The ability to predict the light propagation characteristics in various practical multimode guiding structures is very important in optical fiber communications and in optical image transfer. The usual mode-by-mode analysis is impractical when the guiding structure is capable of supporting hundreds or thousands of modes. In this study a numerical technique is described which is capable of providing useful data on the propagation characteristics of optical multimode guiding structures whose index of refraction variation may be quite arbitrary. As a specific example, the problem of infinite or truncated Gaussian beam propagation in a radially inhomogeneous fiber with parabolic index profile is solved. The numerical results for the infinite Gaussian beam case are compared with exact analytical data and they are in complete agreement.
© 1978 Optical Society of America
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