Pre-aligned Optical Fiber Bundle Couplers

LSU Reference: 0544

Inventors:

Description:
  • Our microfabricated, pre-aligned optical fiber fiberports obviate the problems associated with conventional optical fiberports’ size and their tedious alignment protocols

 

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Applications:
  • Optical fiber coupling
  • Telecommunications
  • Optical sensors

Advantages:
  • Our fiberport solves difficult alignment problems associated with light source–to–fiber and fiber-to-detector couplings, and can be fabricated to provide pre-alignment with other optical components.

Abstract: Optical fiber coupling is subject to 3 types of misalignment: longitudinal, lateral and angular — that is, fiber separation, axial offset and tilt, respectively. Such alignment errors add to signal loss through increased reflection, refraction and scattering of the transmitted light beam.Our easy-to-use optical fiber fiberport solves these alignment problems, and does so with virtually undetectable levels of fiber/fiber cross-talk. The fiberport can also be fabricated to contain an integral microlens array to enhance fiber coupling, and the lens profile can be varied from that of simple ball lens to parabolic or even hyperparabolic profiles. Unlike other microfabricated optical components, ours is completed in a single procedure, and the fiberport assembly is perpendicular to the substrate, rather than being embedded in it. This geometry allows easy pre-alignment with other optical components, enabling rapid assembly of fully-developed optical benches that can in turn be integrated easily into platforms such as analytical microfluidic chips. Because any negative photoresist material may be used as a substrate, polymerization may be done with ultraviolet or x-ray radiation, or with collimated electron or proton beams.