We present an analytical procedure to compute the first derivatives of the propagation constants with respect to several structural parameters in photonic crystal fibers (PCFs). From them we can easily evaluate the same derivatives of other directly related magnitudes. The above derivatives provide the trend of the magnitude at issue, which allows us to take advantage of a gradient-based algorithm to shape the properties of the guiding structure. In this way we implement an optimization process to carry out real inverse design in PCFs. We focus our attention on designing PCFs with a specific chromatic dispersion behavior. Likewise, the same approach makes it possible to analyze their fabrication tolerances.
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