In 1976 Marcuse developed an equivalent index model to predict the effects of bending in waveguides, and predicted deformation of the spatial modes in bent optical fibers. Perturbative approaches have been previously applied and tested to predict the behavior of single- and few-moded-fibers. However, much more significant mode deformation has been predicted for large-mode-area fibers than for single- or few-moded-fibers. In this paper, the spatial profiles of modes deformed by bending in large-mode-area fibers are measured for the first time. A finite difference method employing the equivalent index model is used to calculate the modes of the helical fiber, which show an offset that is twice as large as that predicted for single-mode fiber, and mode compression that is five times greater. These calculated results are compared to the experimental data, yielding significantly better agreement than previous perturbative approaches.
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