Optical fibers with larger incidence angles

A team of researchers has presented a new fiber optic technology that increases the quality of data transfer. The thing is that modernized optical fibers combined with a new light coupling technique help to overcome blind spots that present in large incident angles. Therefore, new optical fibers can be useful in endoscopic and laparoscopic images of higher quality, in quantum technologies and fiber optic systems.

To be more precise, the main application of standard optical fibers includes the telecom field. The signal in the fiber optic cable transmits almost a million times more data than an electric signal does via a copper cable. Additionally, this fiber optic technology is also applied in medicine, for instance, for in vivo researches. Thus, optical fibers used in the endoscopy procedures provide quick and accurate diagnoses.

Nevertheless, large incidence angles lead to the degradation of light coupling efficiency by fiber optic systems. It should be noted that it happens at the incidence angle of 15 degrees. The optical fibers become virtually useless. The new fiber optic technology is based on the dielectric nanostructure made of silicon nitride installed at the end of the optical fiber.

The thing is that this material has a high refractive index and can overcome the current challenge. As for the nanostructure of the optical fiber, it looks like “a ring diffraction grating that makes it possible to catch the light of any polarization and incident from any direction at a large incidence angle.” Moreover, there is another benefit of the new fiber optic system that is the non-absorbance of light compared to previous devices.

These features of new optical fibers enable to enlarge the efficiency of light coupling by almost 10.000 times compared to conventional fibers with a metal nanostructure or without one. Beginning with a simple understanding of the challenge, the researchers have developed a detailed concept to create a perfect fiber optic cable. Finally, the optimal structure design of optical fibers has been produced and already tested by German colleagues.

Nonetheless, the fiber optic system still requires several improvements. The team wants to increase the speed of the system, and make optical fibers simpler and cheaper thanks to the use of nanoimprint lithography. Nowadays the researchers are developing an automatic algorithm to produce a nanostructure design of optical fibers suitable for any specific task.

The researchers claim that such a fiber optic system will be useful for applications that need a remote collection of light under a large angle, for example, quantum technology or in vivo spectroscopy. This fiber optic technology affirms the fact that efficient control of light-matter interaction directly depends on the progress in fiber optics.

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