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Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Intermodal and Intramodal Dispersion in Optical Fiber

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The spreading of light pulse as it propagates down the fiber is called Dispersion.

Occurs due to the dependence of phase velocity of a wave on its frequency or wavelength

The pulse broadening causes adjacent pulses to get overlapped and limit the maximum number of pulses sent per second, thus reducing the information carrying capacity of the fiber.
To avoid overlapping of optical pulses the bit rate (BT) must be less than the reciprocal by broadened duration 2τ.

BT 1/2τ

Two types of dispersion are,

1. Intramodal dispersion.
2. Intermodal dispersion.

1. Intramodal Dispersion

Also known as ‘chromatic dispersion’ or ‘group velocity dispersion’ (GVD).

When an EM wave travels through a medium of RI, ‘n’ the speed of wave is reduced from speed of light.

That is, v = c/n.
Hence the speed of light in a material depends on its RI which inturn is a frequency dependent parameter. As a result different spectral components of the light pulse travels at slightly different group velocities which causes group velocity dispersion or chromatic dispersion.

Group Velocity and Phase Velocity:

Group Velocity (Vg) is the speed at which energy in a particular mode travels along the fibre.
Phase Velocity (Vp) of a wave is the rate at which the phase of a wave propagates.
Vp = ω/β
Where, β – propagation constant

Vp and Vg depends on the frequency and the medium.

Group delay is the time delay experienced by the spectral component of a signal as it propagates through the fibre.
τg = L/Vg

Where, L = fiber length

If Δω is the spectral width of the pulse, the extend of pulse broadening for a fiber of length ‘L’ can be given as,
ΔT = dτ/dω. Δω

Substitute for τ,
We have, ΔT = d/dω(L/Vg). Δω
Substitute for Vg,
ΔT = d/dω(L/(dω/dβ)). Δω
= L d2β/dω2. Δω
ΔT = L β2. Δω
Where, β2 = d2β/dω2 = GVD parameter

GVD parameter determines how much an optical pulse will broaden while propagating inside the fiber.

Two types of intramodal dispersion are,

a. Material Dispersion

b. Waveguide Dispersion

Material Dispersion:

Caused by variation of RI as a function of ‘optical wavelength’

Since the group velocity of a mode is a function of RI, the various spectral components of a given mode will travel at different speeds depending on wavelength.

The larger the spectral width the higher will be the pulse broadening. Since all wavelength in the spectral width (λ ± Δλ) of the optical source propagate with different speed.

Prominent for LED Sources due to broader spectrum


We know, β = nk
β – propagation constant
k – wave vector = 2 π/ λ

diff k,
dβ/dk = n

Group delay, τg = L/Vg = L/(c/n)
τg = L/c/( dβ/dk)
τg = L/c x dβ/dk
=L/c (dβ/dλ x dλ/dk)

We have, k = 2π/ λ
Differentiating we have,
dk = -2π/ λ2
dλ/dk = - λ2/2π

Therefore, τg = - λ2L/2πc . dβ/dλ ------------------ (1)

This is the time delay experienced by the wave of wavelength λ and wave vector k as it travels through the fiber of length ‘L’.

Pulse spread,
σmat = dτg/dλ. σλ ----------- (2)

where, σλ is the RMS value of dλ
we know, β = 2πn(λ)/ λ
Substitute β in eq(1) we have,
τg = - λ2L/2πc . d(2πn(λ)/ λ)/dλ
Therefore, τg = L/c[n(λ)- λ dn(λ)/dλ]
Substitute τg in eq(2)
σmat = [d(L/c[n(λ)- λ dn(λ)/dλ])/dλ]. σλ
= σλ L/c |λ d2n/dλ2|
= σλ L Dmat(λ)
where, Dmat is the optical fibre material dispersion.

Dmat = λ/c. d2n/dλ2

For pure silica at ‘λ = 1.276, Dmat = 0’. Hence this wavelength is known as “Zero Dispersion Wavelength, λ

Wave Guide Dispersion:

Results from the variation in group velocity with wavelength for a particular mode

One mode in the single mode fiber or each mode in a multimode fiber can have its own waveguide dispersion.

For a mode distribution of light in the fiber varies for different wavelength. Shortr wavelengths are more confined to the core, whereas for larger wavelength, larger portion of power propagates through the cladding.

Due to lower RI in the cladding that portion of light travels faster. Also since refractive index depends on wavelength different spectral components in a single mode have different propagation speeds. Thus difference in core-cladding spatial power distribution together with speed variation of various wavelengths causes change in propagation velocity for each spectral component resulting in dispersion.

They are significant in single mode fiber.


Normalized propagation constant, b = a2ω2/v2

Where, a = co-radius
ω = decay parameter in cladding
v = v number
Sub. ω2 = β2 – K22
b = a22 – K22)/ a2 K2(n12 – n22)
b = β2/ K2 - n22/ (n12 – n22)
for small values of RI difference,
ie, for a weekly guided condition,

Δ = (n1 – n2)/n1 << 1
and b = (β/ K – n2)/(n1 – n2)
Therefore, β = (b(n1 – n2) + n2)K
= Kb(n1 – n2) + Kn2
= Kb(n1 – n2).n1/n1 + Kn2
= Kb Δn1 + Kn2
= Kn2[(bΔn1/n2) + 1]
Since, n1/n2 = 1
β = Kn2[bΔ+ 1]

Group Delay, τwaveguide = L/C dβ/dK

Sub for β,
τwaveguide = L/C d(Kn2[bΔ+ 1])/dk
= L/C d(Kn2bΔ+ Kn2)/dk
= L/C [n2ΔdKb/dk + n2]

Expressing in terms of V number, V

τwaveguide = L/C[n2 +n2ΔdVb/dV]

Pulse spread due to τwaveguide
σwg = |d τwaveguide/dλ|σλ
= |d (L/C[n2 +n2ΔdVb/dV])/dλ|σλ
= n2 L Δ σλ/ Cλ . V. d2(Vb)/ dV2

σwg = L|Dwg(λ)| σλ

where, Dwg(λ)= n2 Δ/Cλ . V . d2(Vb)/ dV2
Also, Dwg(λ)= waveguide dispersion factor

2. Intermodal Dispersion:

Also known as modal delay or modal dispersion

Occur due to each mode having different group velocity at a single frequency

Input light is made of a number of modes

Different modes travel through fibre at different speeds in different directions. Hence, distance travelled by each mode is different. Thus time taken by each mode to cover the same distance is different. This results in pulse broadening.

Increases with distance travelled through the fiber.

Does not exist in single mode fibers

Major source of dispersion in multimode fibers


Let, Tmin = Time taken by axial ray to travel a distance ‘L’.
ie, Tmin = L/V = L/(C/n1) = L n1/C
Let, Tmax = Time taken by meridional ray to travel distance ‘L’.
ie, Tmax = (L/Cos θ)/V = (L/Cos θ)/(C/n1) = L n1/ (C x Cos θ)
Cos θ = Sin θ = n2/n1
Therefore, Tmax = L n12/ C n2

Time Delay = Tmax - Tmin
= L n12/ C n2 - L n1/ C
= L n12/ C n2 (1 - n2/ n1)
= L n12/ C n2 . Δ
= L/Cn2 . (NA)2/2       .............. Since, NA = n1(2Δ)

Delay = δ Ts = L(NA)2/2Cn2

Polarisation Mode Dispersion:

The fibre birefringence on the polarisation states of the optical signal can cause pulse broadening. Polarisation is the electric field orientation of the signal. This can vary along the length of the fiber.

Birefringence is the optical property of a material having a RI that depends on the polarisation and propagation direction of the light.
Birefringence can be due to intrinsic factors (geometric irregularities, internal stress etc) and external factors (bending, twisting etc).

Signal energy at a given wavelength has two orthogonal polarisation modes.

Varying birefringence along the length of the fiber will cause each polarisation mode to travel at slightly different velocity. The resulting difference in propagation (ΔτPMD) time between the two orthogonal polarization modes will result in pulse spreading. This is known as polarisation mode dispersion (PMD).

Differential Time Delay,

ΔτPMD = |L/Vgz – L/Vgy|
Where, Vgz and Vgy = group velocities of two orthogonal polarization modes.

PMD varies randomly along the fiber, since causes of birefringence may vary with temperature, stress dynamics etc. Hence ΔτPMD cannot be used directly to measure PMD. It limits the performance of the fiber in long-haul optical communication system operating at high bit rate.

Monday, 18 November 2019

Linear Effects in Optical Fiber

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The transmission through optical fibre can be lossy or distorted due to linear and non linear effects in the optical fibre. The linear effects can be

1. Attenuation

2. Absorption
(a) Intrinsic Absorption
(b) Extrinsic Absorption

3. Scattering
(a) Rayleigh Scattering
(b) Mie Scattering

4. Bending
(a) Microbends
(b) Macrobends

1. Attenuation

Loss of signal strength while travelling through optical fibre from transmitting end to receiving end is called Attenuation. Attenuation is directly proportional to distance travelled. Expressed in dB per km, wavelength dependent and it is inversely proportional to λ.

Power at the output is,
Po = Pine-αpL
Pin – Input Power
Po – Output Power
L – Length of fibre
α – Attenuation Coefficient
Po/ Pin = e-αpL
In(Po/ Pin) = -αpL
αp = 1/L In(Pin/ Po) 
αp = 2.303/ L . log(Pin/ Po)
αdb/km = 10/L. log(Pin/ Po)
αdb/km = 4.343 αp

Attenuation loss is less in single mode fibre compared to multimode fibre. Attenuation can be due to scattering, absorption, bending and fibre connections.

2. Absorption

Absorption is defined as the portion of attenuation resulting from conversion of optical power into another energy form such as heat. It can be due to

a. Atomic structure defects of fibre material.
b. Impurities in the fibre material.
c. Basic fibre material.

Two types of absorption are:

a. Intrinsic Absorption
b. Extrinsic Absorption

Intrinsic Absorption:

Occurs in fibers made of pure silica, can happen in UV and IR regions. Absorption in UV region is due to stimulation of electron transition within the glass by higher energy excitation. Absorption in IR region is due to interaction of photon with the molecular vibrations within the glass. The oscillations or vibrations of structural units like SI-O, Ge-O causes strong absorption. Intrinsic absorption can be minimized by proper choise of core, cladding composition.

Extrinsic Absorption:

It is caused by metallic impurities such as iron, nickel and chromium introduced into the fibre material during fabrication. Water in Silica forms Silicon hydroxide (Si-OH) bonds are bonded into the glass structure and have vibrations which will result in absorption.

3. Scattering:

Scattering transfers optical power of one mode to another mode. Signal can get attenuated if the power is transferred to a leaky mode which doesn’t continue to propagate through the fibre but radiates out. It can be due to microscopic variations in material density, compositional fluctuations, structural inhomogenities, manufacturing defects. ‘No change in frequency due to scattering’.

Two types are

i. Rayleigh Scattering
ii. Mie Scattering

i. Rayleigh Scattering

Occurs due to material in homoginities, density and compositional variations. These r factors result in refractive index fluctuations. Attenuation due to Rayleigh scattering is inversely proportional to λ4. Mathematically Rayleigh scattering can be given by,

γR = 8π3n8P2βckTf/3 λ4

γR - Rayleigh scattering Coefficient
λ – Wavelength
n – Refractive Index
P – Photoelectric Coefficient
βc Isothermal compressibility at ‘fictive temperature’, Tf (Temp at which density variations are frozen into the glass when it soldifies).
k – Boltzmann constant

à Relation between γR and transmission loss factor (transmissivity) of the fire can be given as,
Transmissivity = e- γRL
Where L – length of fibre

àAttenuation due to Rayleigh scattering, α = 10 log 1/transmissivity.

à Rayleigh scattering can be reduced by operating at the largest possible wavelength.

ii. Mie Scattering

Occurs at points where inhomogenetics is comparable in size or greater than λ/10 with the guided wavelength. This inhomoginities can be,

a. non perfect cylindrical structure
b. core cladding RI change
c. Irregularities in core, cladding interface
d. changes in fibre diameter with length
e. presence of air bubbles.

à Scattering created are in the forward direction can be reduced by

a. Removing imperfections such as non uniform fibre diameter. Presence of bubbles etc.
b. Increasing Relative RI difference to make the fibre more guiding.
c. carefully controlled extrusion and coating of fibre.

4. Bending Loss (Radiative Losses):

àRadiation loss takes place at the bends because the energy in the evanescent field in the cladding exceeds the velocity of light at the bend inhibiting the guiding mechanism.

àThe part of the light wave in the cladding that decays exponentially as a function of distance from the core is known as ‘evanescent field’.

àSince this is not possible, the optical energy in the field tail beyond Xc radiates away.

Depending on the radius of the bends, the two types are

(a) Microbending Losses
(b) Macrobending Losses

Microbending Losses:

àIf the radius of curvature is a few μm, the bend is called microbends.

àThese repetitive small scale fluctuations can be due to

i. Non – uniformities in the manufacturing.
ii. Non – uniform mechanical tensile forces by which fiber is pressed against rough surface.
iii. Non – uniform lateral pressure created during cabling of fiber.

àLoses due to this are also called cabling loss or packaging loss.

àCauses repetitive coupling energy between guided and unguided modes causing light to escape outside the fibre core

àCan be minimized by

a. Extruding a compressible jacket over fiber.
b. In single mode fiber, choose V number near cut off.

àMicro bending loss in multimode fiber is

LossM,microbend = N.h2a4/b6Δ3. (E/EF)3/2

Where, N – No: of humps
h – height of the hump per unit length
a – core radius
b – Fiber diameter
Δ – Relative RI difference
E – Elastic modulus of surrounding medium (Jacket)
EF – Elastic modulus of fiber.
àMicro bending loss in single mode fiber

LossS,microbend = 0.05αm K4(Fd)6(NA)4/a2

Where, αm - attenuation constant

K – Wave factor = 2 π/λ
A – core radius
Fd – Half of mode field diameter

Macro bending Losses:

àOccurs when the radius of curvature is larger than the fiber diameter

àAlso called large – curvature radiation loss.

àThe fiber bend radius at which the loss is maximum is called critical radius

àLoss due to macrobend can be expressed as,

Lossmacrobend = 10log([α+2]/2α[a/RΔ])

Where α – profile parameter
a – core radius
R – bend radius
Δ – Relative RI difference

Critical radius for multimode fiber,

Rcm = 3n12λ/4π(n12-n22)3/2

Critical radius for single mode fiber,

Rcs = 20λ/(n1 – n2)3/2 (2.748 – 0.996 λ/ λc)-3

Where, λc – cut off wavelength

Critical normalized frequency,

Vc = 2π/λc.an1(2Δ)1/2

λc/ λ = V/Vc
λc =  Vλ/Vc = Vλ/2.405

àcan be reduced by,

a. Designing fibers with large relative refractive index differences.
b. operating at the shortest wave length possible.