Monday, January 25, 2021

Microstructured optical fibers find their 3D-printed groove

Advanced laser-printing techniques prove ideal for creating tiny optical communication devices with complex internal structures.


​Small-scale optical devices capable of using photons for high-speed information processing can be fabricated with unprecedented ease and precision using an additive manufacturing process developed at KAUST.

Fiber optics are conventionally produced by drawing thin filaments out of molten silica glass down to microscale dimensions. By infusing these fibers with long narrow hollow channels, a new class of optical devices termed "photonic crystal fibers" were introduced. The periodic arrangement of air holes in these photonic crystal fibers act like near-perfect mirrors, allowing trapping and long propagation of light in their central core.

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Image: Advanced 3D-printing technology can successfully create tiny photonic crystal fibers layer by layer at much faster speeds than conventional fabrication methods.
© 2021 KAUST; Anastasia Serin

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