Optical Waveguide Modes

The theory of dielectric waveguides is well described in the literature (Snyder and Love 1983; Marcuse 1982, 1991; Tamir 1990; Marz 1994). In this section, we summarize several topics important to the design and simulation of planar waveguide devices, and emphasize the physical principles.

An optical waveguide directs the propagation of an electromagnetic field through a nearly lossless doped silica medium. We refer to the propagating field as the lightwave. The field obeys Maxwell's equations. Because the changes in refractive index n(x) are small, Maxwell's equations reduce to a scalar wave equation for the transverse electric field. At a single wavelength A and polarization, the scalar wave equation is

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