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February 05, 2013

OFS Unveils Method for Fusion Splicing of Silica Fiber, Sapphire Fiber



By Shamila Janakiraman
TMCnet Contributor



OFS (News - Alert), a specialist in the design and manufacturing of fiber optic network products, unveiled a method for fusion splicing of silica fiber and sapphire fiber using a standard S178 portable fusion splicer.

The company provides optical fiber and optical fiber cable connectivity, and FTTX and specialty photonics solutions. Dr. Tom Liang, engineering manager at OFS based in Norcross, Georgia, worked with specialists in The Ohio State University to develop this new splicing method.

Differences in physical properties among the fibers such as thermal expansion coefficients and the 200-degree C difference in their melting points made splicing these fibers difficult. Now, the new method will help extend the commercial application of sapphire fibers to extremely high-temperature instrumentation, said officials.

The properties of Sapphire fibers make them suitable for use in optical sensing in harsh environments and for laser delivery in medical applications. They feature high mechanical strength, hardness, corrosion resistance, and a high melting point (2050 degrees Celsius).

Sapphire fibers are hence used in places where other instrumentation is not acceptable, owing to geometric constraints, electromagnetic interference, chemical or radiological exposure, and risk of explosion or corrosion.

Sapphire fiber-based sensors are used in Bragg gratings that can be inscribed into the sapphire fiber, and sapphire fiber-based extrinsic Fabry-Perot interferometric sensors.

There are, however, some disadvantages in the use of sapphire fibers as they exhibit high optical attenuation and are very expensive. These factors have greatly limited the fiber length between the optical sensor and detector.

The new splicing technique will be effective in letting low-attenuation silica fibers to act as a lead-in fiber, and are hence capable of reducing total optical attenuation.

In December, 2012 OFS announced the dedication of an OFS laboratory at Clemson University’s Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies (COMSET). As recognition for OFS’ gift of optical and optoelectronic research equipment and related chemicals, Clemson will be naming one of its COMSET laboratories OFS Laboratories Optics Industry Lab, where fiber optics research will be conducted in the University’s Advanced Materials Research Laboratory (AMRL).




Edited by Braden Becker
 
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