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Guided Wave Optic Design


In guided wave optics, optical waveguides are used to guide the optical beams. This is contrary to free space optics where beams travel in free space. In guided wave optics they are mostly confined within waveguides. Waveguides are used for transferring either power or communication signals. Different waveguides are needed to guide different frequencies: an optical fiber guiding light (high frequency) will not guide microwaves (which have a much lower frequency). As a rule of thumb, the width of a waveguide needs to be of the same order of magnitude as the wavelength of the guided wave. Waves are confined inside the waveguide due to total reflection from the waveguide wall, so that the propagation inside the waveguide can be described approximately as a ''zigzag'' between the walls.



Waveguides used at optical frequencies are typically dielectric waveguides, structures in which a dielectric material with high permittivity, and thus high index of refraction, is surrounded by a material with lower permittivity. The structure guides optical waves by total internal reflection. The most common optical waveguide is optical fiber.



Other types of optical waveguide are also used, including photonic-crystal fiber, which guides waves by any of several distinct mechanisms. Guides in the form of a hollow tube with a highly reflective inner surface have also been used as light pipes for illumination applications. The inner surfaces may be polished metal, or may be covered with a multilayer film that guides light by Bragg reflection (this is a special case of a photonic-crystal fiber). One can also use small prisms around the pipe which reflect light via total internal reflection—such confinement is necessarily imperfect, however, since total internal reflection can never truly guide light within a lower-index core (in the prism case, some light leaks out at the prism corners).



For any projects involving design, testing, troubleshooting or research & development of waveguide devices, contact us and our World class optics designers will help you.



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