Recently a new way to produce special optical fibers has been presented by a scientist from Brasil. This fiber optic technology is considered to be simpler, faster, and cheaper than the standard technique used all around the world, herewith, it allows for changing the production process of fiber optic systems based on optical fibers, for instance, fiber optic probes, fiber cables or fiber optic bundles.
To be more precise, the standard technique generally needs for very huge and expensive components, herewith, the process lasts about a week. The novel fiber optic technology enables manufacturers to produce compact optical fibers with pretty low cost, and the production of which takes less than an hour from feedstock to end-product.
Thus, it becomes possible for various researchers and laboratories to create their fiber optic systems based on optical fibers. The operating principle is similar to the extrusion technique: a ductile material is exposed to the pressure that pushes it through a die resulting in optical fibers with the necessary inner structure.
It should be noted that the production of such systems as fiber optic probes, fiber cables, or fiber optic bundles requires careful attention to rigor and accuracy. There is a myriad of optical fibers employed all around the world, and the number continues growing. The application of fiber optic technology includes telecom, remote sensing to control such parameters as temperature, stress, pressure, etc.
The benefits of optical fibers (strength and thinness) make them appropriate for use in harsh environments and locations that difficult to access. This is the reason why the production process of optical fibers plays a crucial role. The traditional technique includes several stages and needs for complex systems, for example, fiber optic drawing tower.
The thing is that the new fiber optic technology allows for producing not only all-solid optical fibers but also microstructured fibers with longitudinal holes that lead to an increase in property control and functionality. Microstructured optical fibers can direct the laser beam light with low loss of energy in an air channel.
Thus, the development of the new production technique becomes possible due to affordable and accessible technologies provided by the popularization of 3D printing. The only system necessary for optical fiber creation is regarded as a small horizontal extruder. The researchers have succeeded to create the dies by additive manufacturing thanks to 3D printing because of the complex inner structure of optical fibers. Nowadays it is not a challenge because numerous companies offer additive manufacturing services.
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