Advancements of ultra-thin optical fibers

A team of researchers from Germany has developed new ultra-thin optical fibers used for filters in a very simple way. To be more precise, it is possible to tune the color of fiber optic systems, and their compact size and high stability make the optical fiber solution very promising.

These optical fibers find applications in quantum technology and as sensors for temperature or for locating atmospheric gases. Novel optical fibers are as thin as human hair. They are widely used not only for communications but also for the creation of significantly small and reliable sensors.

Herewith, these fiber optic systems for sensing offer a high level of sensitivity for temperature, acoustic or chemical analysis, etc. It should be noted that optical fibers used in resonators and filters play a crucial role in cutting out narrow lines from white light sources. The thing is that these filters based on fiber optic technology consist of “two opposing mirrors tossing light back and forth as precisely as the pendulum of a clockwork.”

Additionally, the mirror separation allows for tuning the color of the filtered light. The researchers install proper high-quality mirrors on the end of optical fibers. Therefore, ultra-thin optical fiber resonators have been developed. They provide such benefits as significantly compact size and reliability.

These fiber optic systems allow for adjusting the color required by controlling the mirror separation. It is possible thanks to the connection the optical fiber ends with mirrors to a common ferrule which can be stretched by a piezo crystal. The tiny optical fibers are very potential for photonics and quantum technologies because of the following advantages:

  • cheap cost;
  • thinness and lightweight;
  • high carrying capacity;
  • long lifespan;
  • low signal degradation;
  • long distance.

Future applications of ultra-thin optical fibers include the ability of fiber optic systems to collect light energy within such a small volume that already single photons can be efficiently collected and controlled. The advantages of fiber optic technology advance the development of compact sensing systems. Additionally, more reliable materials enable researchers to create ferrule tiny optical clockworks with significantly high-frequency stability.

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