Photonic/Optical Materials

Plastic Optical Fibers Photonic/Optical Materials Tutorial

Crystal Grade Materials
Organic NLO Materials

Plastic Optical Fibers

Polymeric materials in general, and fluoropolymers in particular, are being extensively researched for their use in plastic optical fibers (POFs), waveguides, optical filters, fiber gratings, as well as other optical devices.17-19 They offer several advantages over their inorganic counterparts including relative ease of processing, light weight, insensitivity to vibrational stress, low cost, and a wide versatility with respect to their design and synthesis to obtain properties that suit specific device parameters. Figure 2 is a photograph of an archetypical optical fiber. In the case of POFs, fluoropolymers, which have the lowest refractive index, serve as cladding material to maximize the numerical aperture (NA) of the fiber. Numerical aperture is a measure of the optical fibers ability to trap light more efficiently and is quantified as NA = [(n core2 – n cladding2)]1/2. Other issues that must be considered in the fabrication of POFs include transparency at the wavelengths of transmission, thermal expansion matching of cladding and core materials, and thermal stability in the temperature range of operation.20

Figure 2. A photograph of an archetypical optical fiber.

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