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New Case Studies Complement the RP Photonics Encyclopedia

Posted on 2024-04-08 as part of the Photonics Spotlight (available as e-mail newsletter!)

Permanent link: https://www.rp-photonics.com/spotlight_2024_04_08.html

Author: Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta, RP Photonics AG, RP Photonics AG

Abstract: RP Photonics started to publish interesting case studies, mostly based on physical simulation models. These nicely complement the encyclopedia articles.

Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta

RP Photonics is famous for its encyclopedia, which offers a huge amount of valuable educational content (with well over 1000 articles). However, our website also features a substantial amount of educational materials outside the encyclopedia, and that part has been substantially expanded in recent weeks. For many years already, we have offered several tutorials, mostly in the context of fiber optics, and now we have a new kind of resources: case studies. You can find an overview of those on the same page as the tutorials.

We also list a few of them here:

Case Studies

case study fiber dispersion engineering

Case Study: Dispersion Engineering for Telecom Fibers

We explore different ways of optimizing refractive index profile for specific chromatic dispersion properties of telecom fibers, resulting in dispersion-shifted or dispersion-flattened fibers. This also involves automatic optimizations.


Case Studies

case study edfa multiple signals

Case Study: Erbium-doped Fiber Amplifier for Multiple Signals

We optimize an amplifier for equal output powers of signals spanning a substantial wavelength range. There is a trade-off between power efficiency and noise performance.


Case Studies

case study ASE in Yb fibers

Case Study: ASE in Ytterbium-doped Fibers

We study various aspects of amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) in ytterbium-doped fibers – for example, why it is different in forward and backward direction, how the fiber length can have a crucial impact, and how the fiber core diameter matters.


Case Studies

case study Raman scattering in fiber amplifier

Case Study: Raman Scattering in a Fiber Amplifier

We investigate the effects of stimulated Raman scattering in an ytterbium-doped fiber amplifier for ultrashort pulses, considering three very different input pulse duration regimes. Surprisingly, the effect of Raman scattering always gets substantial only on the last meter, although the input peak powers vary by two orders of magnitude.


The Nature and Purpose of Case Studies

Case studies are something significantly different from encyclopedia articles and tutorials. They focus on more specific cases than what would be appropriate for an encyclopedia article. In their own way, they can be very enlightening: not only, they can in depth illuminate special cases, but also, they can deepen the understanding of more general concepts. Some examples:

Utilizing Physics Models with Numerical Tools

For quantitatively studying specific cases, we often employ quantitative physical models involving simulations with numerical tools. That approach has substantial merits:

  • It is important to see quantitatively analyzed cases to develop a reliable feeling for how strong or weak certain effects really are in practice. That is often not accomplished by textbook explanations.
  • Many cases would be rather difficult or even impossible to treat with purely analytical means; at least, one would require many simplifications, some of which may be doubtful. The numerical approach often easily allows us to consider all sorts of influences, and find out how strong they really are.
  • Of course, numerical results alone may not necessarily create understanding of the underlying physics, but in combination with some reasoning, e.g. as part of some systematic tests, they can be extremely valuable.
  • We can easily do numerical experiments to conclusively answer various questions. In contrast to real laboratory experiments, numerical experiments are not only far easier and quicker to set up, but also often give far more detailed insight into the internal workings of devices. By revealing the complete evolution of all optical powers and excitation densities within a fiber laser, for example, effectively you get what I once called a “transparent laser”. This leads to a superior understanding it also can boost your creativity, seeing the challenges clearly, you can more easily figure out creative solutions. By the way, RP's own deep expertise has also largely been developed in exactly that way!

Covered Topics

So far, all the cases studies (17 so far) are in the area of fiber optics, where we can use the RP Fiber Power software with its new Power Forms. However, many further ideas are waiting to be realized, and that includes various other areas such as bulk lasers, ultrashort pulses, general optics, dielectric coatings and optical resonators. Within the next couple of months, you can expect to find a substantial amount of new content. (Maybe you want to suggest some topics?)

Integration with the Encyclopedia

Spending an enormous amount of time into working out detailed case studies is worthwhile only if a sufficiently large audience can utilize the content. Our natural way to ensure this is linking the content to the popular encyclopedia. At numerous places in the encyclopedia articles, we now inserted boxes highlighting some case studies and tutorials which fit well to the anticipated reader's interest. A substantial fraction of our readers will realize that it is often very worthwhile to read some related case studies to deepen their understanding of the topic. Maybe they will sometimes directly use the “Tutorials and Case Studies” button in the encyclopedia menu.

We also hope that many will place links to those pages in other resources, for example in online forums and in social media. We will also regularly do some postings.

Our Motivations

You may wonder how RP Photonics can over many years invest so much work into educational materials which are freely used by the public. Well, we obtain substantial revenue in related ways:

  • The outstanding quality and quantity of our website content has a huge user base, which also makes our digital marketing offers more powerful than those of any competitors. A steadily increasing number of suppliers for photonics products realizes that it is vital (and very cost-effective) to actively engage in our RP Photonics Buyer's Guide, using our advertising package. By presenting their product portfolio in a very focused way to our users, they have far better chances to be recognized by buyers than those having only free entries (which do not include specific product information). The growing popularity of our ad package creates substantial revenue for us.
  • The tutorials and case studies can convince many development engineers and research scientists of the great benefits of numerical modeling. Once they realize how much they can benefit themselves from that, they will have noticed that RP Photonics offers great software tools for such purposes – in particular, our RP Fiber Power software, which recently became much easier to handle. Software sales are our second important revenue stream.
  • It is also very useful for us to be widely seen as not only being highly competent in a range of technical and scientific areas, but also is very helpful and able to provide many others with the means to become more successful themselves. Specifically, these means include simulation and design software for engineers and researchers, tailored training courses (mostly for engineers) as well as powerful digital marketing opportunities.

This article is a posting of the Photonics Spotlight, authored by Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta. You may link to this page and cite it, because its location is permanent. See also the RP Photonics Encyclopedia.

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