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Optical bers have a wide range of applications varying form high bandwidth
signal transmission to endoscope imaging. Usually circular in cross-section,
they consist of a core of refractive index nk surrounded by a cladding of slightly
lower refractive index nm . Optical bres are divided into two categories i.e.
single mode and multi mode, based on their core diameter. Single mode ber
is one with a core diameter less than about ten times the wavelength of the
propagating light and cannot be modeled using geometric optics. Instead, it
must be analyzed as an electromagnetic structure, by solution of Maxwell's
equations as reduced to the electromagnetic wave equation. Multi-mode ber
has large core diameter (greater than 10mm) may be analyzed by geometrical

Numerical Aperture
The numerical aperture determines the light transmitting capacity of an optical
bre. We know that the rays of light are guided along the ber core by total
internal reection. As shown in Fig. 1. if the light enters the core at an angle θe
, then it undergoes total internal reection at the core-cladding interface only
if the angle of refraction inside the core θ > 90o − θc . The critical angle θc can
be calculated from Snell's law as-
nk sinθe = nm sin(90)
∴ θe = sin−1 nnmk

The transmission process is better understood from the picture below.

Fig. 1. Total internal reection in an optical bre

If the incident angle θe is such that total internal reection occurs, then fom
the geometry we can say
n0 sinθe = nk sinθ ... (1)
where θc = 90 − θ, the incident angleθe is called as the limiting angle as
beyond this value the incident light passes into cladding (no TIR) and is lost

nk sin(90 − θ) = nm sin(90)
cosθ = nk

n2k −n2m
sinθ = nk ... (2)

So from equations (1) and (2) the limiting angle is θe = sin−1 n2k − n2m

The limitng angle represents half of the opening angle of the cone known as
the acceptance cone. All the beams within this cone of light will be guided along
the core due to TIR. The numerical aperture A of the optical bre is dened
asthe sine of the limiting angle.
A = sinθe = n2k − n2m

Transition time
The time spent by the light inside the bre is known as the transition time of
the bre. As the speed of light inside a medium is reduced, the transition time
in that medium is increased. If c is the speed of light in vaccum then c/nk is
the speed of light in the core of the bre. So the transition time of an optical
bre of length L is given as
τ =L
As the speed of light is very high, the trasition time measurement for short
bres becomes extremely dicult. Main problem is posed by the delay time
of the photodetector and the sampling rate of the oscilloscope. The transition
time for multimode bre using a modulated diode laser are shown in observation

Modal analysis of single-mode bres

The wave equations of electric eld Ē and magnetic eld H̄ in a refractive media
can be written from Maxwell's equations as -
n2 ∂ 2
∇2 − c2 ∂t2 Ē = 0
n2 ∂ 2
∇2 − c2 ∂t2 H̄ = 0

Now we introduce boundary conditions for the core cladding interface of

the optical bre and solve for the above equations. Note that the equations
with boundary conditons can be solved easily in cylindrical coordinates due to
geometry of the bre.
Let, Ē = Ēj (r, φ, z) where j = r.φ, z and

Ēj (r, φ, z, t) = Ēj eiωt + Ēj∗ eiωt e−iβz

By putting the above experssion in the wave equation we get

∇2 + k 2 n2 Ez = 0

where k = 2π/λ, and ω = c/k.

By writing Ez = Ez (r, φ)Ez (z) we get
Ez (z) ∇2r,φ + k 2 n2 − β 2 Ez (r.φ) = 0

We again use Ez (r, φ) = Ez (r)Ez (φ) and Ez (φ) = eip2πφ and solve the above
equation to get
r2 ∂r ∂ 2 2 2 2
2 + r ∂r + r (k n − β ) − p
Ez (r)=0

The above equation can be solved using Bessel function for integer p in the
core region (r < a) and for cladding region (r > a) we use modied Hankel func-
tions. We follow the same for magnetic waves and apply boundary conditions
at r = a.

Fig. 2. Solution for Bessel function for p = 0

For guided modes, the light should travel only in the core region. So the EM
waves should die o in the cladding region whereas they are sustained in core
and also the boundary conditions should be satised at the interface. Then, we
must have
kn2m < β < kn2k

We now dene the normalized wave guide parameter V such that

p p
V = a (kn2k − β 2 ) + (β 2 − kn2m ) = ka n2k − n2m
V = 2π 2
λ a nk − nm

This V-parameter is an important characteristic of the optical bre which

is also proportional to the frequency of propagating light. It is analogous to
the potential in a Schrodinger equation i.e. it tells us the number of modes or
solutions possible for a given frequencyof light and bre. In other words, for a
particular mode to propagate inside the ber, the V-number of the ber must be
greater than the V-number corresponding to the cut-o frequency of the mode.
For example, bers having V-number lower than 2.4048, allow only one mode
HE11 to propagate and no other mode can propagate in this ber. Therefore
such a ber is called a single mode ber. In order to accommodate the higher
order modes, the V-number of the ber should be greater.

Mode eld diameter

Mode eld diameter (MFD) in a single mode ber is the section where most of
the light energy travels. Generally it is larger than the core diameter as some of
the light also travels through the cladding. It species the fundamental mode's
width. It is useful in estimating joint losses, calculating coupling eciency,
cuto wavelength and even waveguide dispersion.
We can approximate the Bessel function's fundamental mode to Gaussian
t of the form
 2 2 2
  2 2

I = C.exp − 2πλ2rz2w = C.exp − 2πλ2w tan2 θ

where C is a constant and z is the far eld distance which is greater than 10
times of z0 = 4aλ and 2w = M F D.

So, MFD is the radial position where the internsity is falls to e12 (at θ = θw )
of its maximum. Putiing it in above equation we get

M F D = 2w = πtanθw

Fig. 3. Determination of MFD from Gaussian tting fundamental mode
The empirical expression relating numerical aperture A, wavelength λ, radius
of core a, MFD = 2w and the V-parameter is given by
1.619 2.879
where 0.8 ≤ V ≤ 2.405

w = a 0.65 + V 3/2
+ V6

Vλ 1.619 2.879

⇒w= 2πA 0.65 + V 3/2
+ V6

Photonic Crystal Fibres

Photonic-crystal ber (PCF) is a new class of optical ber based on the prop-
erties of photonic crystals. With connement characteristics not possible in
conventional optical ber, PCF is now nding applications in ber-optic com-
munications, ber lasers, nonlinear devices, high-power transmission, highly sen-
sitive gas sensors, and other areas. In this experiment, we proceed to study the
geometric and electromgnetic characteristics of single mode PCF as described
in the above section.

Fig. 4. Tranmitted light from a photonic crystal bre