Optical fiber processing

Optical fiber processing for shaping and joining of optical fibers

At Fraunhofer IZM, a wide variety of fiber optic components have been developed in order to cover the current demand in areas of Telecom, Datacom, Medicine and High-power Lasing.

Optical fibers with different geometries and spectral operation from UV to MIR can be processed to create radial-firing fibers, fused couplers, lensed fibers, bundles, fiber caps, 3D resonators, bended fibers, connections of fiber-to-chip & fiber-to-GRIN lens, etc. Customized CO2 laser processing systems, IR heaters, Vytran cleaver and Fujikura splicer are used as standard tools.

Modular fusion fiber setup

A conventional fusion fiber setup has been adapted to manufacture fiber components with different fiber materials such as large-core glass fiber couplers, evanescent fiber tapers, laser-structured glass bottle microresonators and MIR fiber tapers.

More info: Production of Large-core Couplers

Large-core glass fiber coupler assembled in a stacked glass package. Optical loss of 1.5 dB @ λ=850nm.
© Fraunhofer IZM

Large-core glass fiber coupler assembled in a stacked glass package. Optical loss of 1.5 dB @ λ=850nm.

Laser joining of fibers

CO2 laser-assisted systems offer a non-contact processing method of optical fibers that induces heat over a specific area of the glass material. This allows to manufacture reliable fiber caps, and direct connections between fibers (capillaries) and glass optical (microfluidic) chips. Optical fibers can be also attached to glass elements such as GRIN lens and substrates with integrated optics. Advantage: free-glue optical interfaces.

More Info: Laser joining of fibers

Fused single optical fiber to GRIN lens. fused array of fibers to microoptic substrate
© Fraunhofer IZM

Fused single optical fiber to GRIN lens. fused array of fibers to microoptic substrate

Laser shaping of fiber ends

By using laser processing techniques, the end of glass optical fibers can be also deformed in such a way that several geometries can be defined. For example, convex fiber lenses and inverse-cone fiber are shaped and used for collimation and side-firing irradiation of light.

More Info: Fiber lensing

 

Laser shaped fiber for side-firing irradiation
© Fraunhofer IZM

Laser shaped fiber for side-firing irradiation

Bending of capillaries

Other application of the CO2 laser-assisted systems is addressed to microfluidic connections. Here capillaries with the smallest curve radius can also be bent with a constant internal diameter.

 

Bended capillary with diameter 220µm
© Fraunhofer IZM

Bended capillary with diameter 220µm

Hydrofluoric acid-free fiber etching

Fraunhofer IZM develops an innovative hydrofluoric acid-free etching process to manufacture reliable and robust glass fiber optic components and glass integrated optics. Glass fibers and capillaries are uniformly etched by using molten salts as etchants.

More Info: Hydrofluoric acid-free etching of glass

Etched SMF-28 fiber using molten salts. Etch rate of 0.25 µm/min
© Fraunhofer IZM

Etched SMF-28 fiber using molten salts. Etch rate of 0.25 µm/min

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Glass Etching
Technology Based on Molten Salts

 

 

 

 

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Fiber Optic
Interconnections and Sensors