Waveguide structures with an antisymmetric gain/loss profile were studied more than a decade ago as benchmark tests for beam propagation methods. These structures attracted renewed interest, recently e.g. as photonic analogues of quantum mechanical structures with parity-time symmetry breaking. In this paper, properties of both weakly and strongly guiding two-mode waveguides and directional couplers with balanced loss and gain are described. Rather unusual power transmission in such structures is demonstrated by using numerical methods. We found that the interface between media with balanced loss and gain supports propagation of confined unattenuated TM polarized surface wave and we have shown that its properties are consistent with the prediction of a simple analytical model.
© 2010 OSA
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