =- 0,936

a nd EQ - (3, 1 ) :

Attenuation == 10 10910 1-069 ~ 0,3 dB krn "

The theoretical attenuation due to Rayleigh scattering in silica at wavelengths of O~63; 1.00 and 1.30 um, from example 3~2, is 5t2, 0.8 and 013 ~B k rrr ~ respectively t These t heo retica! res ults are in reasonable a8reem~nl



with experimental work. For" instance the lowest reported value for Rayleigh scattering in si I ica at a wavelength of 0.6328 urn is 3.9 dB k m J I Ref. 11 j r However, values of 4~8 dB k m ( t Ref. 12] and 5~4 dB krrr ' [Ref. 131 have also been reported. The predicted attenuation due to Rayleigh scattering against wavelength is indicated by a broken line on the attenuation characteristics shown in Figs. 3.1 and 3.3.

3.4.2 Mia Scattering

Linear scattering may also occur at inhomogeneities which arc com parable in size to the guided wavelength. These result from the nonpcrfect cylindrical structure of the waveguide and may be cau sed by fiber imperfection s such as irregularities in the core-cladding interface, core-cladding refractive index differences along the fiber length, diameter fluctuations, strains and bubbles .. When the scattering in homogeneity size is greater than AI 1 0, the scattered intensity which has an angular dependence can be very large.

The scattering created by such inhomogeneities is mainly in the forward direction and is called Mie scattering. Depending upon the fiber material, design and manufacture Mie scattering can cause significant losses. The inhomogeneities may be reduced by:

(a) removing imperfections due to the glass manufacturing process; (b) carefully controlled extrusion and coating of the fiber;

(c) increasing the fiber guidance by increasing the re1ati ve refractive index d itT ere n ce.

By these means it is possible to reduce Mie scattering to insignificant 1evels.


Optical w a vegu ides do not always behave as completely linear channels whose increase in output optical power is directly proportional to the input optical power. Severa] nonlinear effects occur ~ which in the case of scattering cause disproportionate attenuation, usually at high optical power levels. This nonlinear scattering causes the optical power from one mode to be transferred in either the forward or back ward direction to the same, or other modes, at a different frequency .. It depends critically upon the optical power density within the fiber and hence only becomes significant above thresho1d power levels,

The most important types of nonlinear scattering within optical fibers are stimulated Brillouin and Raman scattering, both of which are usually only observed at high optical power densities in long single mode fibers. These scattering mechanisms in fact give optical gain but with a shift in frequency thus contributing to attenuation for light transmission at a specific wavelength ..




However, it may be noted that such nonlinear phenomena can also be used to give optical amplification in the context of integrated optical techniques (see Scctio n l l. 8.4 )~

3.5,. 1 Stimulated Brillouin Scattering

Brillouin scattering may be regarded as the modulation of light through thermal molecular vibrations within the libcr. The scattered light appears as upper and lower sidebands which arc separated from the incident light by the modulation frequency. The incident photon in this scattering process produces a phonon" of acoustic frequency as well as a scattered photon. This produces an opti cal frcq uency shi ft which varies with the sea ttcri ng angle because the f req ucn c y of t he sound wave varies with acoustic w a vclcngth, The frcq ucncy shirt is a maxim urn in the back ward direction reducing to zero in the forward direction making Brillou in scattering a mainly back w ard proces s.

As indicated previously ~ Brillouin scattering is only significant above a threshold power density. Assuming the polarization state of the transmitted light is not maintained (see Section 3~ 12), it may he shown I Ref. ] 6] that the threshold power PB is given by:


where d and A are the fiber core diameter and the operating wavelength respectively, both measured in micrometers, ~lB is the fiber attenuation in decibels per kilometer and v is the source band wid th (1 .c. injection laser) in gigahertz. The expression given in Eq, (3.6) allows the determination of the threshold optical power which must be launched into a monornodc optical fiber before Brillouin scattering occurs (sec example 3.3)+

3.5.2 Stimulated Raman Scattering

Stimulated Raman scattering is similar to stimulated Brillouin scattering except that a high frequency optical phonon rather than an acoustic phonon is generated in the scattering process. Also, Raman scattering occurs in the forward direction and may have an optical power threshold of up to three orders of magnitude higher than the Brillouin threshold in a particular fiber.

U sing the same criteria as those specified for the Brillouin scattering threshold given in Eq. (3 .6)~ it may be shown [ReL l6] that the threshold optical power for stimulated Raman scattering PR in a long single mode fiber is given by:

* The phonon is a quantum of an elastic wave In a crystal lattice When the elastic wave has a freq uencyj, the q uantized unit of the phonon has energy IV joules, where h is Planck ~~ constant.



P R 7.:-: 5.9 x 10-2 d2 A~iB 'W' atts where do, A and «dB arc as specified for Eq .. (3.6),


Example 3.3

A long sinqls mode optical fiber has an attenuation of 0-5 rib krn' when operatinn (It a wavelength of 1,3 IJ.m. The fiber core diameter is 6 urn ancl the laser 50uru~ bandwidth is 600 MHz, Compare the threshold optical powers for st imula tcrl Bri llouin and Ra rna n scatteri ng wit hin the fi ber at the wavel tHl~J 1 11 spc ci fiod.

S olution: The threshold optica I powe r lor sti mu lated 8 rillou i n sea tteri n ~J is givell by Eq, (3.6) as:

PB· 4,4 x 1 0-3d2A_ 2a('~ B v

= 4.4 x 1 O-J X 62 X 1 ,32 X 0.5 x 0_6

80,3 mW

The threshold optical power for stimulated Rarnan scatterinq mHy be obtained fro rn E q. (3,7 L w here:

PR _. 5.9 x 1 O-~d~Aa("IB

= 5 ,9 x 1 0-.2 X 62 X 1.3 x 0,5

= 1.38 W

In exam ple 3 .. 3, the Bri110 uin thresho1d occu rs at an optical power level of around 80 mW whilst the Raman threshold i~ approximately 17 times larger. It is therefore apparent that the losses. introduced by nonlinear scattering may be a voided by usc of a sui table optical signal level (i.e. work i ng below the threshold optical powers), However, it mu st be noted that the B rillou in threshold has been reported ~ Ref. 1 71 as occurring at optical powers as ]0\\; as 10 m W in single mode fibers. Nevertheless, this is still a high power level for

optical communications and may be easily avoided. Brillouin and Raman scattering are not usually observed in multirnode fibers because their relatively large core diameters make the threshold optical power levels. extremely high, Moreover it should be noted that the threshold optical powers for both these scattering mechanisms may be increased by suitable adjustment of the other parameters in Eqs, (3.6) and (3.7). In this context, operation at the longest possible wavelength is advantageous although this may be offset by the reduced fiber attcn uation (from R ayleigh seat tering and material a bsorpt ion) normally obtained.


Optical fibers suffer radiation losses at bends or curves on their paths. This is due to the eneriY in the evanescent tield at the bend exceeding the velocity of




, ,

( ore



Fig. 3.4 An illustration of the radiation loss at a f ber bend. The part of the mode in the cladd i ng outsi de the dash ed arrowed 11 ne may be raq u ired to trave I faster th a n the velocity of Ii g ht in order to ma ~ntal n a pi a ne wavefront. Since it ca nnot do this. the en.ergy contained in this part of the mode is radiated away,

light in the cladding and hence the guidance mechanism is inhibited, which ca uses light energy to be fad iated from the fiber. An ill u str a tion of thi s situ aHan is shown in Fig .. 3 .. 4 .. The part of the mode which is on the outside of the bend is required to tr avel faster than th at on the in side so th at a \v a vef ron t perpendicu lar to the di rcction of propagation is mai nta i ned. Hence part of the mode in the cladding needs to travel faster than the velocity of light in that medium. As this is not possible, the energy associated with this part of the mod e is lost th rough radiation. The loss can generally be rcprescn ted by a radiation atten u ation coefficient \v hich h as the form [Re[ ] 9l :

a;" "_" c, exp (-c2 R)

where R is the r adi us of cu rv at ure of the fiber bend and c I ~ C2 arc constan ts which are independent of R. Furthermore, large bending losses tend to occur at a critical radius of curvature R( which may be estimated "from I Ref. 201:



I J'




It may be observed from the expression given in Eq. (3.8) that possible bending losses may be reduced by:

(a) designing fibers with large relative refractive index differences ~ (b) opcr atin g at the shortest wavelengt h possible.

Both these factors therefore have the effect of red ucing the critical bending r adi us as ill ustr ated in the following exam ple,

II :! I



Example 3 .. 4

Two step index flbe rs have the foHowing G h a racteri sties:

{a} A CD re relrac live index of 1.500 with a rela tive retre ctive in dex diff e renee of 0_2 % and an operati ng wavelength of 1 - 5 5 IJ.m-

(b) A co re refra ctive index ths sa me as (a) bu tare lative refractive i nd ex cI iffe renee of 3% and an operating wavelength of 0.82 urn.

Esti mate th e crit ica I rad i u s of CU rva tu rc at whic h ta r~3e bending losss s occur in both cases.

S olution: (a) The re lative refractive index d itfere 11 ce 6. is. q iver1 by Eq. ~2. 9) as ~


ni = n~ - 2~n~ = 2.250 0.004 x 2.250 - .. 2.241

US! ng Eq. (3.8) for the critica I rl:nl.us of curva l u rc:

3 n F~~ 3 x 2.250 xl. 55 x 1 0-6

Re :::::: -- .. - ---------. ----- .. _.-

41t(n~ - n~)3"2 4n:(O.009}3/2

..... 975 jim

(h~ Again, ftom Eq, (2.9}:

n~ = n~ - 2dn~ = 2_250 0.06 x 2.250 = 2.11 5

Substituting into Eq. (3.8):

3 x 2_250 x 0_82 x 10-6 Re :"'-' ---- .... ------.-- 41t X (0. 1 35)3':.2

~ 9 J-Lm

Example 3~4 shows that the critical radius of curvature for guided modes can be made extremely small (e.g. 9 urn), although this may be in conflict with the preferred design and operational characteristics, Nevertheless for most practical purposes, the critical radi u s of c urv at ure is su fficientl y srn all (even when considering case (a) which characterizes a long wavelength single mode fiber, it is approximately 1 mm) to avoid severe attenuation of the guided models) at fiber bends. However, modes propagating close to cutoff, which arc no longer fully guided within the fiber core, may radiate at substantially larger radii, of curvature, Thus it is essential that sharp bends, with a radius of


curvature approachi ng the critical radi US~ are a voided w hen optical fiber ca bles are installed, Finally, it is important that microscopic bends with radii of curvature approximating to the fiber radius are not produced in the fiber cabling process. These so-called microbends, which can cause significant Josses from cabled fiber, arc discussed further in Section 4+6.2 ..


Dispersion of the transmitted optical signal causes distortion for both digital and analog transmission along optical fibers. When considering the major implementation of optical fiber transmission which involves some form of digital modulation, then dispersion mechanisms within the fiber cause broadening of the transmitted light pulses as they travel along the channel. The phenomenon is ill ustr a ted in Fig. 3.5 w here it rna y be a bserved that each pu I sc broadens and overlaps with its neighbors .. eventually becoming indistinguishable at the receiver input The effect is known as intersyrnbol interference (ISl). Thus an increasing number of errors may be encountered on the digital optical channel as the] SI becomes more pronounced. The error rate is also a function of the signal attenuation on the link and the subsequent signa! to noise ratio (SNR) at the receiver. This factor is not pursued further here but is considered in detail in Section ] O~6. 3. However, signal dispersion alone limits the maximum possible bandwidth attainable with a particular optical fiber to the point where individual symbols can no longer be distinguished.

For no overlapping of light pulses down on an optical fiber link the digital bit rate B T must be less th an the reciprocal of the broadened (th rough di sper sian) pulse duration (Zr), Hence:


! I

I ~.



. '.

This assumes that the pulse broadening due to dispersion on the channel is "t which dictates the input pulse duration which is also r. Hence Eq. (3.9) gives a conservative estimate of the maximum bit rate that may be obtained on an optical fiber link as ] /2 t .


Another more accurate estimate of the maximum bit rate for an optical

channel with dispersion may be obtained by considering the light pu I ses at the output to h ave a Gaussi an sh ape with an rms width of G.. Un I ike the relation shi p given in Eq, (3.9), this analy sis allows for the existence of a certain amount of signal overlap on the channel, whilst avoiding any SNR penalty which occurs when intersyrnbol interference becomes pronounced. The maximum bit rate is given approximately by (see Appendix D)~


BT(max)~ bit s "







i ':~ ) Ampl.nni«

I} is t i ~1 g'_! K) L~ bl; ~, u lscs U


Co L1l P OSI t I,,: ~, a t tern

~o z cro j,'\'1,!1



/ /

In t crs Y [:1 b I) 1 i I ~ [L! r t l! ru; H'::I.! f l S l )

Fig. 3.5 All ill ustration us in 9 the digital bit patts rn 1011 of the broaden i ng of light pulses as they are t ra nsm itted along a fiber: (a) fiber input: (b) fi ber outp ut at a distance L 1; {c) fiber output at a d ista nee L'l > L"

It must be noted that certain sou rces l Refs. 25 ~ 261 give the constant term in the numerator of Eq + (3" I 0) as 0.25. However, we take the slightly more con, serv ati ve estimate given, following DIsh an sky ~ Ref. 9] and Gam bling et al. l Ref. 27 j. Equation (3. 10) give s a reason ably good approx i m arion for other pulse shapes which may occur on the channel resulting from the various dispersive mechanisms within the fiber. Also 0' may be assumed to represent the rms impulse response for the channe1 as discussed further in Section 3.9. L

The con version of bit rate to bandwi dth in hertz depend s on the digital coding format used, For metallic conductors when a non return to zero code is employed, the binary one level is he1d for the whole bit period 1:. In this case there are two bit periods in one wa velength (i .e. two' bits per second per hertz), as illustrated in Fig. 3.6(a). Hence the maximum bandwidth B is one half the maximum data rate or

(3.11 )







;' /

/p -.. .- .....
..... .... .....
J '" ,/ .....
/ ..... .....
~ '\, " \; V
...... ,;' r- /
..... / ..... ,/
.... "" .......... /
..... .....
... .... 1-




rh l pa t tc 111


.I'" .... / .... ./ .... / .....
I .... I '\ I .... / '\
/ \ J ... I \ J , (
~ \ I \ 1'1
I I \ I
\ r \ I .... J \ I
......... ,;' ' ... .;- ..... ~ ..... / / I


Fig. 3.6 SCh8 rna ti c illustration of the re 1 atloriships of th e bit rate to wavel ength for digita 1 codes: {a) non retu rn to zero (N RZ); (b) retu rn to zero (RZ},

However. when a return to zero code is considered as shown in Fig. 3~6(b), the binary one level is held for only part (usually half) the bit period. For this signalling SChC1TIC the data rate is equal to the bandwidth in hertz (i.e. one bit per second per hertz) and thus B]" == B+

The band wid th B for m etall ic cond uctors is al so us u ally d efi ned by the electrical 3 dB points (i,c, the frequencies at which the electrical power has dropped to one half of its constant maximum value). However, when the 3 dB optical bandwidth of a fiber is considered it is significantly larger than the corresponding 3 dB electrical bandwidth for the reasons discussed in Section 7.4.3. H ence~ \\1 hen t he limitation s in the handwid th of a tiber due to dispersion are stated (i~e. optical bandwidth BlJpL), it is usually with regard to a return to zero code where the bandwidth in hertz is considered eq ual to the digita1 bit rate. Within the context of dispersion the bandwidths expressed in this chapter will follow th i s general criterion un less otherwise stated. H owever ~ a s is made c]ear in Section 7 ~4+ 3 ~ \\1 hen electro-o ptical devices and 0 ptical fiber sy st em s arc considered it is more usual to state the electrical 3 dB bandwidth, this being the more useful measurement when interfacing an optic a] fiber link to electrical terminal equipment, Unfortunately the terms of bandwidth measurement are not always made clear and the reader must be warned that this omission may 1ead La some confusion when specifying components and materials for optica1 fiber communication svsterns .


Figure 3~ 7 shows the three common optical fiber structures, multimode

step index, multirn ode graded index and single mode step index, whilst diagrammatically illustrating the respective pulse broadening associated with each tiber type. It may be observed that the multimode step index fiber exhibits


the greatest dispersion of a transmitted light pulse and that the mu1timode

graded index fiber gives a considerably improved performance. Finally. the single mode flber gives the' ... minimum pulse broadening and thus is capable of

. . ,

_. ": ::·:·.:~t::..r:::··

. . h''''''''' :'0.1. .... _ .• : .. ::.:&i.....'oi:&~



the greatest transmission bandwidths which arc currently in the gigahertz range, whereas transmission via multimodc step index fiber is usually limited to band width s of a few tens of megahertz. However, the amount of pulse broadening is dependent upon the distance the pulse travels within the fiber and hence for a given optical fiber link the restriction on usable bandwidth is dictated by the distance between regenerative repeaters (i.e. the distance the light pulse travels before it is reconstituted) .. Thus the measurement of the dispersive properties of a particular fiber is usually stated as the pulse broadening in time over a unit length of the fiber (i.e, ns krn"").

Hence, the number of optical signal pulses which may be transmitted in a given period, and therefore the information-carrying capacity of the fiber is restricted by the am ount of pulse dispersion per unit length. In the absence of mode coupling or filtering, the pulse broadening increases linearly with fiber length and thus the bandwidth is inversely proportional to distance. This leads to t he adoption of a more useful parameter for the ill formation-carrying




Core .

M ut timode gr adcd index n be r r




,...- ....., Am~

Ou tpu t pulse



PtI.I.7 Schematic diagram showing a multimode step index fiber, multimode graded Index fiber artd single mode step index fl bar r and Illustrating the pulse broadenlng dUI to lrit.,modll d~8perllon In each fiber type,




capacity of an optical fiber which is known as the bandwidth-length product (i.e. B0pt x L). The typical best bandwidth-length products for the three fibers shown in Fig. 3.7, are 20 MHz krn, I Ghz km and 100 G Hz km for multirnodc step index, m ultimode graded index and single mode step index fibers respectively ..

Example 3.5

A rnultimods graded index fiber axhlblts total pulse broadening of 0_1 ,",S over a distance of 1 5 krn: Esti mate:

{a} the maximum possible bandwidth on the link assurninq no lntersvmbot i nterference ~

(b) the pulse dispersion per unit length:

(c) the bandwidth-length product for the fiber.

Solution: (a) The rna xim LL m possible opti ca I bandwidth vv h i ch is equ iva lent to ttl e maximum possible bit rate (for return to zero pulses) assuming no lSI mav he obtained from Eq, (3,9}' where:

I i

1 1

B[)rt=BT=-=_~·L ... _ .. 5MHz 21 0,2 x 10-8

(b) Th e dispersion per u nit length rn ay be a cqu ired 5i rnply by d i v ldin \-l th e toted dispersion by the total I ength of the fiber.

0,1 x 10-6

disper-sion -- = 6.67 ns km "


(c) The bandwidth--Iength product may be obtained in two vvays_ Hrstlv by simplv rnultiplvinq th€:! maximum bandwidth for the ffber link by its length. Hence:

B 0 [} t L = 5 MHz x 1 5 km

75 MHz km

Alternative Iy it may bs obta i ned from the dispersion par un it length U 51 ng Eq. (3.9) where:


Bu~lL . = 75 MHl km

2 x 6,67 X 10.9

In order to appreciate the reasons for the different amounts of pulse broadening within the various types of optical fiber, it is necessary to consider


the di spersi ve mechani srns i nvol vcd, These include materi a! dispersion,

waveguide dispersion, in termod al dispersion and profile dispersion which are considered in the following sections.


Intrarnodal or chromatic dispersion may occur in all types of optical fiber and

. I



results from the finite spectral linewidth of the optical source. Since optical sources do not emit just a single frequency but a band of frequencies (in the case of the injection laser corresponding to only a fraction of a per cent of the center frequency, whereas for the LED it is likely to be a significant percentage), then there may be propagation delay differences between the differ en t spectral components of the transmitted signal. This causes broadening of each transmitted mode and hence intrarnodal dispersion. The delay differences may be caused by the dispersive properties of the waveguide material (material dispersion) and also guidance effects within the fiber structure (waveguide dispersion).

3.8.1 Material Dispersion

Pu I se broadcni ng due to material dispersion result s from the different group velocities of the various spectral components launched,into the fiber from the optica1 source. It occurs when the phase velocity of a plane wave propagating in the dielectric medium varies nonlinearly with wavelength, and a materia] is said to exhibit material dispersion when the second differential of the refractive index with respect to wavelength is not zero (i.c, d2 nldk2 *- 0). The pulse spread due to material dispersion may be obtained by considering the group delay 'tg in the optical fiber which is the reciprocal of the group velocity r~ defined by Eqs, (2.37) and (2.40). Hence the group delay is given by:


where nl is the refractive index of the core material, The pulse delay tm due to material dispersion in a fiber of length L is therefore:

(3.13 )

For a source with rrns spectral width 0;... and a mean wavelength A, the rms pulse broadening due to material dispersion am may be obtained from the expansion of Eq. (3~ 13) in a Taylor series about A where:

(3.14 )

As the first term in Eq. (3. ] 4) usually dominates, especially for sources operating over the 0.8-0.9 urn wavelength range, then:





Hence the pu lsc spread rna y be cv al ua ted by con side ri n g the dependence of Tm on A~ where from Eq. (3.13):



Therefore substituting the expression obtained in Eq. (3~] 6) into Eq. (3 .15)~ the rm S p u] se broadeni ng due to m ateri al di spersion is gi yen by:

(3. I 7)

The material dispersion for optical fibers is sometimes quoted as a value for I A 2 (d 2 n J / df,} ) I or sirn ply I d:: n I / d],} I.

II owevcr, it may be given in terms of a material dispersion parameter M which is defined as:

1 d 1m


L· dA.


and which is often expressed in units of PH nm " krrr".

Example 3.6

A qlass fiber exhibits material dispersion given by I A2(d2n~:/dA2) I of 0.02 5. Detcrn ... inc the material dispersion parameter a! a wavelength of 0.85 11m. a nd estimate the rms pulse broad eni n 9 per k i 10m etc r fa r a qood LED so U n;f:l with fl n rms spe ctra I width of 20 nm flt this wavelength.

S olutton: The m at~ rial d isperslon para meter may be 0 bta i n eel fro m Eq_ (3 _ 1 S·) :

A d 2 n 1 1 (f2: n ,

M- - =- ··_ll_-

C (J}~2 CA dJ\.2


S nm -1 km-'

2.998 )\ 105 x 850

98 -1-1

7":". .1 ps nm km

The rrns pulse broadening IS given by Eq. ~3.1 7) as:

2 0AL d n1

Om ~ - '"A. --

C' dA I



Therefore in terms of the material dispersion parameter M defined by Eq. (3.1 8}:

Hence, the rms pulse broadening per kilometer due to material dispersion: (1m t 1 krn) = 20 >< 1 x 98,1 X 10-12 = 1.96 ns km-1

Figure 3.8 shows the variation of the material dispersion parameter M with wavelength for pure silica I Ref. 281. It may be observed that the material dispersion tend s to zero in the longer wa vclength region around 1.3 urn (for pure silica). This provides an additional incentive (other than 10\\1 attenuation) for operation at longer wavelength s where the material di spersion may be minimized .. Also the use of an injection laser with a narrow spectral width rather th an an LED as the optica 1 source leads to a substantial reduction in the pul se broaden i ng due to material dispersion, even in the shorter wa velcn gth




~13 tvr j:.ll

d iSVo..TSi I) II puru.n I,: 1 (: r

{;l~ I~HlI-1 f.l"rl-=)

Rl'gi(}ll of Ilt,:_f 1 ~gi I) 1 t:: [[1 a u, I' i 81

il i s p~ rs i 0 n

Flg.3.8 The material dispersion parameter for silica as a function of wavelength.

Reproduced with permission from D. N. Payne and W. A, Gambling, Electron. Lett., 11, p. 176, 1975.

Ex. mpl. 3.7

Estim ate the rms pu lse broadening per kitorneter for t hH fi bor in exa mp I e 3 _6 VVhfHl the optics I SOu rce used is ani njection lass r vvith a relative spectra ~ wid t h (j')I,/A. of

0.0012 at a waveienqth of 0.85 urn. -

Solution: The rrns spectral width may be obtained from the relative spectral width by:

O'~ = 0.00 121 ~ 0,00 12 x 0,85 x 10--6 ;::::. 1.02 nm

'T~. rml pu~.e broadening In terms of the material dispersion parameter following ,x.mple 3~e I. glw • .n· by:'


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