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Christopher R. Doerr, Fellow, IEEE, and Herwig Kogelnik, Life Fellow, IEEE, Fellow, OSA

Invited Paper

AbstractWe attempt a brief and broad overview and historical perspective of the theory of lightwave propagation in dielectric

waveguides. This is a subject that is now documented by extensive literature. As our review task is limited by constraints in both

space and time it will be illustrative rather than comprehensive.

The illustrations are intended to highlight the principal concepts

and theoretical approaches and refer the reader to the literature

for detailed derivations and explanations. Our story celebrates a

theory with a proud history of nearly 100 years, vibrant and rich

in new ideas, and serving as the base for an increasing number of

powerful applications.

Index TermsDielectric materials, dielectic waveguides, optical

ber cables, optical ber communication, optical ber devices,

optical planar waveguides, optical propagation, waveguide bends,

waveguides, waveguide theory.

I. INTRODUCTION

HE TASK of this paper is to give a broad perspective with

historical emphasis on the theory of lightwave propagation in dielectric waveguides. A dielectric is a nonconductor

of electric current. This theory is based on Maxwells equations. In the spirit of this issue, we should recall that these equations were published 147 years ago [1]. Guides of electromagnetic waves were treated by Lord Rayleigh about 37 years later

[2]. For a nonmetallic circular cylindrical dielectric waveguide,

what we now call a ber, solutions for the modal wave propagation were rst obtained in 1910 by Hondros and Debye [3].

Early workers in the eld were mostly interested in longer wavelengths, such as the propagation of microwaves in dielectric

wires and dielectric rod antennas. Examples are the experiments

conducted in 1936 by the microwave waveguide pioneer Southworth [4] at Bell Labs in Holmdel, the predecessor of the current Crawford Hill Labs. By the early 1940s, the classical textbooks on electromagnetic wave propagation by Stratton [5] and

Schelkunoff [6] contained chapters discussing the detailed solutions for the propagating modes of circular dielectric guides

as well as metallic waveguides in terms of Bessel and Hankel

functions. Among the papers they cite is the 1938 publication

by Brillouin on the same subject [7]. It is interesting that the

modal solutions given by Stratton, as well as those by Hondros

[8] and Carson et al. [9], are of very general validity, allowing

the specication of dielectric constants and of nite conductivities (or laser gain) in both core and cladding. These solutions

contain as special cases both the lossless dielectric guides for

The authors are with Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent, Holmdel, NJ 07733 USA

(e-mail: crdoerr@alcatel-lucent.com).

Digital Object Identier 10.1109/JLT.2008.923632

[10].

zero conductivity, and the hollow metallic waveguides of microwave technology for a lossless core and a cladding of innite

conductivity.

The hollow metal waveguides received a great deal of early

attention for microwave applications such as RADAR and microwave radio transmission. Dielectric waveguides for optical

applications began to receive attention in the late 1950s. These

optical bers were mostly contemplated for imaging tasks and

ber optic face plates. In 1961 Snitzer and Osterberg observed

the mode patterns of bers in the visible [10] as shown in Fig. 1.

Note that they did not yet use a laser for this observation; they

employed a carbon arc and a monochromator.

The advent of the laser, together with the subsequent demonstration of low-loss bers, laid the groundwork for optical

ber communication, a revolution in the telecom industry. This

created an urgent need and interest in the thorough and detailed

understanding of lightwave propagation in the circular guides

of transmission bers and the planar lm and rectangular

guides of semiconductor lasers, optical integrated circuitry, and

guided-wave optoelectronics. The valuable new understanding

of the theory of dielectric waveguides is now covered in the

several thousand pages of about 20 textbooks and book chapters

1177

thickness h.

Fig. 2. Geometry and coordinates of a cylindrical dielectric waveguide. The

dielectric constant " is a function of the cross-sectional coordinates x and y

only.

are the symmetrical three-layer planar slab guide and the circularly symmetric ber.

II. SLAB WAVEGUIDES (1-D)

Planar lm or slab waveguides are dielectric guides with

a 1-D cross-section such as shown in Fig. 4. Neither the index

distribution nor the eld amplitudes depend on the - or -coordinates. Slab guides are the relatively easily analyzed starting

point for the design of semiconductor lasers, integrated optical

circuits or guided-wave optoelectronic circuits (PICs). The

gure shows a step-index guide with lm thickness , and a

.

cover layer index of

The guided modes of slab guides are classied as either transverse electric (TE) or transverse magnetic (TM) modes. For TE

modes we have

and the extensive list of references provided in these works.

Here, we follow the notation of [23]. The general geometry

of a cylindrical dielectric guide is shown in Fig. 2 where the coordinate system is also indicated. Light propagates in the -direction. At the angular frequency the propagation constants

and , respectively,

of free space and the guide are

where c is the velocity of light in free space. The complex amand

describe the elds of electromagplitudes

.

netic modes propagating like

The diagram of Fig. 3 shows the typical propagation

characteristics of a dielectric guide for one of the two polarizations. There is a discrete set of guided modes, two of which are

shown, and a continuous spectrum of radiation modes. -values

cannot occur, where

is the refractive index

larger than

of the guiding lm (or ber core).

is the index of

the substrate (or ber cladding). In general, the guided modes

have a cutoff frequency larger than zero and increasing with

mode number. The spectral region between the cutoff of the

fundamental and the rst-order mode allows only single-mode

propagation. It is the region desired for broadband applications.

There are at least two special cases for which analytical results are available (as discussed below) indicating a zero-frequency cutoff for the fundamental guided mode. These cases

To broaden the applicability of theoretical results, one uses

the concepts of an effective index

As indicated in Fig. 3,

indices

1178

. The propagation characteristics of this mode are shown in Fig. 7 as a

special case. The cutoff frequency of the th-order mode is

The elds of the guided modes are sinusoidal in the lm, and

decay exponentially in the substrate and cover regions with increasing distance from the lm.

B. Graded Index Guides

Guide fabrication processes such as diffusion or ion implantation [31] lead to graded index proles where the index

varies gradually in the guide. Some of these guides can be approximated by the parabolic prole

corresponding to the potential well of the harmonic oscillator,

characterizing the effective guide width. The fundawith

mental TE mode of this well is a Gaussian eld with a beam

width 2

where

The higher order modes are HermiteGaussian functions, like

the standard modes of laser beams and resonators [32]. The

2-D generalization of the parabolic slab guide is the SELFOC

Fiber introduced by Uchida et al. possessing favorable multimode dispersion characteristics [33].

Solutions are available for the modes of other analytic

graded index proles, among them the exponential prole and

the 1/cosh prole. Several are listed in [23], e.g., approximate solutions for other proles can be obtained with the WKB

method widely used in quantum mechanics (e.g., see [23]).

C. Multilayer Guides

Multilayer guides consisting of more than three layers are

used for a variety of purposes such as tailoring the waveguide dispersion, obtaining phase matching for guided-wave

nonlinear optics, and providing separate connement in semiconductor heterostructure lasers. Multilayers can also be used

to approximate graded index proles. A compact systematic

theory of multilayer guides can be based on the matrix theory

developed in classical optics for the determination of reection

and transmission properties of multilayer stacks. For further

detail, the reader is referred to [34] and [23].

III. CYLINDRICAL WAVEGUIDES (2-D)

Cylindrical waveguides, illustrated in Fig. 1, conne the light

in two dimensions (

). Main representatives are the circular

optical ber used for transmission of signals over long distances,

and the strip or channel guides used in optical devices. We have

discussed the early theoretical treatment of circular dielectric

guides above, and should add the paper by Snitzer [35] focusing

on optical guides. As the existing rigorous solutions for round

optical bers are rather unwieldy, we discuss the key concepts

using the approximation of weakly guiding bers.

Fig. 5. Dispersion diagram for weakly guiding bers, from Gloge [37]. The

displayed mode numbers are the linearly polarized (LP) mode numbers, the rst

digit being the azimuthal mode number and the second being the radial mode

number.

Approximations for weakly guiding circular bers were discussed by Snyder [36] and Gloge [37], [38]. They assume a

only slightly smaller than the index of the

cladding index

ber core

where

Then, the modal solutions are essentially TE and linearly polarized. For a core radius , the electic eld component is

for

for

where are the Bessel functions and

the modied Hankel

functions, is the azimuthal mode number, and , are the

circular coordinates.

is the maximum eld at the core/

cladding interface. The parameters u and w are related by the

matching conditions, the normalized frequency

half the ber diameter, is usually replaced by , which is the full

slab thickness) and the effective index , where

Fundamental mode solutions exist without cutoff, and single. However, low fremode operation is assured as long as

are usually avoided as guidance is very

quencies with

weak and bend losses are high in this region. Fig. 5 shows the

normalized dispersion diagram [37] where the normalized propagation constant b is plotted for several low orders as a function

of V. b is dened by

b

The use of the normalized b-parameter makes the numerical

data very broadly applicable.

1179

Fig. 8. Simulated mode patterns for the rectangular guide with w=h = 1. From

Goell [39].

Fig. 9. Top view and cross section of a rib guide illustrating the effective index

method.

Fig. 7. Dispersion diagram for buried channel guides of height h and width w ,

with w=h ratios of 1, 2, and . From Goell [39].

B. Rectangular Waveguides

Channel waveguides are extensively used in complex integrated optics and optoelectronic circuitry. Fig. 6 shows the cross

sections of six different rectangular guide structures in use. Corresponding graded channel guides can be made by diffusion or

ion implantation.

Analytic solutions for rectangular guides are not available except for the 2-D parabolic prole discussed above. One has to

employ numerical simulations to nd modal solutions, some involving the use of variational methods, or use approximation

methods such as the effective index method (Section III-C). The

rst results for buried rectangular channels were obtained by

Goell in 1969 [39] who used cylindrical space harmonics for

his simulation. Fig. 7 shows his normalized dispersion diagram

for buried channels for a selection of widths.

Fig. 8 shows Goells calculated intensity patterns for the

lower order modes of a guide with unity aspect ratio.

C. Effective Index Method

This method of great intuitive appeal traces back to the paper

of

by Knox and Toulios [40]. It uses the effective index

channel guides and gain understanding of structures such as

guided-wave prisms, lenses and gratings. Fig. 9 illustrates the

application of the effective index method to a rib guide. The

guide consists of a lm of thickness and width forming

the rib, and two lateral lms of thickness . If these lms were

of innite extent they would form 1-D slab guides of effective

and

respectively. When the structure is viewed

index

from above, i.e., in the -direction, it looks the same as a 1-D

and a latslab guide with a lm of thickness w and index

. The propagation characteristics of

eral cladding of index

this slab guide are determined and used as an approximation for

the rib guide. Comparisons of these with more exact numerical

simulations have shown reasonably good agreement [41].

IV. WAVEGUIDE BENDS

The understanding of waveguide bends is an important and

complex subject. Knowledge of bend losses is critical for designing densely packed optical circuitry and in the ber to the

home installations that are now seeing deployment on a largescale. The literature on curved guides contains a considerable

variety of calculations and concepts, an early contribution being

the 1969 paper by Marcatili [42] on curved slab and rectangular

guides.

Analysis by a conformal transformation, discussed in 1976 by

Heilblum and Harris [43], provides good intuitive understanding

1180

Fig. 10. Transformed index prole of a slab guide with a tight bending radius

at the outer wall of 25 m.

Fig. 11. Outward shift of the modal eld in a bent ber for R =

R = 1 cm, right. From [45].

1, left, and

of waveguide bends. Here, the elds and the dielectric distribution of the curved guide are transformed to those of a straight

in a polar coordinate

guide. If the index is represented by

system, then the transformed index with Cartesian coordinate

is

where

can be chosen arbitrarily. The transformed index proequal

le is shown in Fig. 10 for a curved slab guide with

to the radius of the outer wall. It indicates the exponential increase of the cladding index as the distance from the center of

curvature increases. This results in modes with power leakage,

i.e., radiation loss due to bending. Heilblum [44] has pointed out

the close analogy of the transformed index prole of the curved

guide to that of a prism coupler where leakage is induced intentionally by a high prism index. The above transformation also

changes the thickness of the transformed guide relative to that

of the bent guide, an effect that becomes more pronounced for

tighter bends.

A second effect due to bending is a shift of the mode pattern

away from the center of curvature as if due to a centrifugal

force. This is shown in the simulation of Fig. 11 for a bent

ber [45]. The shift, if not taken into account, can lead to

considerable coupling losses when joining bent and straight

guides or bends with different curvature. For tight bends of

slab guides, this centrifugal shift can be so strong that guiding

pointed out by Sheem and Whinnery [46] in 1975. In this case

we are dealing with a whispering gallery mode of propagation

as described by Lord Rayleigh [47, p. 617] in 1912. Coupling

losses can be minimized by using offsets of the guide axes to

best match the mode patterns of coupled dissimilar guides.

Details of the corresponding analysis and literature for slab

and rectangular guides are given in the recent publications by

Pennings [48] and Smit et al. [49] in addition to the textbooks

listed [11][30]. Most are scalar theories for curved slabs,

subsequently extended to channel guides by techniques such as

the effective index method.

Theories of the bend losses of circular step-index bers in

the mid 1970s include those of Lewin [50], Snyder et al. [51],

and Marcuse [52]. They were scalar analyses assuming weakly

guiding bers and used a variety of approaches. A recent paper

by Smink et al. [45] provides a summary of the literature on ber

bends and uses a fully vectorial approach valid also for smaller

radii of curvature. They have used this approach for a numerical test of the simplied scalar bending-loss formula, nding

good agreement for large radii of curvature, , but considerable

disagreement for small (below 1 cm) where the simplied formula always overestimated the loss. The simplied formula for

the power loss coefcient of bent weakly guiding single-mode

bers is (e.g., see [52])

etc. refer to the unbent ber

and are explained in Section III-A. The factor is

V. GUIDED-WAVE SIMULATION

There exist analytical expressions for the eigenmodes of slab

waveguides and circular waveguides (even though the propagation constant is found by solving a transcendental equation).

Nearly all other waveguide structures require approximations or

numerical techniques.

There are three main categories of numerical waveguide problems. One is normal mode solving, which is to nd the normal

modes (i.e., eigenmodes) of a guiding structure that is independent of . Another is beam propagation, which is to nd the

change in a eld distribution as it propagates in one direction

through a structure changing with , such as guide transitions

or tapers. Here the results of mode solving are often applied

to characterize short local sections in terms of local normal

modes [53]. The third category involves omnidirectional problems with waves propagating in both -directions, such as structures that contain rings, reectors, or scatterers.

A. Normal Mode Solving

A normal mode solver is used to nd the modes and dispersion diagram of a nonaxially varying waveguide, such that the

time dependence is

(i.e., monochromatic waves) and all

portions of the waveguide cross section have the same propagation constant in the -direction. The search is usually limited to

purely real propagation constants. A mode solver can use either

1181

Fourier optics is based on the notion that any optical eld

can be viewed as a sum of plane waves traveling in

different directions

Fig. 12. FEM calculation of the lowest order guided mode in a microstructured

ber [55], like the ber in Fig. 21, for three different normalized propagation

constants.

vectorial form.

A simple method to employ is a scalar method related to the

matrix method for solving for modes in dielectric stacks mentioned earlier. It divides the 2-D structure into rectangular regions, represents the mode as a 2-D Fourier series, matches

boundary conditions, and solves the resulting set of equations

by matrix inversion [54].

The most general method is the nite-element method (FEM),

whereby the structure is divided into triangles and a set of equations relating the regions is often solved by matrix inversion

[55]. It can be scalar or vectorial. An early FEM calculation of

the fundamental guided mode of an early microstructured ber

(as in [56]) is shown in Fig. 12 for different values of , resulting

in the three values of the normalized propagation constant b indicated.

A very different mode solving strategy is to use a beam

propagation method (see the next section) along the imaginary

axis [57]. Nonguided modes rapidly dissipate, leaving only

the normal modes. This technique is more suitable than the

previous ones for nding leaky/lossy/amplifying modes, i.e.,

complex propagation constants.

For periodic structures with high index contrast, such as photonic crystals, a commonly used technique for calculating the

dispersion diagram is the plane-wave expansion method [58].

B. Beam Propagation Methods

The beam propagation method (BPM) starts with an optical

eld in one location and calculates how it evolves in space

and/or time. Thus the eld is not guided in at least one dimendepends

sion. BPM assumes that the eld at location

and not on

and thus is not aponly on the eld

plicable to general scattering problems. Whereas mode solving

is an eigenvalue problem, beam propagation is an initial value

problem. In traditional BPM, the time dependence is assumed

.

to be

One BPM is the local normal mode transfer method [59], also

called the eigenmode expansion method (EME). The structure

, and at each step the normal modes

is divided into steps of

of the local cross-section are calculated. One then computes the

overlap of each local normal mode with those of the previous

step, allowing one to keep track the energy in each mode. This

method aids in understanding and optimizing the efciency of

structures, but has difculty dealing with coupling to unguided

modes.

the plane wave amplitude propagating at angles

and

in the - and -planes, respectively, from the

-axis. If one starts with a eld

at one plane, then to

nd the eld at a distance one takes the Fourier transform of

to get the angular spectrum, multiplies each plane wave

by a phase term corresponding the distance traveled, and then

takes the inverse Fourier transform

and nish, FT-BPM takes a split-step approach. At each step,

the eld is rst phase shifted by the index distribution and then

is Fourier transformed to the plane-wave domain and is propa. It can be

gated assuming a homogenous medium of length

implemented in a few lines of code.

by

.

Step 1) Multiply

.

Step 2) Take the discrete Fourier transform to get

Step 3) Multiply

by

Step 4) Take the inverse discrete Fourier transform to get a

.

new

and go back to step 1).

Step 5) Increase by

FFT-BPM is accurate for large propagation angles, but it is not

accurate for large index contrasts, and it is scalar. It is also too

slow to be included in most waveguide software packages. A

variation of split-step Fourier BPM that is faster by being optimized for step-index waveguides is called sinc BPM [62].

Most commercial BPM packages use nite-difference (FD)

methods. These can be vectorial [63] and compute quickly. They

have trouble handling large propagation angles, however. Pade

approximants have been employed to improve the angle tolerance [64].

C. Omnidirectional Problems

Many structures not only have large propagation angles but

even have backward propagation, such as is encountered in ring

resonators or structures with high contrast features that are small

compared to a wavelength, such as photonic crystals. Furthermore, some structures have nonlinear elements.

One approach to handling such structures is to use EME in a

bidirectional fashion, treating each segment of the structure as a

scattering matrix with forward and backward traveling components [65].

A more general approach is to use the FEM, previously mentioned for use in normal mode solving. By setting the eld to a

value at one boundary, FEM can calculate the eld everywhere

in the structure. Because FEM is not a BPM, where one can stop

1182

Fig. 14. Interaction region between two strip guides of a directional coupler.

and exchange of power between the two guides. Fig. 14 shows

an electron micrograph of the interaction region of a coupler implemented with glass guides [70].

A. Coupled-Mode Theory

coupler [69].

be handled carefully in FEM. Typically perfectly matched layers

(PMLs) are employed. These layers perform the nontrivial task

of absorbing without reecting.

The most general approach is to no longer assume that the

. Two such methods are the nite-diftime dependence is

ference time-domain (FDTD) [66] and nite-element time-domain (FETD) methods [67]. FDTD is the most common of the

two, and it contains no approximations to Maxwells equations.

These methods, which are more general than BPM, are computationally expensive, since for each time step , rst the electric eld and then the magnetic eld in the entire area of interest

must be computed.

To reduce the computation time, if the time spectral bandwidth is small compared to the optical carrier frequency, one can

use a slowly varying envelope approximation. An example of a

pulse propagating in a directional coupler in a photonic crystal

calculated using this time-domain BPM (TD-BPM) [68], [69] is

shown in Fig. 13.

VI. COUPLERS

A considerable variety of coupling devices and structures is

employed in the construction of modern optical integrated circuits. Among them is the directional coupler, a familiar device

from microwave technology. Its implementation with dielectric

waveguides consists of two strip guides approaching each other,

running close and parallel over an interaction distance, and then

separating again. This is illustrated in Fig. 13. When the propa-

be viewed as coupled-mode or coupled-wave processes.

Among them are the diffraction of X-rays in crystals [71],

the microwave directional coupler [72], other microwave

phenomena [73], and the diffraction in thick holograms [74].

Applying these concepts to dielectric guide structures, the coupled-mode theory rst considers the basic uncoupled guides,

free of perturbations, periodic corrugations, or the presence of

which

another guide. These guides have mode patterns

are orthogonal, and propagate without change in amplitude

with corresponding propagation constants . In the presence

of perturbations or of another guide in the vicinity, there is

coupling from one mode to another or from one guide to another. The strength of the coupling is determined by reciprocity

and orthogonality relations. Now the modal amplitudes are no

longer constant on propagation as power is exchanged between

modes or waveguides.

In the case of the directional coupler, one has mode patterns

and

, one for each guide, with corresponding

propagation constants

and . When the guides get close,

the two modes begin to couple. Their complex amplitudes

and

change on propagation, following the coupled-mode

equations

, and is a coupling

propagation distance ,

constant determined by the guide geometry (e.g., see [21], [23],

and [75]). When the guides are phase-matched and mode R is

, while

, the coulaunched with amplitude 1,

pling between the guides leads to amplitudes described by

1183

. As the waves and travel

conversion) length

in the same ( ) directions one talks of codirectional coupling.

Contradirectional coupled wave interactions are also of practical interest [21], [23], [75]. Here, the two coupled waves travel

in opposite directions (typically in a single guide). This coupling can be caused by a periodicity in the guide causing backward Bragg scattering from one mode to the other. The coupled wave equations have the same form as those above, except for some sign changes. The boundary conditions for conand

tradirectional coupling are also changed, e.g., to

, where is the interaction length. For this case, assuming phase-matched guides, we get the amplitudes

Fig. 15. Star coupler.

in Fig. 19. This is used in the construction of a corrugated waveguide lter [76]. Other devices using periodic structures are

Hills ber Bragg gratings [77] and the distributed feedback

laser (DFB) [78]. For the DFB laser one has to enter gain in the

coupled wave equations and modify the boundary conditions.

The coupled mode theory also allows the analysis of deand varying phase

vices with varying coupling strength

. One example is the integrated electrooptic

matching

switch using a directional coupler with alternating

[79].

and chirped gratings are used for the

Apodization of

synthesis of desired grating lter characteristics [80], [81]. For

more detail see [21], [23], [75], and [80].

The above-mentioned periodic structures are periodic in

only (1-D). Examples of 2-D structures are the microstructured

bers mentioned in Section VII, where 3-D photonic crystal

structures are also discussed.

B. Supermodes

In the example of the directional coupler discussed above, the

concept of supermodes (also called normal modes) considers

both single-mode guides of the coupler together as a single

structure in which waves propagate [22]. In this case there

would be two guided modes, the fundamental

with

an even distribution in (in the plane of the circuit), and the

. Their propagation constants

rst-order odd mode

are

and . These modes propagate without change in

amplitude. The link to the coupled-mode concept is established

,

by the superpositions

and by the coupling length equaling the beat length between

. Combining the matrix method of solving multilayer waveguides (Section II-C) with the effective index

concept (Section III-C) provides a convenient way to calculate

the propagation constants of supermodes.

Supermodes are crucial to the understanding of adiabatic couplers, in which the shapes of supermodes at one end of a coupler

are transformed along a coupler without coupling between supermodes. Such mode evolution concepts can be used to make

wavelength and fabrication insensitive couplers [82], polarization splitters [83], and polarization rotators [84].

The supermodes of an innite periodic array of waveguides

have been termed Bloch modes [85], the same name applied

to electron waves in crystals. Bloch modes in a periodic waveguide array are analogous to plane waves in free space. For example, the Bloch mode propagating at angle zero consists of

equal powers in all the waveguides, all having the same phase.

Bloch modes are useful in understanding the operation of star

star coupler, shown in Fig. 15, couples

couplers [86]. A

waveguides on one side to waveguides on the other. To a

rst-order approximation, the eld along one curved edge of the

center slab is Fourier transformed along the opposite edge.

Each side of the star coupler consists of a converging array of

waveguides. Dummy waveguides are added to make the array

appear innite. When the waveguides are well separated, the

,

Bloch modes exist entirely within the angular region

i.e., the central Brillouin zone, where is the center-to-center

spacing between the waveguides. For a star coupler with 100%

efciency for all ports in the central Brillouin zone, each of

these Bloch modes in the central Brillouin zone must be adiabatically transformed into a plane wave traveling in the same

direction. Thus the waveguides must be brought together gradually so as to minimize scattering of energy into Bloch modes

outside the central Brillouin zone [85]. Several techniques exist

for helping achieve adiabatic behavior, including segmentation

[87] and vertical tapering [88].

Two star couplers can be connected together with equal length

waveguides to form an imaging system: an arrayed-waveguide

lens. In Fig. 16, the eld along line 1 is imaged along line 2.

If the connecting waveguides instead have a linearly increasing path length, one creates an arrayed-waveguide grating

(AWG), commonly used as a wavelength multiplexer or demultiplexer [89][91], shown in Fig. 17.

C. Self-Imaging

The propagation constants

of the modes of a multimode

slab waveguide approximately obey

1184

Fig. 19. Bragg grating in a semiconductor guide, as etched. From Tom Koch.

The higher the index contrast and the higher the , the more

accurate is this approximation. For reasonably low-order modes

From this, one can see that if we start with all the modes in

, all the modes will be in

phase, then after a distance

phase again. This is the basis of the principle of self-imaging in

multimode slab waveguides and can be used to construct multimode interference couplers [92], [93]. Fig. 18 shows a structure

where a single-mode waveguide abruptly widens to a multimode

waveguide for half the self-imaging distance and then abruptly

narrows to a single-mode waveguide again.

While self-imaging is an approximation in a multimode slab

waveguide, it is exact, in the paraxial approximation, in a multimode parabolic prole waveguide (Section II-B). In such a case

By making structures with features that are smaller than the

optical wavelength one can conne light very tightly or create

articial dielectrics with special properties. Application of these

microstructures to dielectric waveguides opens many opportunities for improved advanced devices and circuits. It also creates new challenges for the theoretical analysis and simulation

of the new guiding structures. An illustrative example of this is

the simulation of a photonic crystal coupler discussed in Section V-C and shown in Fig. 13.

If the microstructure is periodic, it can be viewed as a photonic crystal [94]. There is a rich theoretical literature about

photonic crystals that draws parallels to electronic crystals, i.e.,

solid-state physics. In photonic crystals, the atoms are analogous to regions of high refractive index. A subset of photonic

crystals includes photonic bandgap materials. The intention is

to create a photonic bandgap (an optical frequency range where

light cannot penetrate the crystal) for all directions and polarizations in either 1, 2, or 3 dimensions.

The concepts fundamental to the theory of photonic crystals

are the Brillouin zones and Bloch waves (or Bloch modes). They

are already discussed in Section VI-B as the supermodes of periodic structures important for the understanding of star couplers.

The Floquet-Bloch theorem, used in solid-state physics, states

that the eigenfunctions, or Bloch modes, of the wave equation

in a periodic potential are equal to the product of a plane wave

and a periodic function that has the same period as the crystal

lattice. For instance, for an innite photonic crystal with a cubic

lattice with an edge length of , the electric eld eigenfunctions

in the crystal must take the form [94]

shown in Fig. 19. Bragg gratings are widely used in commercial

devices, from DFB lasers [78] to chirped ber Bragg gratings,

as mentioned before.

In 2-D planar structures, the most successful photonic crystal

with a complete bandgap is a triangular lattice of holes in a

high-index material. The ratio of the refractive index between

the material and the holes must be greater than approximately

2.5 in order achieve a true photonic bandgap, and thus only

semiconductor materials have been used in 2-D photonic crystals. To make use of a 2-D photonic crystal, the light must be

guided by conventional waveguiding in the third dimension. Unfortunately, because of the folding of the dispersion diagram in a

periodic structure, dispersion lines inevitably cross the light line

(the lower dashed line in Fig. 3). This means there is always

some phase matching to the continuum, resulting in loss. To

1185

mitigate this, the lowest loss 2-D photonic crystals are usually

membranes, with air or oxide above and below the 2-D crystal.

Such membranes are usually made of Si because of its strength.

Probably the most practical application of 2-D photonic crystals

today is to increase the light extraction efciency of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) [95].

The gradient of the lines or surfaces in dispersion diagrams

is equal to the group velocity. Because of the folding of the dispersion diagram, negative group velocities with a positive propagation constant are possible, leading to a negative effective

index. A negative effective index leads to effects such as superlensing. Note that this effective index is dened only for a

narrow range of frequency near the origin in reciprocal space,

just like the effective mass in an electronic crystal.

In 3-D, the most successful photonic crystal with a complete

bandgap is a face-center cubic lattice with two different types of

refractive index shape per unit cell. The rst demonstration was

done at microwave frequencies [96]. An optical frequency example is shown in Fig. 20. Three-dimensional photonic crystal

research is still in its infancy, because such crystals have exceedingly complex dispersion diagrams and because they are difcult to fabricate.

Metamaterials are an articial material made of two or more

different structures or materials. A main difference between a

photonic crystal and a metamaterial is that metamaterials often

include nondielectric materials, such as metals. A typical goal of

a metamaterial is to create a negative effective refractive index

for the purpose of making a superlens [97].

B. Microstructured Fibers

Microstructured bers fall into two main categories. The rst

is guiding the light in a solid core with a cladding of very low

index (e.g., air). The core is held to the ber jacket via a microstructure of material. An early example of such a ber, called

a single-material ber or holey ber, is shown in Fig. 21 [56].

The waveguiding principle is the same as in a conventional ber,

except that the index contrast is very high. This permits a very

small mode size, resulting in a high nonlinearity in a short ber

Fig. 21. Fiber with a pure silica core and an air cladding, [56].

Fig. 22. Fiber with an air core and a photonic crystal cladding, from BlazePhotonics, Ltd [100].

laser pulse train [99]. It also allows for tight bending of the ber,

which is useful for ber routing in circuit packs and buildings.

The second category is guiding the light in a hollow core with

a photonic crystal cladding, as shown in Fig. 22. Such bers

are typically called photonic crystal bers (PCFs). The waveguiding in PCFs is unconventional in that the light is prevented

from escaping the low-index core by a photonic bandgap in the

cladding. [100] These bers often have the opposite purpose:

minimize nonlinearity. Also, there is a hope that PCFs may one

day have a lower loss than conventional ber, because the loss

of conventional ber is dominated by Rayleigh scattering in the

core, an effect not present in a hollow-core PCF.

1186

VIII. CONCLUSION

The theory of lightwave propagation in dielectric waveguides

has a proud history of nearly 100 years. As a symbolic celebration of this milestone we provide 100 references selected

from the vast literature covering the eld. We nd the eld

vibrant and rich in new ideas. New sophisticated simulation

techniques are serving as the foundation for the design of integrated circuitry of increasing complexity. New guide structures such as microstructured bers and photonic crystals are

challenging both the theorist and the experimenter. The story

is, of course, even larger than what we managed to cover in the

available space and time. We have not been able to cover interesting subjects such as guided-wave propagation in optical

ber ampliers, in optical modulators, and in polarization-maintaining bers. Other regrettable omissions include polarization

issues, polarization mode dispersion, optical nonlinear propagation, and the interaction between polarization and nonlinearities.

For these omissions we offer our apologies.

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and the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical

engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of

Technology (MIT), Cambridge.

He attended MIT on an Air Force scholarship and

earned pilot wings in 1991. Since coming to Bell

Labs, Holmdel, NJ, in 1995, his research has focused

on integrated devices for optical communication. He

was promoted to Distinguished Member of Technical

Staff in 2000.

Dr. Doerr received the OSA Engineering Excellence Award in 2002. He is

the Editor of IEEE PHOTONICS TECHNOLOGY LETTERS.

Graz, Austria, in 1932. He received the Dipl.Ing. and

Dr.Tech. degrees in electrical engineering from the

Technical University of Vienna, Austria, in 1955 and

1958, respectively, and the D.Phil. degree in physics

from Oxford University, Oxford, U.K. in 1960.

In 1961, he joined the research division of Bell

Laboratories (now Alcatel-Lucent), Holmdel, NJ,

and is currently Adjunct Photonics Research Vice

President.

Dr. Kogelnik is currently a Fellow and past President (1989) of the Optical Society of America (OSA), as well as a Member of

the National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Engineering.

He is an Honorary Fellow of St. Peters College, Oxford, U.K.

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