We derive from Maxwell’s equations full-vectorial nonlinear propagation equations of four-wave mixing valid in straight semiconductor-on-insulator waveguides. Special attention is given to the resulting effective mode area, which takes a convenient form known from studies in photonic crystal fibers, but has not been introduced in the context of integrated waveguides. We show that the difference between our full-vectorial effective mode area and the scalar equivalent often referred to in the literature may lead to mistakes when evaluating the nonlinear refractive index and optimizing designs of new waveguides. We verify the results of our derivation by comparing it to experimental measurements in a silicon-on-insulator waveguide, taking tolerances on fabrication parameters into account.
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