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Investigation of Wave Propagation in Coupled Nonlinear Slab Waveguide Using Finite Element Method Kaisar R.

Khan1, Yupeng Chen1, Wendell Brokaw2 and Thomas X. Wu1 *


School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816 Email:

Harris Corporation, Melbourne, FL 32902 Introduction

Nonlinear wave propagation in optical and millimeter waveguides holds promise in the area of integrated signal processing. In recent years, with the development of technology, guided waves in nonlinear dielectric slab waveguides received considerable attention owing to their potential applications to optical communications and optical computing [1, 2]. Ref [2] discusses the coupled non Kerr like slab waveguide using transfer matrix method (TMM) and presents the dispersion profile for fictitious self focusing and defocusing nonlinear media. However, the coupling issues were not addressed. For the case of a non-Kerr-like nonlinear core with linear claddings a method based on the first integral of the nonlinear Helmholtz equation is used [3, 4]. But the method cannot provide accurate results. It is also customary to analytically handle the coupling issues of guided wave twin-core optical fiber by using coupled mode theory [5]. This analysis is based on the assumption that the two fibers are independent and symmetric. This is not true for the integrated structure such as the coupled planar waveguide. Coupling should be handled as overall structural basis, particularly if the media is nonlinear. In [6], the finite element method (FEM) is used to calculate the coupling coefficient for linear coupled fiber accurately by evaluating the odd and even modes for the whole structure. In this paper, we investigate novel coupling and dispersion characteristics of guided waves in the GaAsAlGaAs nonlinear waveguide with five layer slab structure using FEM. Two self focusing nonlinear GaAs film served as two coupled waveguides separated by AlGaAs film which worked as coupling media. We have shown numerically that the power can control the dispersion profile of this nonlinear waveguide structure as well as the coupling behavior. Numerical Method The schematic diagram of a five-layered slab waveguide with a Kerr like nonlinear guiding film bounded by linear media is shown in Fig. 1. Layer 1 is the linear substrate AlGaAs. Layers 2 and 4 is the identical self focusing Kerr like nonlinear GaAs waveguiding films [2]. For Kerr like nonlinear material, the electric field dependent refractive index is given as

1-4244-0878-4/07/$20.00 2007 IEEE


2 2 ~ (1) n ( , E ) = n( ) + n E 2 where n2 is the nonlinear index coefficient. For GaAs, n2 takes a value in the range of 1.5 - 1.625 x10-13 cm2/W. We also consider an AlGaAs film as Layer 3 which will be act as a linear coupling media and the same linear material (AlGaAs) is used for Layer 5 to act as a cladding.

Fig. 1 Coupled nonlinear waveguide structure Here we consider the TE wave excitation case. For TE waves, only the ycomponent of the electric field is nonzero. The electric field E y must satisfy the following wave equation

d 2Ey dx

~ + k 02 n 2 E y = k z2 E y


where k z is the propagation constant. Following the Galerkin method, the matrix form of the above equation can be written as [8]

[A]{Ey }= kz2 [D]{Ey }

Here for each element,


A = x
e ij

e x2 e 1

e dN ie ( x ) dN j ( x) [ + k02 r r ( x ) N ie ( x) N e ( x)]dx j dx dx


Dije = x N ie ( x) N e ( x) dx j
e 1

e x2

In our FEM analysis, we first assume the GaAs media is linear, and obtain the eigenvalue k z and eigenfuntion E y by solving the generalized eigenvalue problem of (3). After that, we adjust the refractive index using (1) and then solve (3) again. This process continues until it is converged. In our calculations, the field E y is also properly normalized for particular input power.


Results and Discussions

The coupling between two modes depends on the difference between the propagation constants of even and odd modes. If the propagation constant for even mode is k ze and for odd mode is k zo , then the coupling coefficient can be written as [4] = k ze k zo (9) Fig. 2 shows the wavelength dependent coupling coefficient of the coupled slab waveguide for different input power. In the calculations, we pick up both w and s as 1 m in Fig. 1. As expected, we observe a constant at longer wavelength but it varies noticeably at shorter wavelength. At shorter wavelength the material dispersion of GaAs plays a significant role for this noticeable change of propagation constant values. Increase of power causes this variation of slower. Other than that a constant upward shifting of the curve is noticed.
0.35 0.3



0.15 0.1 0.05 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3

Wavelength (um)
45W 35W 25W 10W

Fig. 2 Power dependent coupling coefficient When electromagnetic wave interacts with the bound electron of the dielectric materials the medium response is frequency dependent and manifest through the change of refractive index [5]. Group velocity dispersion can be expressed as


d1 2c = 2 2 d


where 1 and 2 are the first and second derivative of wave number with respect to [5]. Fig. 3 depicts the dispersion characteristic of the waveguide with the change of input power. Higher input power causes shift of zero dispersion wavelength to a shorter value and also group velocity dispersion remain in the anomalous dispersion region for longer than that of the lower power. Anomalous dispersion is required to support the soliton wave in the waveguide. From the


numerical result it is observed that around 1550 nm (telecommunication window) the required power to have anomalous dispersion is around 35W.
20 10 0 -10 D(ps/km-nm) -20 -30 -40 -50 -60 -70 -80 1 1.5 2 wavelength, um
45W 35W 25W 10W


Fig. 3 Power dependent dispersion


In this paper, guided waves in nonlinear slab waveguides have been accurately studied using finite element method. It is obvious from the results that the design of nonlinear waveguides strongly depends on the power. Power decides the ability of supporting soliton wave through this structure. Our numerical results show that it will support soliton wave at 35 W. The wave propagation properties illustrated here are potentially applicable to investigate signal processing and communication devices composed of nonlinear slab waveguide structures.

[1] K. Hayata, M. Nagai and M. Koshiba, Finite element formalism for nonlinear slab guided waves, IEEE Trans. on MTT, vol. 36, No 7, pp. 1207-1215, 1988. [2] J. G. Ma and Z. Chen, Numerically determining the dispersion relations of nonlinear TE slab-guided waves in non-Kerr-like media, IEEE Trans. on MTT, vol. 45, No 7 , pp. 1113-1117, July 1997. [3] U. Langbein, F. Lederer, and H. E. Ponath, Generalized dispersions for nonlinear slab-guided waves, Optics Communication, vol. 53, pp. 417420, 1985. [4] S. J. AL-Bader and H. A. Jamid, Nonlinear waves in saturable self-focusing thin films bounded by linear media, IEEE J. Quantum Electron., vol. 24, pp. 20522058, Oct. 1988. [5] G. P Agarwal, Nonlinear Fiber Optics, 3rd edition, Academic Press, 2001. [6] K. Saitoh, Y. Sato, and M. Koshiba, Coupling characteristics of dual-core photonic crystal fiber couplers, Opt. Express, vol. 11, pp. 3188-3195, 2003.