Direct-Write Microfabrication for Enhancement of Functionality of Optical Fiber Devices

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The improvement of the functionality of optical fiber devices has always been a research topic. In this regard, coating of optical fibers with metal thin films has been considered as an effective approach. We report the deployment of a laser-based direct printing method for pattering of optical fiber Bragg gratings with metal thin films to enhance their functionality. The drop-on-demand and layer-by-layer deposition features of the direct printing methods enable patterning of fibers with customized thicknesses. Using our patented technology, we have established a manufacturing setup for customized pattering of metal thin films on optical fibers. The manufacturing process involves direct printing of nano-particles of metals, e.g., silver, followed by laser sintering. The on-fiber thin film deposition is performed by Laser-Assisted Maskless Microdeposition (LAMM) technology. The sintering of nano-particles is associated with atomic diffusion between particles which is controlled by the temperature increase generated by the laser radiation. We have succeeded in depositing silver thin films with thickness ranging from 500 nm to 10 um on optical fibers with 125 um diameter. We have studied the effect of thin film processing parameters on the mechanical properties of the thin films, i.e., modulus of elasticity and hardness.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 2, Nanotechnology 2012: Electronics, Devices, Fabrication, MEMS, Fluidics and Computational (Volume 2)
Published: June 18, 2012
Pages: 200 - 202
Industry sector: Sensors, MEMS, Electronics
Topic: MEMS & NEMS Devices, Modeling & Applications
ISBN: 978-1-4665-6275-2