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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 19, Iss. 8 — Apr. 11, 2011
  • pp: 7596–7602
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Photonic crystal fiber sensor array based on modes overlapping

Guillermo A. Cárdenas-Sevilla, Vittoria Finazzi, Joel Villatoro, and Valerio Pruneri  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 19, Issue 8, pp. 7596-7602 (2011)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.19.007596


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Abstract

An alternative method to build point and sensor array based on photonic crystal fibers (PCFs) is presented. A short length (in the 9-12 mm range) of properly selected index-guiding PCF is fusion spliced between conventional single mode fibers. By selective excitation and overlapping of specific modes in the PCF we make the transmission spectra of the sensors to exhibit a single and narrow notch. The notch position changes with external perturbation which allows sensing diverse parameters. The well-defined single notch, the extinction ratio exceeding 30 dB and the low overall insertion loss allow placing the sensors in series. This makes the implementation of sensor networks possible.

© 2011 OSA

1. Introduction

Optical-fiber-based sensors represent a unique or the only viable sensing solution in specific cases (e.g., in environments with electrical hazard or potentially explosive). In addition, fiber sensors are a premium choice when multiplexing capability, high sensitivity and reduced size are required. For example, the multiplexing capability of fiber sensors makes it possible to monitor the individual behavior of several sensors set in a network with a single interrogation unit. This simplifies the design of a sensor network and minimizes its cost.

We believe that due to their simple multiplexing, sensitivity, compactness and low cost the PCF sensors proposed here can compete with other PCF sensors based gratings or interferometers and with SMF structures built with conventional fibers.

2. Device operating principle and sensing properties

The illustration of the device along with the cross section of the fiber used in the experiments is shown in Fig. 1
Fig. 1 (a) Scheme of the proposed device, micrograph of the PCF cross section and of a splice with a 200 µm-long collapsed zone. The broadening of the beam is illustrated by the red cone. L is the PCF length, l1 and l2 are the lengths of the collapsed regions. w 0 and w are the beam radius at the beginning and at the end of the collapsed region, respectively. (b) Transmission spectra of some devices with L = 10.42 mm (dashed line), 10.16 mm (solid line) and 11.02 mm (dotted line).
. The fiber is a commercially available PCF which has six-fold symmetry; it is known as large-mode-area PCF (LMA-10, NKT Photonics). The fiber has a core size diameter of 10 µm, voids with diameter of 3.1 µm, pitch of 6.6 µm and outer diameter of 125 µm. To fabricate the devices, the PCF and the standard fiber (SMF-28) can be spliced with any commercial fusion splicing machine. In general, splicing machines join two fibers together making first a prefusion in which the fibers are cleared by low-level heating. After the prefusion a main fusion process follows in which the two fiber ends are exposed to an intense discharge (high temperature) for a few seconds. During the main fusion process the fiber are pushed and pulled to form a robust and permanent join. Because of the holey structure the softening point of PCFs is in general lower than that of SMFs. Thus, if an SMF and a PCF are spliced with a default program for splicing single mode fibers the PCF’s air holes will entirely collapse over a certain length. In most splicing machines the intensity and duration of the arc discharge of the main fusion process can be adjusted. Thus, one can control the length of the collapsed zone in the PCF. We fabricated a collection of samples with a commercial fusion splicing machine (Ericsson FSU 955). To control the length of the collapsed zone we followed the technique reported in [25

25. L. Xiao, M. S. Demokan, W. Jin, Y. Wang, and C. L. Zhao, “Fusion splicing photonic crystal fibers and conventional single-mode fibers: microhole collapse effect,” J. Lightwave Technol. 25(11), 3563–3574 (2007). [CrossRef]

]. We found out that when the collapsed regions had different lengths, e.g., ~200 ± 10 µm in the PCF-SMF-in interface and ~110 ± 10 µm in the PCF-SMF-out one, the transmission spectrum of the device exhibits a single and deep notch, see Fig. 1. It can be seen from the figure that the notches are very narrow and that the insertion loss is small around the resonance wavelength. Note also that the position of the notch can be controlled with the length of PCF. Later we will see that these attributes simplify the multiplexing of the devices.

The temperature dependence of the devices was also investigated. It was found that the higher the temperature the longer the notch wavelength. The observed temperature sensitivity was in the 7-9 pm/°C range, depending on the device length. Therefore, the effect on the strain sensitivity of a device at different temperature was investigated. Figure 4
Fig. 4 (a) Transmission spectra of a 9.52 mm-long device subjected to 190, 762, and 1333 με at 66 and 111°C. (b) Shift of the notch as a function of the applied strain at room temperature (squares), 66 °C (dots) and 111 °C (triangles).
shows the transmission spectra of a 9.52 mm-long device when it was subjected to axial tensile strainwhen the surrounding temperature was 66 or 111°C. The linear behavior is preserved at any temperature within the analyzed range, while the strain sensitivity decreases as the temperature increases. This was expected since strain and temperature induce opposite-sign notch wavelength displacements.

3. Multiplexing capability of the proposed devices

It is recognized by the sensor community that the multiplexing capability of fiber sensors is one of their main advantages. This capability makes it possible to monitor multiple sensing points with a single interrogation unit (composed, e.g., by a single light source and a miniature spectrophotometer), thus significantly reducing the cost and complexity of a sensor array. Most of the SMS-based sensors proposed so far exhibit transmission or reflection spectra with a series of maxima and minima or broad dips/notches which difficult their multiplexing. PCF interferometers, e. g., exhibit sinusoidal interference patterns while PCFs with periodic changes in their structure tend to exhibit broad and irregular dips [8

8. L. Rindorf and O. Bang, “Sensitivity of photonic crystal fiber grating sensors: biosensing, refractive index, strain, and temperature sensing,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 25(3), 310–324 (2008). [CrossRef]

11

11. W. Bock, T. Eftimov, P. Mikulic, and J. Chen, “An inline core-cladding intermodal interferometer using a photonic crystal fiber,” J. Lightwave Technol. 27(17), 3933–3939 (2009). [CrossRef]

]. Thus, when several of these sensors are cascaded one after the other, an overlap of the peaks or dips may occur which imposes complex demodulation schemes or severe constraints in the fabrication of the devices [12

12. Q. Shi, Z. Wang, L. Jin, Y. Li, H. Zhang, F. Lu, G. Kai, and X. Dong, “A hollow-core photonic crystal fiber cavity based multiplexed Fabry-Pérot interferometric strain sensor system,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 20(15), 1329–1331 (2008). [CrossRef]

14

14. D. Barrera, J. Villatoro, V. P. Finazzi, G. A. Cárdenas-Sevilla, V. P. Minkovich, S. Sales, and V. Pruneri, “Low-loss photonic crystal fiber interferometers for sensor networks,” J. Lightwave Technol. 28, 3542–3547 (2010). [CrossRef]

]. As it can be seen in Fig. 1, our devices exhibit a single and narrow dip in their transmission. Therefore, the multiplexing is quite straightforward - by setting n sensors in a same fiber n dips can be expected. Figure 5
Fig. 5 Schematic representation for multiplexing n sensors. λni (i = 1,2,3…n) represent the notch position of the i-th sensor in the n-th fiber.
shows a proposed scheme for multiplexing the sensors. In a fiber n sensors can be set in series, all of them can be interrogated simultaneously. To increase the number of sensors in the array two switches can be used. To demonstrate the above concept four sensors were placed in series, the separation between consecutive sensors was around 50 cm. To verify the performance of the sensors when they were in series, each sensor was independently subjected to axial tensile strain. Figure 6(a)
Fig. 6 (a) Normalized transmission spectra observed when four sensors are set in cascade and one of them is subjected to strain. (b) Shift as a function of applied strain observed in the four devices. S1, S2, S3 and S4 refer to sensors 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively, being 1 the notch at shorter wavelength and 4 the notch at longer wavelength. The lengths of the devices S1, S2, S3, and S4 were, respectively, 10.2, 12.16, 11.9, and 11.42 mm.
shows the composed transmission spectra of the series when one sensor was under strain and the other sensors were not. The shift in only one dip is evident; the other dips remain completely unchanged. Figure 6(b) shows the observed shifts as a function of the applied strain in the four sensors of the series.

Owing to the compactness of the devices the separation between consecutive samples can be as short as a few centimeters (~4-6 cm), provided that the cladding modes of the SMF between the PCFs are stripped out. However, in a practical situation the packaging can impose constraints in the separation between consecutive sensors. The maximum number of sensors that can be set in series will depend, among other factors, on the wavelength span of the light source, the parameter to sense, the measuring range of interest and the overall losses. The measuring range will impose the maximum shift expected while the losses will determined the power budget. For example, if the parameter to measure is strain and the range of interest is ± 1000 με, then a maximum shift of ± 3 nm should be considered in order to avoid overlap between consecutive notches. To estimate a realistic number of sensors that can be set in series, let us assume that the insertion loss of each device is 3 dB, a 10dBm-LED with a span of 100 nm as the light source and that the maximum shift expected is ± 5 nm. Under these conditions, approximately 8 sensors can be cascaded if the read-out or interrogation unit is capable of operating with an input power of around −60 dBm. Therefore with two 1x4 switches an array of more than 30 PCF sensors can be implemented. Such an array can be useful in many practical applications.

4. Conclusions

We have introduced a simple and versatile fiber sensor which consists of a stub of PCF fusion spliced with standard single mode fiber. Two collapsed zones with different lengths in a PCF with adequate structure allow the excitation and overlapping of specific modes in the fiber. The resulting transmission spectrum of the devices exhibits a single, narrow and deep notch, whose position changes with external perturbation, thus making possible the sensing of different parameters. As point sensors the proposed devices are attractive since they provide wavelength-encoded information, are compact, highly sensitive and cost effective. In fact they can be considered a serious alternative to existing PCF sensors as well as to some of those based on conventional fiber. We believe that the results presented here, in particular the multiplexing capability, overcome some of the limitations of PCF based sensors previously reported.

The multiplexing of the proposed sensors is quite straightforward given the fact that, when n sensors are placed in series, n dips are observed in the transmission. The dips are independent from each other, i.e. a shift of one of them does not affect the position of the others. With commercially available light sources, switches and spectrometers it is feasible to implement an array with tens of sensors. Thus, the exploitation of the PCF sensors here proposed in real applications seems promising.

Acknowledgements

Guillermo Cárdenas is grateful to CONACYT (Mexico) for a PhD Fellowship. This work was supported by the Ministerios de Fomento and de Ciencia e Innovación of Spain under projects SOPROMAC No. P41/08 and TEC2010-14832.

References and links

1.

J. M. Lopez-Higuera, ed., Handbook of Optical Fiber Sensing Technology, (Wiley, New York, 2002).

2.

P. St. J. Russell, “Photonic-crystal fibers,” J. Lightwave Technol. 24(12), 4729–4749 (2006). [CrossRef]

3.

Y. Zhu, P. Shum, H. W. Bay, M. Yan, X. Yu, J. Hu, J. Hao, and C. Lu, “Strain-insensitive and high-temperature long-period gratings inscribed in photonic crystal fiber,” Opt. Lett. 30(4), 367–369 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

4.

C. Martelli, J. Canning, N. Groothoff, and K. Lyytikainen, “Strain and temperature characterization of photonic crystal fiber Bragg gratings,” Opt. Lett. 30(14), 1785–1787 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

5.

Y. Wang, H. Bartelt, W. Ecke, R. Willsch, J. Kobelke, M. Kautz, S. Brueckner, and M. Rothhardt, “Sensing properties of fiber Bragg gratings in small-core Ge-doped photonic crystal fibers,” Opt. Commun. 282(6), 1129–1134 (2009). [CrossRef]

6.

V. M. Churikov, V. I. Kopp, and A. Z. Genack, “Chiral diffraction gratings in twisted microstructured fibers,” Opt. Lett. 35(3), 342–344 (2010). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

7.

W. J. Bock, J. Chen, P. Mikulic, T. Eftimov, and M. Korwin-Pawlowski, “Pressure sensing using periodically tapered long-period gratings written in photonic crystal fibres,” Meas. Sci. Technol. 18(10), 3098–3102 (2007). [CrossRef]

8.

L. Rindorf and O. Bang, “Sensitivity of photonic crystal fiber grating sensors: biosensing, refractive index, strain, and temperature sensing,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 25(3), 310–324 (2008). [CrossRef]

9.

J. Villatoro, V. P. Minkovich, V. Pruneri, and G. Badenes, “Simple all-microstructured-optical-fiber interferometer built via fusion splicing,” Opt. Express 15(4), 1491–1496 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

10.

J. Villatoro, V. Finazzi, V. P. Minkovich, V. Pruneri, and G. Badenes, “Temperature-insensitive photonic crystal fiber interferometer for absolute strain sensing,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 91(9), 091109 (2007). [CrossRef]

11.

W. Bock, T. Eftimov, P. Mikulic, and J. Chen, “An inline core-cladding intermodal interferometer using a photonic crystal fiber,” J. Lightwave Technol. 27(17), 3933–3939 (2009). [CrossRef]

12.

Q. Shi, Z. Wang, L. Jin, Y. Li, H. Zhang, F. Lu, G. Kai, and X. Dong, “A hollow-core photonic crystal fiber cavity based multiplexed Fabry-Pérot interferometric strain sensor system,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 20(15), 1329–1331 (2008). [CrossRef]

13.

H. Y. Fu, A. C. L. Wong, P. A. Childs, H. Y. Tam, Y. B. Liao, C. Lu, and P. K. A. Wai, “Multiplexing of polarization-maintaining photonic crystal fiber based Sagnac interferometric sensors,” Opt. Express 17(21), 18501–18512 (2009). [CrossRef]

14.

D. Barrera, J. Villatoro, V. P. Finazzi, G. A. Cárdenas-Sevilla, V. P. Minkovich, S. Sales, and V. Pruneri, “Low-loss photonic crystal fiber interferometers for sensor networks,” J. Lightwave Technol. 28, 3542–3547 (2010). [CrossRef]

15.

K. Abe, Y. Lacroix, L. Bonnell, and Z. Jakubczyk, “Modal interference in a short fiber section: fiber length, splice loss, cutoff, and wavelength dependences,” J. Lightwave Technol. 10(4), 401–406 (1992). [CrossRef]

16.

A. Kumar and R. K. Varshney, “Transmission characteristics of SMS fiber optic sensor structures,” Opt. Commun. 219(1-6), 215–219 (2003). [CrossRef]

17.

Q. Wang, G. Farrell, and W. Yan, “Investigation on single-mode–multimode–single-mode fiber structure,” J. Lightwave Technol. 26(5), 512–519 (2008). [CrossRef]

18.

S. Silva, J. L. Santos, F. X. Malcata, J. Kobelke, K. Schuster, and O. Frazão, “Optical refractometer based on large-core air-clad photonic crystal fibers,” Opt. Lett. 36(6), 852–854 (2011). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

19.

Y. Jung, S. Kim, D. Lee, and K. Oh, “Compact three segmented multimode fibre modal interferometer for high sensitivity refractive-index measurement,” Meas. Sci. Technol. 17(5), 1129–1133 (2006). [CrossRef]

20.

W. S. Mohammed, P. W. E. Smith, and X. Gu, “All-fiber multimode interference bandpass filter,” Opt. Lett. 31(17), 2547–2549 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

21.

E. Li, “Temperature compensation of multimode-interference-based fiber devices,” Opt. Lett. 32(14), 2064–2066 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

22.

F. Pang, W. Liang, W. Xiang, N. Chen, X. Zeng, Z. Chen, and T. Wang, “Temperature-insensitivity bending sensor based on cladding-mode resonance of special optical fiber,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 21(2), 76–78 (2009). [CrossRef]

23.

J. E. Antonio-Lopez, A. Castillo-Guzman, D. A. May-Arrioja, R. Selvas-Aguilar, and P. Likamwa, “Tunable multimode-interference bandpass fiber filter,” Opt. Lett. 35(3), 324–326 (2010). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

24.

H. Liu, F. Pang, H. Guo, W. Cao, Y. Liu, N. Chen, Z. Chen, and T. Wang, “In-series double cladding fibers for simultaneous refractive index and temperature measurement,” Opt. Express 18(12), 13072–13082 (2010). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

25.

L. Xiao, M. S. Demokan, W. Jin, Y. Wang, and C. L. Zhao, “Fusion splicing photonic crystal fibers and conventional single-mode fibers: microhole collapse effect,” J. Lightwave Technol. 25(11), 3563–3574 (2007). [CrossRef]

26.

H. P. Uranus, “Theoretical study on the multimodeness of a commercial endlessly single-mode PCF,” Opt. Commun. 283(23), 4649–4654 (2010). [CrossRef]

OCIS Codes
(060.2370) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber optics sensors
(060.4230) Fiber optics and optical communications : Multiplexing
(060.4005) Fiber optics and optical communications : Microstructured fibers
(280.4788) Remote sensing and sensors : Optical sensing and sensors
(060.5295) Fiber optics and optical communications : Photonic crystal fibers

ToC Category:
Sensors

History
Original Manuscript: February 10, 2011
Revised Manuscript: March 26, 2011
Manuscript Accepted: March 28, 2011
Published: April 5, 2011

Citation
Guillermo A. Cárdenas-Sevilla, Vittoria Finazzi, Joel Villatoro, and Valerio Pruneri, "Photonic crystal fiber sensor array based on modes overlapping," Opt. Express 19, 7596-7602 (2011)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-19-8-7596


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References

  1. J. M. Lopez-Higuera, ed., Handbook of Optical Fiber Sensing Technology, (Wiley, New York, 2002).
  2. P. St. J. Russell, “Photonic-crystal fibers,” J. Lightwave Technol. 24(12), 4729–4749 (2006). [CrossRef]
  3. Y. Zhu, P. Shum, H. W. Bay, M. Yan, X. Yu, J. Hu, J. Hao, and C. Lu, “Strain-insensitive and high-temperature long-period gratings inscribed in photonic crystal fiber,” Opt. Lett. 30(4), 367–369 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. C. Martelli, J. Canning, N. Groothoff, and K. Lyytikainen, “Strain and temperature characterization of photonic crystal fiber Bragg gratings,” Opt. Lett. 30(14), 1785–1787 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. Y. Wang, H. Bartelt, W. Ecke, R. Willsch, J. Kobelke, M. Kautz, S. Brueckner, and M. Rothhardt, “Sensing properties of fiber Bragg gratings in small-core Ge-doped photonic crystal fibers,” Opt. Commun. 282(6), 1129–1134 (2009). [CrossRef]
  6. V. M. Churikov, V. I. Kopp, and A. Z. Genack, “Chiral diffraction gratings in twisted microstructured fibers,” Opt. Lett. 35(3), 342–344 (2010). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. W. J. Bock, J. Chen, P. Mikulic, T. Eftimov, and M. Korwin-Pawlowski, “Pressure sensing using periodically tapered long-period gratings written in photonic crystal fibres,” Meas. Sci. Technol. 18(10), 3098–3102 (2007). [CrossRef]
  8. L. Rindorf and O. Bang, “Sensitivity of photonic crystal fiber grating sensors: biosensing, refractive index, strain, and temperature sensing,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 25(3), 310–324 (2008). [CrossRef]
  9. J. Villatoro, V. P. Minkovich, V. Pruneri, and G. Badenes, “Simple all-microstructured-optical-fiber interferometer built via fusion splicing,” Opt. Express 15(4), 1491–1496 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  10. J. Villatoro, V. Finazzi, V. P. Minkovich, V. Pruneri, and G. Badenes, “Temperature-insensitive photonic crystal fiber interferometer for absolute strain sensing,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 91(9), 091109 (2007). [CrossRef]
  11. W. Bock, T. Eftimov, P. Mikulic, and J. Chen, “An inline core-cladding intermodal interferometer using a photonic crystal fiber,” J. Lightwave Technol. 27(17), 3933–3939 (2009). [CrossRef]
  12. Q. Shi, Z. Wang, L. Jin, Y. Li, H. Zhang, F. Lu, G. Kai, and X. Dong, “A hollow-core photonic crystal fiber cavity based multiplexed Fabry-Pérot interferometric strain sensor system,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 20(15), 1329–1331 (2008). [CrossRef]
  13. H. Y. Fu, A. C. L. Wong, P. A. Childs, H. Y. Tam, Y. B. Liao, C. Lu, and P. K. A. Wai, “Multiplexing of polarization-maintaining photonic crystal fiber based Sagnac interferometric sensors,” Opt. Express 17(21), 18501–18512 (2009). [CrossRef]
  14. D. Barrera, J. Villatoro, V. P. Finazzi, G. A. Cárdenas-Sevilla, V. P. Minkovich, S. Sales, and V. Pruneri, “Low-loss photonic crystal fiber interferometers for sensor networks,” J. Lightwave Technol. 28, 3542–3547 (2010). [CrossRef]
  15. K. Abe, Y. Lacroix, L. Bonnell, and Z. Jakubczyk, “Modal interference in a short fiber section: fiber length, splice loss, cutoff, and wavelength dependences,” J. Lightwave Technol. 10(4), 401–406 (1992). [CrossRef]
  16. A. Kumar and R. K. Varshney, “Transmission characteristics of SMS fiber optic sensor structures,” Opt. Commun. 219(1-6), 215–219 (2003). [CrossRef]
  17. Q. Wang, G. Farrell, and W. Yan, “Investigation on single-mode–multimode–single-mode fiber structure,” J. Lightwave Technol. 26(5), 512–519 (2008). [CrossRef]
  18. S. Silva, J. L. Santos, F. X. Malcata, J. Kobelke, K. Schuster, and O. Frazão, “Optical refractometer based on large-core air-clad photonic crystal fibers,” Opt. Lett. 36(6), 852–854 (2011). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  19. Y. Jung, S. Kim, D. Lee, and K. Oh, “Compact three segmented multimode fibre modal interferometer for high sensitivity refractive-index measurement,” Meas. Sci. Technol. 17(5), 1129–1133 (2006). [CrossRef]
  20. W. S. Mohammed, P. W. E. Smith, and X. Gu, “All-fiber multimode interference bandpass filter,” Opt. Lett. 31(17), 2547–2549 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  21. E. Li, “Temperature compensation of multimode-interference-based fiber devices,” Opt. Lett. 32(14), 2064–2066 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  22. F. Pang, W. Liang, W. Xiang, N. Chen, X. Zeng, Z. Chen, and T. Wang, “Temperature-insensitivity bending sensor based on cladding-mode resonance of special optical fiber,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 21(2), 76–78 (2009). [CrossRef]
  23. J. E. Antonio-Lopez, A. Castillo-Guzman, D. A. May-Arrioja, R. Selvas-Aguilar, and P. Likamwa, “Tunable multimode-interference bandpass fiber filter,” Opt. Lett. 35(3), 324–326 (2010). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  24. H. Liu, F. Pang, H. Guo, W. Cao, Y. Liu, N. Chen, Z. Chen, and T. Wang, “In-series double cladding fibers for simultaneous refractive index and temperature measurement,” Opt. Express 18(12), 13072–13082 (2010). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  25. L. Xiao, M. S. Demokan, W. Jin, Y. Wang, and C. L. Zhao, “Fusion splicing photonic crystal fibers and conventional single-mode fibers: microhole collapse effect,” J. Lightwave Technol. 25(11), 3563–3574 (2007). [CrossRef]
  26. H. P. Uranus, “Theoretical study on the multimodeness of a commercial endlessly single-mode PCF,” Opt. Commun. 283(23), 4649–4654 (2010). [CrossRef]

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