This paper reports on some theoretical and experimental investigations of the radial refractive index gradient that maximizes the information-carrying capacity of a multimode optical waveguide. The primary difference between this work and previous studies is that the dispersive nature of core and cladding materials is taken into consideration. This leads to a new expression for the index gradient parameter αc which characterizes the optimal profile. Using the best available refractive index data, it is found that in highsilica waveguides, the dispersive properties of the glasses significantly influence the pulse broadening of near-parabolic fibers, and that the parameter ac must be altered by 10–20% to compensate for dispersion differences between core and cladding glasses. These predictions are supported by pulse broadening measurements of two graded-index fibers. A comparison is made between the widths and shapes of measured pulses and pulses calculated using the WKB approximation and the near-field measurement of the index profiles. The good agreement found between theory and experiment not only supports the predictions made for the value of αc, but demonstrates an ability to predict pulse broadening in fibers having general index gradients.
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ErrataGoran Einarsson, "Pulse broadening in graded-index optical fibers: correction," Appl. Opt. 25, 1030-1030 (1986)