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Waveguiding in Optical Fibers • • • • Meridional / skew rays and their vectorial characteristics Concept of linearly polarized modes Cutoff

condition / wavelength Selected key concepts on singlemode fibers

Reading: Senior 2.4, 2.5 Keiser 2.3 – 2.6
Part of the lecture materials were adopted from powerpoint slides of Gerd Keiser’s book 2010, Copyright © The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Meridional and skew rays
• A meridional ray is one that has no φ component – it passes through the z axis, and is thus in direct analogy to a slab guide ray. • Ray propagation in a fiber is complicated by the possibility of a path component in the φ direction, from which arises a skew ray. • Such a ray exhibits a spiral-like path down the core, never crossing the z axis.


Ez = 0) and TM (Hz = 0) modes are also obtained within the circular optical fiber. x core cladding 4 core cladding fiber axis z . => two integers.e. These modes correspond to meridional rays (pass through the fiber axis). We refer to these modes as TElm and TMlm modes. are necessary in order to specify the modes i. • As the circular optical fiber is bounded in two dimensions in the transverse plane.e. l and m.Vectorial characteristics of modes in optical fibers • TE (i.

5 . These modes result from skew ray propagation (helical path without passing through the fiber axis). TM (meridional rays). core cladding • The full set of circular optical fiber modes therefore comprises: TE. HE and EH (skew rays) modes.• Hybrid modes are modes in which both Ez and Hz are nonzero. The modes are denoted as HElm and EHlm depending on whether the components of H or E make the larger contribution to the transverse field.

Hybrid HE lm modes :TE component is larger than TM component. φ r x Linearly Polarized (LP) modes in weakly-guided fibers ( n1 − n2 << 1 ) z LP0 m (HE1m ). LP1m (TE 0 m + TM 0 m + HE 0 m ) (both Ez and Hz are nearly zero) Fundamental Mode: LP01 ( HE 11 ) .Mode designation in circular cylindrical waveguide (Optical Fiber) TE lm modes : The electric field vector lies in transverse plane. y l= # of variation cycles or zeros in φ direction. TM lm modes : The magnetic field vector lies in transverse plane. Hybrid EH lm modes : TM component is larger than TE component. m= # of variation cycles or zeros in r direction.

designated as LPlm. • The mode subscripts l and m describe the electric field intensity profile.• These linearly polarized (LP) modes. are good approximations formed by exact modes TE. There are 2l field maxima around the the fiber core circumference and m field maxima along the fiber core radial direction. HE and EH. core fundamental mode (LP01) Electric field intensity LP11 LP21 LP02 7 . TM.

Intensity plots for the first six LP modes LP01 LP02 LP11 LP31 LP21 LP12 8 .

2000 . 3rd ed.Two degenerate fundamental mode (LP01) in Fibers (Horizontal & Vertical HE11 Modes) Optical Fiber communications.G..Keiser.McGrawHill.

λ is the optical free space wavelength. n1 & n2 are the refractive indices of the core & cladding. • In order to find a mode propagation constant and cut-off frequencies of various modes of the optical fiber. λ n1 − n2 = 2 2 2πa λ NA . defined by: V= 2πa a: radius of the core. V. first we have to calculate the normalized frequency. ) is the most important transmission characteristic of an optical fiber.Mode propagation constant as a function of frequency • Mode propagation constant. β lm (ω.

Plots of the propagation constant as a function of normalized frequency for a few of the lowest-order modes .

the operating wavelength must be longer than the cutoff wavelength for the LP11 mode. This is an important specification for a single-mode fiber. The range of wavelengths for singlemode operation is 12 λ > λc. It is the value of λ that corresponds to Vc for the mode concerns. • For a fiber to operate single mode.405. the two parameters are related λc(lm) = (2πa/(Vc(lm)) (n12 – n22)1/2 The range of wavelengths over which mode lm will propagate is thus 0 < λ < λc(lm). For each LP mode. and is usually given the designation λc.Cutoff wavelength • The cutoff wavelength for any mode is defined as the maximum wavelength at which that mode propagates. We find λc by setting Vc = 2. no cutoff for the fundamental mode .

Singlemode condition For single-mode operation.25 %. Hence.405 • no cutoff for the fundamental e. 13 .5 μm. λc = (2πan1/2. => single-mode propagation of the LP01 mode in step-index fibers: V < 2.46 and the core radius is 4.g. Determine the cutoff wavelength for a step-index fiber to exhibit single-mode operation when the core refractive index is 1. The cutoff normalized frequency (Vc) for the next higher order (LP11) mode in step-index fibers occurs at Vc = 2. with the relative index difference of 0.405) (2Δ)1/2 = 1214 nm.405. the fiber is single-mode for λ > 1214 nm. only the fundamental LP01 mode exists.

Single‐Mode Fibers Single‐mode fiber features: • The dimension of the core diameter is a few  wavelengths (usually 8–12)  • The index difference between the core and  the cladding is small (0.405 14 .2 to 1.0 %) • The core diameter is just below the cutoff of  the first higher‐order mode: V < 2.

The resultant intensity profile turns out to closely fits a Gaussian function having a width w0.Gaussian approximation for the LP01 mode field • The LP01 mode intensity varies with radius as J02(ur/a) inside the core and as K02(wr/a) in the cladding. E(r) = E(0) exp (-r2 / w02) => I(r) = I(0) exp(-2r2/w02) 15 . • This is defined as the radial distance from the core center to the 1/e2 point of the Gaussian intensity profile. • A similar Gaussian approximation can be applied to the fundamental symmetric slab waveguide mode. known as the mode-field radius.

2 μm MFD > core diameter MFD 16 . (w0 is also called the spot size.Mode-field diameter (MFD) = 2w0 (rather than the core diameter) characterizes the functional properties of single-mode fibers.) ncore nclad core dia.2 μm at 1310 nm 10. “Corning SMF-28” single-mode fiber has MFD: 9.4 μm at 1550 nm core diameter: 8.

Modal Field Patterns Electric field distributions of lower-order guided modes in a planar dielectric slab waveguide (or cross-sectional view of an optical fiber along its axis) Evanescent tails extend into the cladding Zeroth order mode First order mode Second order mode 17 Zeroth-order mode = Fundamental mode A single-mode fiber carries only the fundamental mode .

Why characterize the MFD for single-mode fibers? 18 . wavelength 11 μm λc ~ 1270 nm λ = 1550 nm λ = 1320 nm 1550 nm core • Mode-field intensity distribution can be measured directly by near-field imaging the fiber output.Mode-field diameter vs.

  cutoff wavelength. bending loss. and waveguide dispersion • To find MFD: (a) measure the far‐field intensity distribution  E2(r) (b) calculate the MFD using the Petermann II equation 19 .Mode Field Diameter • The mode‐field diameter (MFD) can be determined from the  mode‐field distribution of the fundamental fiber mode and  is a function of the optical source wavelength • The MFD is used to predict fiber splice loss.

e.Mismatches in mode-field diameter can increase fiber splice loss.g. Splicing loss due to MFD mismatch between two different SMF’s ~ dB loss per splice 10 μm SMF1 8 μm splicing SMF2 20 (A related question: why do manufacturers standardize the cladding diameter?) .

• In actual fibers there are imperfections. and variations in refractive-index profiles.Fiber birefringence • In ideal fibers with perfect rotational symmetry. noncircular cores. These imperfections break the circular symmetry of the ideal fiber and lift the degeneracy of the two modes. and any polarization state injected into the fiber will propagate unchanged. This difference is referred to as birefringence B = |ny – nx| 22 . • Because of asymmetries the refractive indices for the two degenerate modes (vertical & horizontal polarizations) are different. the two modes are degenerate with equal propagation constants (βx = βy). such as asymmetrical lateral stresses.

cladding diameter: 125.)] 23 ./max clad dia. cladding non-circularity: < 1% [1.0 ± 0.(min cladding dia. Corning SMF-28 single-mode fiber glass geometry 1. core-cladding concentricity: < 0.Real optical fiber geometry is by no means perfect.5 μm 3.7 μm 2.

Fiber Beat Length • In general. the difference in the refractive indices would change the phase difference between these two components & thereby the state of the polarization of the mode. This length is simply given by: 2π Lp = kB f . the modal wave will produce its original state of polarization. As the modal wave travels along the fiber. However after certain length referred to as fiber beat length. a linearly polarized mode is a combination of both of the degenerate modes.

2π 3π/2 π π/2 fast axis slow axis th g n le t a Be Lbeat = λ / B ~ 1 m (B ~ 10-6) 24 . Input beam is linearly polarized between the slow and fast axes.• State-of-polarization in a constant birefringent fiber over one beat length.

supported by a multi-mode fiber is approximately (When V is large) given by: V2 M ≈ 2 • Power distribution in the core & the cladding: Another quantity of interest is the ratio of the mode power in the cladding. M.Multi-Mode Fiber • Total number of modes. P to the total clad optical power in the fiber. P. which at the wavelengths (or frequencies) far from the cut-off is given by: Pclad 4 ≈ P 3 M .

48.5 % is operating at a wavelength of 0. (b) the number of guided modes.The total number of guided modes M for a step-index fiber is approximately related to the V number (for V > 20) as follows. If the core refractive index is 1. (a) V = (2π/λ) a n1 (2Δ)1/2 = 75.8 (b) M ≈ V2 / 2 = 2873 (i. M ≈ V2 / 2 e. estimate (a) the normalized frequency for the fiber.g. nearly 3000 guided modes!) 11 .e.85 μm. A multimode step-index fiber with a core diameter of 80 μm and a relative index difference of 1.

  • The most commonly used construction for the refractive‐index  variation in the core is the power law relationship: A typical value of α is 2.Graded‐Index Fiber Structure • The core index decreases with increasing distance r from the  center of the fiber but is generally constant in the cladding.0 The local numerical aperture is defined as 25 .

.McGrawHill. 3rd ed.Keiser. 2000 .G.Different Structures of Optical Fiber Optical Fiber communications.