Diserpsion is the temporal spreading of a pulse in an optical waveguide (an optical fiber, for instance). Dispersion is what causes a wave to separate into spectral components with different wavelengths.

There are three types of dispersion: chromatic, modal or waveguide.

  • Chromatic dispersion
    • Also called material dispersion, occurs from a frequency-dependent response of material to waves
  • Modal dispersion
    • Occurs when an optical fiber has multiple modes at a given frequency, each with different speeds
  • Waveguide dispersion
    • Occurs when the speed of a wave in an optical fiber depends on its frequency

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