Properties of the self-imaging effect based on multimode interference (MMI) in large-core passive optical fibers are investigated and analyzed in detail, with the purpose of using multimode active fibers for high power single-transverse-mode emission. Although perfect self-imaging of the input field from a standard single-mode fiber (SMF-28) in a multimode fiber becomes practically impossible as its core diameter is larger than 50 µm, a quasi-reproduction of the input field occurs when the phase difference between the excited modes and the peak mode inside the multimode fiber is very small. Our simulation and experimental results indicate that, if the length of the multimode fiber segment can be controlled accurately, reproduction of the input field with a self-imaging quality factor larger than 0.9 can be obtained. In this case, a low-loss hybrid fiber cavity composed of a SMF-28 segment and a very-large-core active multimode fiber segment can be built. It is also found that for the hybrid fiber cavity, increasing the mode-field diameter of the single-mode fiber improves both the self-imaging quality and the tolerance on the required length accuracy of the multimode fiber segment. Moreover, in this paper key parameters for the design of MMI-based fiber devices are defined and their corresponding values are provided for multimode fibers with core diameters of 50 µm and 105 µm.
© 2008 Optical Society of AmericaFull Article | PDF Article