The objective of this program is to advance both capability and efficiency of our optical fiber fabrication through the acquisition of a research instrument that will enable us to rapidly characterize optical fiber directly on their fabrication site. The performance of an optical fiber is determined by its internal physical structure and the distribution of the refractive index across its cross-section. The instrument proposed for acquisition is a refractive index profiler that will provide advanced process control for next-generation optical fiber fabrication.
The intellectual merit is the unique ability of integrating novel materials and nanometer sized structures into optical fibers and the fundamental importance of advanced optical fibers to many areas of scientific research. The program will allow exploration of new physics in fibers with special form factors and material combinations and opens a vast new vista of optical fiber technology. Research areas that utilize specialty fibers include classical and quantum optical communications, fiber lasers, fiber optic sensing, and new bio-medical diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.
The broader impacts are provided through a multitude of collaborations within UCF, other universities, as well as government and industrial laboratories that critically dependent on our advanced optical fiber facilities. Through our educational programs, the unique fiber optics center at CREOL is a key contributor to the training of a skilled and diverse workforce to lead the next-generation optics, photonics, and laser industry.
Submitted on: 2/19/2012 Report for period: 10/1/2011-9/30/2012 Principal Investigator: Axel Schülzgen Agency: National Science Foundation Agency Contract Number: ECCS1126542 Title: "MRI: Acquisition of analysis tools for rapid optical fiber characterization with nm-scale resolution" Organization: University of Central Florida 1. Project Outcomes and Findings Funding of the acquisition of the refractive index profiler, IFA-100 by Interfiber Analysis, LLC, has advanced both capability and efficiency of our optical fiber fabrication and is expected to play a key role in enabling next-generation optical fiber development at CREOL in the coming years. This research instrumentation allows important advancements in fiber fabrication process control, fiber optics component design and testing, and fiber optic prototype simulation and development. The instrument acquisition allows us to experimentally verify refractive index cross-sections of in-house fabricated microstructured and multimaterial fiber, as well as the analysis of optical fibers developed by our collaborators or obtained from commercial vendors. Since the internal physical structure and the distribution of the refractive index across its cross-section determine the performance of an optical fiber, this instrument provides essential data for the design, simulation, and fabrication of fiber optic components and devices for many future advanced applications of optics and photonics. The acquisition of the refractive index profiler created a unique capabilities with unprecedented precision and accuracy in index measurements both across optical fiber profiles as well as along the axis of the fiber creating three-dimensional refractive index maps of complex fiber optic components with applications in high power fiber lasers, and hollow core photonic crystal high power laser delivery fibers, novel bio-chemical sensing architectures, new fiber optic communication techniques, to name but a few. Within the project period we found that the equipment can be utilized to (1) measure refractive index cross-sections of commercial and highly complex microstructured fibers, (2) analyze changes in refractive index during laser inscription of fiber Bragg gratings and thermal processing of optical fibers, (3) determine the wavelength dependence of the fiberâ€™s refractive index profiles, and (4) create three-dimensional maps of refractive index distributions for fiber-to-fiber splicing joints and fiber tapers. The recent investment in fiber optic facilities at CREOL including fiber optic fabrication and characterization tools will have a very broad impact through a multitude of collaborations within UCF, other universities, as well as government and industrial laboratories that critically dependent on our advanced optical fiber facilities. Through our educational programs, the unique fiber optics center at CREOL is a key contributor to the training of a skilled and diverse workforce to lead the next-generation optics, photonics, and laser industry. A number of students (graduate and undergraduate) already used this new and novel equipment while participating in cutting edge research. After the reporting period there have already been two journal manuscripts accepted for publication where data measured with the newly acquired instrument are presented. 2. List of Products After the reporting period has ended in September 2012 there have already been two peer reviewed journal articles accepted for publication where data taken with the refractive index profiler have been presented. It is certain that data collected with this special equipment will contribute significantly to many future journal publications and conference presentations. Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications:  "550 mW Output Power from a Narrow Linewidth All-Phosphate Fiber Laser," P. Hofmann, C. Voigtländer, S. Nolte, N. Peyghambarian, and A. Schülzgen, accepted for publication in J. Lightw. Technol. (2013).  "Strong Bragg Gratings Highly Photosensitive Photo-Thermo-Refractive-Glass Optical Fiber," P. Hofmann, R. Amezcua-Correa, E. Antonio-Lopez, D. Ott, M. SeGall, I. Divliansky, J. Lumeau, L. Glebova, L. Glebov, N. Peyghambarian, and A. Schülzgen, accepted for IEEE Photonics Techn. Lett. (2013).