birefringent crystals

Birefringence is a case of an anisotropic optical property, and refers specifically to materials that have a refractive index (or susceptibility) that depends on the direction of propagation and the polarization of light in a medium. Birefringent crystals can be either uniaxial or biaxial.


Dispersion refers to the case when the spectrum of a beam of light is dependent on parameters such as space or time, which are referred to as spatial or temporal dispersion, respectively. Spatial dispersion is involved whenever you have a grating pair, prism, or other component that physically separates different spectral components of incident lightContinue reading “Dispersion”

isotropic dielectric medium

A dielectric whose polarization always has a direction that is parallel to the applied electric field, and a magnitude which does not depend on the direction of the electric field. SOURCE: McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

mode field diameter

Used in fiber optics, the mode field diameter is the effective diameter of the area that light propagating in a fiber will see

normal dispersion

Normal dispersion means that the higher-frequency components are slower relative to the lower frequency components ie blue trails red; corresponds to positive group velocity dispersion, meaning a positive chirp.


Also known as a transverse magnetic field; in this configuration, the magnetic field is pointing in and out of the “normal”, while the electric field is in the plane of the “normal”.