A unified computer-aided numerical approach based on the finite-element method has been developed for the analysis of propagation characteristics for TE and TM modes in either linear or nonlinear multiple-quantum-well waveguides. For linear waveguides, numerical results of linear TE and TM modes in multiple-quantum-well structures are presented for waveguides with an arbitrary number of wells and different well thicknesses. The results reveal that, for different linear waveguide structures, the maximum birefringence is determined by a certain thickness of the guiding region. On the other hand, for nonlinear cases, self-consistent solutions for both nonlinear TE and TM waves are obtained through a simple iterative procedure. The power-dependent dispersion relations as well as electric- and magnetic-field profiles for nonlinear TE- and TM-polarized waves in several different waveguides are given. It is shown that in certain cases power limiting may exist for nonlinear TM waves because of nonlinear, molecular-orientation mechanisms.
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