Originally published at FiberBridge Photonics
Today the technology of CO2 lasers allows fiber end-cap splicing of complex optical fiber structures, splicing of different fiber optic elements to the end face as well as equipping of high-power-capable fiber array arrangements. The thing is that such qualities of CO2 laser power as spatial and temporal control provides the automated, steady, and customized production of sophisticated fused single-mode and multimode optical fiber elements for fiber lasers and amplifiers and laser beam delivery systems.
It should also be noted that apart from splicing flexibility, a CO2 laser enables to offer repeatable and contamination-free heating of various glasses with significantly fewer maintenance requirements. It is necessary to splice large-mode-area and hollow-core optical fibers with careful attention. This is the reason why the splicing process of fiber end caps to these types of optical fibers needs a highly-controlled glass welding, so fiber for CO2 laser heating is considered to be very promising.
This fiber optic technology requires to pay special attention to the precise laser beam delivery within the splicing zone and the accurate adjusting of the viscosity of the glass of the optical fiber and end cap. Consequently, it is required that “a repeatable high-quality fiber end-cap splicing process has a continuous and accurately controlled splicing temperature”.
Thus, a provider of fiber optic solutions from Germany has developed a splicing machine based on the technology of CO2 laser that allows controlling the optical fiber splice temperature in real-time over the entire process. The developed CO2 laser can splice end caps and other fiber optics with dimensions of up to 50 mm. Additionally, it is possible to use a wide range of accessible traditional fiber optics in the market because larger end caps do not need an extra tapered cone.
The CO2 laser has an automatic laser beam delivery system that provides precise alignment of the laser beams within the splicing zone. Finally, such an accurate process control offers perfect optical fiber and mechanical qualities for complex hollow-core fibers and LMA fibers.
The splicing process of several optical fibers to end caps is regarded as a challenging task, however, CO2 laser perfectly solves the problem, therefore, it offers the freedom of splicing multi-fiber arrangements to various fiber optics. Herewith, the splicing area requires to be adapted depending on the number and arrangement of the optical fibers on the end cap to splice several fibers in different arrangements. Nowadays it is possible to splice single-mode, multimode fibers or polarization-maintaining optical fibers.
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