We present a large-core single-mode “windmill” single crystal sapphire optical fiber (SCSF) design, which exhibits single-mode operation by stripping off the higher-order modes (HOMs) while maintaining the fundamental mode. The “windmill” SCSF design was analyzed using the finite element analysis method, in which all the HOMs are leaky. The numerical simulation results show single-mode operation in the spectral range from 0.4 to 2 μm in the windmill SCSF, with an effective core diameter as large as 14 μm. Such fiber is expected to improve the performance of many of the current sapphire fiber optic sensor structures.
A type of single crystal sapphire optical fiber (SCSF) design is proposed to reduce the number of guided modes via a highly dispersive cladding with a periodic array of high- and low-index regions in the azimuthal direction. The structure retains a “core” region of pure single crystal (SC) sapphire in the center of the fiber and a “cladding” region of alternating layers of air and SC sapphire in the azimuthal direction that is uniform in the radial direction. The modal characteristics and confinement losses of the fundamental mode were analyzed via the finite element method by varying the effective core diameter and the dimensions of the “windmill”-shaped cladding. The simulation results showed that the number of guided modes was significantly reduced in the windmill fiber design, as the radial dimension of the air and SC sapphire cladding regions increase with corresponding decrease in the azimuthal dimension. It is anticipated that the windmill SCSF will readily improve the performance of current fiber optic sensors in the harsh environment and potentially enable those that were limited by the extremely large modal volume of unclad SCSF.