CO2 glass ablation technology provides a very high degree of flexibility in the design of optical fiber sensors and optical probes for medical, sensing and industrial applications. In this paper, we review fabrication techniques for the design and manufacture of such devices, including diffusers, lensed fibers and cladding light strippers. We present an experimental characterization of the optical performance as well as a detailed description of the fabrication process for these devices.
Cladding mode strippers are primarily used at the end of a fiber laser cavity to remove high-power excess cladding light without inducing core loss and beam quality degradation. Conventional manufacturing methods of cladding mode strippers include acid etching, abrasive blasting or laser ablation. Manufacturing of cladding mode strippers using laser ablation consist of removing parts of the cladding by fused silica ablation with a controlled penetration and shape.
We present and characterize an optimized cladding mode stripper design that increases the cladding light loss with a minimal device length and manufacturing time. This design reduces the localized heat generation by improving the heat distribution along the device. We demonstrate a cladding mode stripper written on a 400um fiber with cladding light loss of 20dB, with less than 0.02dB loss in the core and minimal heating of the fiber and coating. The manufacturing process of the designed component is fully automated and takes less than 3 minutes with a very high throughput yield.
In this paper, we present an improved graphical user interface for defining single-pass novel shaping techniques on glass processing machines that allows for streamlined process development. This approach offers unique modularity and debugging capability to researchers during the process development phase not usually afforded with similar scripting languages.