While low loss splices have been reported using a traditional splicing approach, the very low mechanical strength of the joint makes it difficult to scale. Difficulties in achieving a strong bond are mainly due to the large difference of transition temperature between ZBLAN and SiO2 fibers (∼260°C vs ∼1175°C).
This paper presents results obtained by using the high thermal expansion coefficient of the ZBLAN fiber to encapsulate a smaller SiO2 fiber. A CO2 laser glass processing system was used to control the expansion and contraction of the ZBLAN material during the splicing process for optimum reliability.
This method produced splices between 125μm ZBLAN to 80μm SiO2 fibers with average transmission loss of 0.225dB (measured at 1550nm) and average ultimate tension strength of 121.4gf. The Resulting splices can be durably packaged without excessive care. Other combinations using 125μm SiO2 fibers tapered to 80μm are also discussed.