Fiber waveguide arrays as model system for discrete optics
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Optical waveguide arrays consisting of a two-dimensional arrangement of weakly coupled waveguides represent the basis of the new research field of discrete optics. For studying the nonlinear pulse dynamics, fiber waveguide arrays offer specific advantages such as a high optical damage threshold and an accessible range of anomalous dispersion. Coherent coupling of such waveguides for reasonable propagation lengths requires, however, a high structural quality of the waveguides and their superstructure, which is beyond conventional fiber technology. Design, fabrication and characterization of such a fiber waveguide array are described. The linear propagation properties in such a system are modeled and compared with experimental measurements. The high structural homogeneity and good optical quality of the arrays as well as the limits of the nearest-neighbor approximation are demonstrated.
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