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IOSR Journal of Applied Physics (IOSR-JAP)

e-ISSN: 2278-4861.Volume 7, Issue 4 Ver. III (Jul. - Aug. 2015), PP 54-58

Applications of Asymmetric Planar Dielectric Waveguide in

Nweke F. U.
Industrial Physics Department, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Nigeria.

Abstract: Currently the high cost of energy based on consumption pattern has necessitated the need for diverse
and more efficient means of conveying information. One of the newest and most efficient means of information
transmission is the optical fiber system especially in telecommunication industries. Here, asymmetric waveguide
are highly utilized because it has proved better than planar dielectric waveguide. Waveguiding structures are
needed at optical frequencies because of intrinsic atmospheric absorption and the effect of atmospheric
disturbances on the propagation of visible and near infrared radiation. This paper x-rays the importance and
the advantages of asymmetric planar dielectric waveguide as well as the features that make it possible for its
use in such case. It also digs deep into the effect of cladding on optical fibers by using a theoretical approach to
identify clearly that asymmetric planar dielectric waveguides are almost lossless means of telecommunication.
Also a theoretical consideration was used to derive a condition for which mode field and cut off for both TE and
TM modes are possible for such guide.
Keywords: Waveguide, cladding, refractive index, optical frequencies, multimode, asymmetric.



The phenomenon of total internal reflection at the interface between two dielectric media has been
known for a long time. This was fully developed in the mid-sixties in the nineteenth century when the idea of a
communication system based on the propagation of light within circular dielectric waveguides was seriously
considered. Since then, tremendous development has been made hence the use of optical fibers in
telecommunication is seen today as one of the most efficient mean [1]. An optical fiber consists of a core region
surrounded by a cladding region. The transmission characteristics of the optical fiber depend on the size, shape
and refractive index profile of the core and cladding. A strongly asymmetric planar dielectric is one in which the
refractive indices in either layers of the wave guide are unequal. It is a waveguide in which the refractive index
of the dielectric layer above (superstrate) usually air, the refractive index of the middle layer (guiding layer or
core) and the refractive index of the layer below the core (substrate) are different from each other. The refractive
index of the superstrate is very much less compared to that of the substrate and the guiding layer [4]. Also the
refractive index of the guiding layer is highest among them. Mathematically, their relationship is n1>n2, n0<<n1
and n2, hence n0<<n2<n1 or n1>n2>>no, where no is the refractive index of the superstrate, n 1 is the refractive
index of the guiding layer and n2 is the refractive index of the substrate. A schematic of an asymmetric dielectric
planar waveguide is shown in fig 1.

Fig 1: schematic of an asymmetric dielectric planar waveguide.

Here no =1 which is glass/air in thus work, n1=1.50 for glass/air and n2=1.46 for glass/plastic, hence
the unequal refractive indices of an asymmetric planar waveguide [1, 3]. The waveguide is considered planar
since it is completely and absolutely flat and lies in one plane only. It is strongly asymmetric in view of the
unequal or different refractive indices as explained and shown in figure 1. It is dielectric due to the fact that (a)
it exhibits features of materials that are electric insulator such that electric field can be retained with a minimum
dispersion of power (b) shows non-linear properties such as anisotropy of conductivity, polarization effect or
saturation phenomena [3, 5].
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Applications of asymmetric planar dielectric waveguide in Telecommunications

The purpose of this paper is thus to investigate the importance and the advantages of asymmetric planar
dielectric waveguide as well as the features that it make it possible for use in telecommunication systems.


Theoretical Consideration And Results

It has been long established that light communication is better than other forms of communication
owing to its infinite bandwidth.
However, the intensity of light propagated along an optical fiber attenuates due to a variety of
mechanisms which can be intrinsic or extrinsic losses are almost due to absorption which is simple due to
interaction of the light with electronic states or molecular vibration modes of the core material itself or residual
impurities in the core. On the other hand, extrinsic losses do results from distortion of the fiber from the ideal
straight line configuration which for a given length can be expressed as
I = I0 exp L
Where I0 is the initial irradiance, I is the irradiance after a distance L and is the absorption coefficient (which
may be wavelength dependence) [6]. In all optical fibers, the electric fields are concentrated in the core region
and in the core/cladding interface. The following assumptions were made:
(i) The substrate is of infinite thickness
(ii )The internal ray angle in the guide is less than 45o
(iii) If 1 () and 2 () are the phase changes at the upper and lower interface respectively, it is further assumed
that for the ray to undergo total internal reflection at the upper and lower interfaces, internal guide must
always be greater than critical angles of the upper and lower interfaces denoted by c1 and c2 . Since the guide
is strongly asymmetrical, the critical angle at the upper interface will be much smaller than that at the lower and
since the rays guided, we assume that the internal angle will always be much larger than c2 , hence we
approximate 1 () to . Given that for a symmetric waveguide according [1,5], the internal ray angle must
satisfy the condition
4n1 dcos
1 2 = 2m . 1
If 1 () = as ealier indicated, then
4n1 dcos
= 2 + 2m + . 2
4n1 dcos
= 2 + (2m + 1) . 3
Observing closely the limits of a single mode behavior around the critical angle of the lower interfacec2 , when
a particular mode has a value m = c2 , the mode is said to be cut-off. In order to deduce the boundary
conditions between single mode and double mode behavior, we put m= 1 (where m=0, m=1 represents 2
modes), hence putting m=1 in equation 3, we get
4n 1 dcos c 2
2 + 3 . 4

Again considering the cut-off region, if m = c2 at cut-off, 2 () 0 which implies that for double mode
behavior (m=0, m=1), m = c2 hence
4n 1 dcos c 2
> 3 ,5

This means that for the system to still remain in single mode behavior
4n 1 dcos c 2
< 3 ,6

Again if we examine the boundary between single mode behavior and no mode behavior at all, replacing m with
0 in equation (3) for single mode and on the condition that m = c2 at cut-off () 02 , we obtain
4n 1 dcos c 2
= ,7

This shows that m = c2 (above cut-off), we have no mode propagating because of attenuation hence between
no mode and single mod, the condition is
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Applications of asymmetric planar dielectric waveguide in Telecommunications

4n 1 dcos c 2


4n 1 dcos c 2

= ,8b

Combining equations 8a and 6 respectively gives

4n 1 dcos c 2

3 ,9

From trigonometric identities,

cos2 + sin2 = 1 cos = 1 sin2
cos c2 = 1 sin2 c2
Since sin c2 = 2 for critical conditions,

1 n2

cos c2 =

n 21n 22


Substituting equation 10 in 9 gives

4n1 d n12 n22

n1 0
Which implies that

12 22

3 11

Dividing equation 11 through by 2 gives

12 22


. 12

Equation 12 gives the condition for mode propagation in the asymmetric planar dielectric waveguide. Also a
suitable thickness for the guide can be deduced from equation 12, hence in

12 22


, dividing through by 2

12 22 gives

4 .. 13


12 22

otherwise known as the numerical aperture.

Since n1=1.50, n2=1.46 with 0 = 1.3 = 1.3 106 .
= 0.3441
Substituting in equation 13 gives

0.72650 2.17960 . 14

0 0.72650 2.17960 0
= 9.44 107 2.83 106 m
A suitable thickness, d for the deposited layer must lie within these limits since equation 13 means that there is a
minimum thickness below which it is not possible for the guide to support a single mode [1,4].

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Applications of asymmetric planar dielectric waveguide in Telecommunications

This also means that the value of d will not be too close to the upper limit as there will be a possibility of
multimode, hence
0.944 + 2.83
106 = 1.887
This is the suitable thickness for the guide for maximum transmission of signal wit little or no attenuation for
such guide.
Multimode and single mode
Multimode fiber have core diameter such that the number of modes that can propagate is very large. A
single mode fiber has a core diameter that is sufficiently small to ensure that only one mode can propagate. The
number of mode that can propagate in multimode fiber is so large that they effectively form a continuum of ray
angle for single mode propagation of TE o (transverse electric) mode given that the guide is asymmetrical will be
determined by considering that the region between no mode propagation and single mode propagation is
4 1 2


For no mode propagation and

4 1 2
3 ,16

For single mode propagation which leads to

4 1 2

3 ,17

As the condition for single mode to propagate [3,5].

Intermodal dispersion
For a length, L of fiber the ray with the highest velocity component will take a time, to travel along the
fiber where

= 190 = 1
.. 18
Where C is the speed of light
Also the ray with the lowest velocity component will take a time
, =


.. 19a

Hence the highest order mode lags behind tye lowest order mode by an amount
, where

= = 1 1 2 .. 19b

Where the superscript st refers to step index fiber

However, for a planar dielectric waveguide number, N of transverse electric mode, TE, or transverse magnetic
mode, TM modes propagating in a waveguide is given by
N = 1 + lnT .. 20

Or N = 1 + lnT m , where m = , hence putting v < with N=1, onlyu one mode i.e. m=0 will propagate.

However, this does not hold true for asymmetric waveguide owing to the differing refractive indices in the
substrate and superstrate.
Electric field within the waveguide
A given mode can be considered to be made up of a collection of rays travelling along the guide with
the same internal angle, m . At any point in the guide, there will be two rays, one of which will be travelling in
an upward direction while the other will be travelling downwards. In general, there will be a phase difference
between the two and interference will take place. The interference will give rise to vibration in the electric field
amplitude across the waveguide. The variation of electric field will depend upon the mode [5].

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Applications of asymmetric planar dielectric waveguide in Telecommunications



The idea of total internal reflection at the interface between two dielectric media has been known for
quite some time before the idea of communication system based on the propagation of light within circular
dielectric waveguide became quite popular. Although it has long been realized that light with its carrier
frequency 0f about 1014 Hz, has the ability to be modulated at much higher frequency than either radio or
microwaves. This opens up the possibility of single communication channel with extremely high information
capacity or infinite bandwidth. However, despite that fiber optical communication over distances of
consideration distance is practical possibility when fairly low bandwidth are needed, system are easily set up
and considerably less when compared to optical fibers through low beam divergence of a well collimated optical
beam can have quite a reasonable security advantage over radio communications. With asymmetric planar
dielectric waveguide, relatively low attenuation (at high optimum waveguide), high bandwidth (up to several
gigahertzes), small physical size and weight, elimination of ground loop problems and immunity from electrical
interferences has been recorded.
Also fiber cables are not associated to spark hazard and also survive better than copper cables in certain
corrosive environments. Also optical fibers has found wide application in telephone trunk links i.e. links that are
capable of carrying a large number of simultaneous telephone conservations. Asymmetric planar electric
waveguide or say optical fiber in general is also widely used in undersea links, video transmission, computer
links, military sphere such as missive guidance as well as in optical local area network.



In view of the foregoing, it is highly recommended that in developing countries like Nigeria, the use of
optical fibers will go a long way towards reducing the problems associated to telecommunication since optical
fiber are almost lossless in transmission of signals.


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Gagliarch et al. (1976). Optical Communications, New York, Wiley Interscience Publishers.
Born M. and wolf E. (1980). Principle of optics, 6 th edition, Oxford Pergamon Press Plc.
Howes M. J. and Morgan D. V. (1980). Optical fiber Communication, New York, Wiley Interscience Publishers.
Hawkes J. and Wilson J. (2000). Optoelectronics, An Introduction, Prentice and Hall Publishers, Europe.
Mahlke G. and Gosling P. (1987). Fiber Optic Cable engineering Planning Chichester, Wiley Interscience Publishers.

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