Optical fibers are ubiquitous and inexpensive substrates commonly used in telecom, and more recently as a platform for innovative concepts such ‘lab-on-a-fiber’ ones, where multiple functionalities are integrated in the fiber substrate.
One of the challenges for machining fibers is to overcome the substrate curvature, and to achieve high accuracy throughout the volume. Common techniques include the use of index-matching fluids and special fiber holding devices.
Here, we discuss the machining of optical fibers combined with chemical etching using a specific tooling configuration, mimicking the principal of a lathe, numerically controlled down to micron precision. An analysis of the beam propagating through the fiber is used to compensate for optical aberrations, inherent to such geometry. Further, we also show the combination of this process with a CO2-laser morphing technique to achieve high accuracy shapes with optical quality surfaces.