The new optical fiber transmits IR radiation in a very wide range

Researchers from the scientific laboratory of fiber optic technologies and photonics have succeeded to create optical fibers with a diameter of 90 micrometers made from silver and thallium halides for the first time in the world. Additionally, the researchers were also able to produce a fiber optic array from them that allows measuring the thermal field of objects located in hard-to-reach places or an aggressive environment and get an image of it. 

The results of the development are presented in the journal Infrared Physics & Technology. The AgBr-TlBr0,46I0,54 crystals created by scientists allow transmitting infrared radiation in a very wide spectral range (from -200 °C to 1120 °C) and maintaining a high transmittance of approximately 70%.

According to the authors, the width of the spectral range is unique among analogs, which have a lower limit starting from 60 °C, which means that the optical fibers made from them are not suitable for operation at room and negative temperatures.

“The optical fibers created from our crystal system are characterized by high plasticity and strength, so they can be used without a protective shell, it is convenient to transport, and there is no optical loss when bending the laser beam,” emphasizes one of the researchers.

The microscopic size of the optical fibers, as well as their special configuration and assembly in the form of hexagons at the calculated optimal distance from each other, allow scientists to get rid of the “flow” of radiation from one optical fiber to another and crosstalk. This allows for producing a clear image and effectively processing visual information. 

Moreover, the used material is a dielectric, which means that it does not conduct electric current well. Therefore, the transmission of thermal radiation between optical fibers in the network will not cause interference, even despite a strong electromagnetic field.

AgBr-TlBr0,46I0,54 crystals become flexible at a fairly low temperature-200-250 °C, so it is much easier, faster, and safer to make optical fibers from them than using other similar materials. Compact equipment is enough to get them, and the process itself is much cheaper than the traditional one. Such optical fibers and fiber optic arrays can be applied in a variety of fields — science, nuclear power, instrumentation, metallurgy, heavy industry, and space development.

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