A quantitative theory of light propagation in a dielectric slab guide with general cladding media is presented. It is based on a plane wave which bounces in a zigzag fashion along the guide as a result of total or partial reflections at the two surfaces of the film. Two mechanisms are considered which contribute to the attenuation of the guide: losses due to absorption in the slab and cladding materials, and radiation losses if the guide is a leaky one. We point out the significance of the Goos-Hänchen effect for all questions relating to the power flow in the slab guide. The theory is illustrated by discussing dispersion and attenuation of guides with various low-index and high-index claddings, operating above and below cutoff. The low-index leaky guide is considered particularly in detail. Its high attenuation by leakage can be reduced to practically acceptable values (<1d B/cm) by increasing the film thickness to ≳ 40λ. One application of this guide is in the leaky wave coupler. This coupler may be viewed as a prism-film coupler simplified by omission of the gap. It offers a new approach to the problem of broad-band coupling to thin-film light guides.
Index HeadingsIntegrated optics Thin films Goos-Hänchen effect
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