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22 April 2016 Mid-IR fused fiber couplers
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We present results from our recent efforts on developing single-mode fused couplers in ZBLAN fibre. We have developed a custom fusion workstation for working with lower melting temperature fibres, such as ZBLAN and chalcogenide fibres. Our workstation uses a precisely controlled electrical heater designed to operate at temperatures between 100 – 250°C as our heat source. The heated region of the fibers was also placed in an inert atmosphere to avoid the formation of microcrystal inclusions during fusion. We firstly developed a process for pulling adiabatic tapers in 6/125 μm ZBLAN fibre. The tapers were measured actively during manufacture using a 2000 nm source. The process was automated so that the heater temperature and motor speed automatically adjusted to pull the taper at constant tension. This process was then further developed so that we could fuse and draw two parallel 6/125 μm ZBLAN fibres, forming a single-mode coupler. Low ratio couplers (1-10%) that could be used as power monitors were manufactured that had an excess loss of 0.76 dB. We have also manufactured 50/50 splitters and wavelength division multiplexers (WDMs). However, the excess loss of these devices was typically 2 - 3 dB. The increased losses were due to localised necking and surface defects forming as the tapers were pulled further to achieve a greater coupling ratio. Initial experiments with chalcogenide fibre have shown that our process can be readily adapted for chalcogenide fibres. A 5% coupler with 1.5 dB insertion loss was manufactured using commercial of the shelf (COTS) fibres.
© (2016) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
G. Stevens and T. Woodbridge "Mid-IR fused fiber couplers", Proc. SPIE 9730, Components and Packaging for Laser Systems II, 973007 (22 April 2016);

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