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1 April 2016 Direct writing of fiber optic components in photonic crystal fibers and other specialty fibers
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Femtosecond direct laser writing has recently shown great potential for the fabrication of complex integrated devices in the cladding of optical fibers. Such devices have the advantage of requiring no bulk optical components and no breaks in the fiber path, thus reducing the need for complicated alignment, eliminating contamination, and increasing stability. This technology has already found applications using combinations of Bragg gratings, interferometers, and couplers for the fabrication of optical filters, sensors, and power monitors. The femtosecond laser writing method produces a local modification of refractive index through non-linear absorption of the ultrafast laser pulses inside the dielectric material of both the core and cladding of the fiber. However, fiber geometries that incorporate air or hollow structures, such as photonic crystal fibers (PCFs), still present a challenge since the index modification regions created by the writing process cannot be generated in the hollow regions of the fiber. In this work, the femtosecond laser method is used together with a pre-modification method that consists of partially collapsing the hollow holes using an electrical arc discharge. The partial collapse of the photonic band gap structure provides a path for femtosecond laser written waveguides to couple light from the core to the edge of the fiber for in-line power monitoring. This novel approach is expected to have applications in other specialty fibers such as suspended core fibers and can open the way for the integration of complex devices and facilitate miniaturization of optical circuits to take advantage of the particular characteristics of the PCFs.
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Luis Andre Fernandes, Omur Sezerman, Garland Best, Mi Li Ng, and Saidou Kane "Direct writing of fiber optic components in photonic crystal fibers and other specialty fibers", Proc. SPIE 9740, Frontiers in Ultrafast Optics: Biomedical, Scientific, and Industrial Applications XVI, 97400N (1 April 2016);

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