(also sometimes used, but incorrect: “Kramers–Krönig relations”)
Within the theory of analytic complex functions, general relations have been developed which relate the real part of such a function to an integral containing the imaginary part, and vice versa. Such relations have found widespread application in the area of linear and nonlinear optics. Applied to the frequency-dependent dielectric function ε(ω), they lead to the relation
which is named after Ralph Kronig and Hendrik Anthony Kramers. Re ε(ω) is related to the refractive index (see below), and Im ε(ω) is related to the absorption (or gain) coefficient. The symbol Ω is angular frequency variable running through the whole integration range. The P-like symbol in front of the integral denotes the Cauchy principal value, which requires some care e.g. when calculating such an integral numerically. (Note the pole of the integrand!)
There is a second equation for the imaginary part of ε(ω) (not shown here), calculating absorption at one wavelength from the refractive index at all wavelengths. That equation is much less relevant for practical applications. Both equations combined are called the Kramers–Kronig dispersion relations.
These two forms are not directly related; note that in the first, but not in the second form there is a factor Ω in the numerator of the integrand.
Applications of Kramers–Kronig Relations
The Kramers–Kronig relations allow one to calculate the refractive index profile and thus also the chromatic dispersion of a medium solely from its frequency-dependent losses, which can be measured over a large spectral range. One may, for example, apply this to an optical glass, exhibiting substantial absorption both in the ultraviolet and in the infrared spectral range. Both influence the refractive index in the visible spectral region, where the glass is transparent.
Note that a similar relation, allowing the calculation of the absorption from the refractive index, is much less useful because it is much more difficult to measure the refractive index in a wide frequency range.
Modified Kramers–Kronig relations are also very useful in nonlinear optics . The basic idea is that the change in the refractive index caused by some excitation of a medium (e.g. generation of carriers in a semiconductor) is related to the change in the absorption. As the change in the absorption is normally significant only in a limited range of optical frequencies, it is relatively easily measured. Such methods can also be applied to laser gain media, e.g. for calculating phase changes in fiber amplifiers associated with changes of the excitation level [4, 5]. Note that in the case of rare-earth-doped laser gain media, for example, it is not sufficient to consider only the changes in gain and loss around a certain laser transition, because changes in strong absorption lines in the ultraviolet spectral region are also important.
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