Single-mode propagation in optical waveguides and fibres: a critical review of its treatment in physics textbooks

Ivan S. Ruddock

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The derivation and description of the modes in optical waveguides and fibres are reviewed. The version frequently found in undergraduate textbooks is shown to be incorrect and misleading due to the assumption of an axial ray of light corresponding to the lowest order mode. It is pointed out that even the lowest order must still be represented in an elementary treatment by a ray reflecting between opposite core and cladding boundaries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-309
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • optics
  • quantum optics
  • lasers
  • education
  • communication

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