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Hollow metallic and dielectric waveguides for long distance optical transmission and lasers

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The field configurations and propagation constants of the normal modes are determined for a hollow circular waveguide made of dielectric material or metal for application as an optical waveguide. The increase of attenuation due to curvature of the axis is also determined. The attenuation of each mode is found to be proportional to the square of the free-space wavelength λ and inversely proportional to the cube of the cylinder radius a. For a hollow dielectric waveguide made of glass with v = 1.50, λ = 1μ, and a = 1 mm, an attenuation of 1.85 db/km is predicted for the minimum-loss mode, EH11. This loss is doubled for a radius of curvature of the guide axis R ≈, 10 km. Hence, dielectric materials do not seem suitable for use in hollow circular waveguides for long distance optical transmission because of the high loss introduced by even mild curvature of the guide axis. Nevertheless, dielectric materials are shown to be very attractive as guiding media for gaseous amplifiers and oscillators, not only because of the low attenuation but also because the gain per unit length of a dielectric tube containing He-Ne “masing” mixture at the right pressure can be considerably enhanced by reducing the tube diameter. In this application, a small guide radius is desirable, thereby making the curvature of the guide axis not critical. For λ = 0.6328μ and optimum radius a = 0.058 mm, a maximum theoretical gain of 7.6 db/m is predicted. It is shown that the hollow metallic circular waveguide is far less sensitive to curvature of the guide axis. This is due to the comparatively large complex dielectric constant exhibited by metals at optical frequencies. For a wavelength λ = 1μ and a radius a = 0.25 mm, the attenuation for the minimum loss TE01 mode in an aluminum waveguide is only 1.8 db/km. This loss is doubled for a radius of- curvature as short as R ≈ 48 meters. For λ = 3μ and a = 0.6 mm, the attenuation of the TE01 mode is also 1.8 db/km. The radius of curvature which doubles this loss is approximately 75 meters. The

Published in:

Bell System Technical Journal, The  (Volume:43 ,  Issue: 4 )