We investigate the influence of reflection symmetry on the properties of the modes of microstructured optical fibers. It is found that structures with reflection symmetry tend to support non-degenerate modes which are closer in nature to the analogous TE and TM modes of circular step-index fibers, as compared with fibers with only rotational symmetry. Reflection symmetry induces modes to exhibit smaller longitudinal components and transverse fields which are more strongly reminiscent of the radial and azimuthal modes of circular fibers. The tendency towards “transversality” can be viewed as a result of the interaction of group theoretical restrictions on the mode profiles and minimization of the Maxwell Hamiltonian.
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