We consider the effective area A eff of photonic crystal fibers (PCFs) with a triangular air-hole lattice in the cladding. It is first of all an important quantity in the context of non-linearities, but it also has connections to leakage loss, macro-bending loss, and numerical aperture. Single-mode versus multi-mode operation in PCFs can also be studied by comparing effective areas of the different modes. We report extensive numerical studies of PCFs with varying air hole size. Our results can be scaled to a given pitch and thus provide a general map of the effective area. We also use the concept of effective area to calculate the “phase” boundary between the regimes with single-mode and multi-mode operation.
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