A novel type of optical fibers leaves behind its analogs

A team of scientists from Great Britain has presented several novel designs of hollow-core optical fibers that demonstrate losses comparable to or lower than those that solid glass fiber optic systems have. Additionally, these optical fibers allow scientists to decrease power losses, they can withstand high lasing intensities used for rick melting or drilling of oil wells.

It should be noted that standard silica glass optical fibers perform the transmission of high-speed optical communications. Nevertheless, light scattering leads to a loss of power fraction during the transmission called the attenuation. Herewith, it is possible to reduce the attenuation of fiber optic systems by increasing the light wavelength. Therefore, some applications of optical fibers transmitted shorter wavelengths are limited now.

A novel type of air-filled optical fibers helps to solve the problem of attenuation. “Since light expands in media with high densities and refractive indices, the ability to confine it effectively – and direct it through a gaseous medium surrounded by solid, glass-like materials as happens in a hollow-core fiber – requires highly intentional techniques.”

These optical fibers are coated with numerous thin glass membranes of a chosen thickness (mirrors for particular wavelengths) to hold the light in the hollow center. Moreover, long membranes prevent light directed from coupling to the light directed in the air. Another design of membranes for fiber optic systems similar to nested shape or nest tubes enables scientists to exclude all modes except for the Gaussian-shaped fundamental mode.

Finally, the hollow-core optical fibers deliver laser beam pulses with high power compared to conventional glass fibers. These optical fiber solutions offer such benefits as the crucial suppression of nonlinear effects and a significant rise in damage threshold. The development of nested antiresonant hollow-core fibers allows for holding and raising the brightness of the launched laser light.

Moreover, the scientists claim that they succeeded to keep the degree of light polarization required to expand current sensing technology and endoscopic fiber catheters. The hollow-core optical fibers have been already tested and demonstrated great results. The application of such fiber optic technology includes quantum-based, semiconductor-based fields, a gravitometer or quantum computer, short-reach data transmission from VCSELs, and high-average and peak-power laser delivery.

Nowadays the scientists plan to commercialize the fiber optic system and make it more accessible. According to them, future improvements will expand the current fields of application, for instance, biophotonics, quantum sensing, and communications. The development of such a fiber optic technology means the appearance of numerous fiber optic cables all over the world.

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