We present a comprehensive study of mode propagation in a range of different air-silica microstructured fibers. The inscription of both Bragg and long-period gratings (LPGs) into the photosensitive core region of microstructured air-silica fibers has allowed us to generate complex transmission spectra from a range of fibers with various fill fractions and with increasing air-clad hole diameters. The spectral characteristics for typical air-hole geometry's are explained qualitatively and modeled using beam propagation simulations, where the numerical modeling corroborates the experimental measurements. Specifically, the data reveal the propagation of higher order leaky modes in fibers with periodically spaced air-holes, and relatively small air-fill fraction. And as the air-hole diameter increases,spectra show cladding modes defined solely by the inner air-clad region. We describe these measurements and corresponding simulations and discuss their implications for the understanding of such air-hole structures.


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