Friday , October 30 2020

Why you should look after better fiber optics

Why you should look after better fiber optics

Professor Ursula Gibson. Credit: Per Henning, NTNU

Fiber optic research can provide us with better medical equipment, better environmental monitoring, more media channels – and perhaps better solar panels.

"Optical fibers are extremely good at transmitting signals with little loss in the transfer," said Professor Ursula Gibson in NTNU Physics Department.

However: "Glass fibers are good up to wavelength of about 3 microns. More than that, and they are not so good," he said.

And that's sometimes problematic. Telecom uses the infra red part of the wave spectrum because it has lost the smallest energy when going through glass.

But if we could use even longer wavelengths, the benefits would include better medical diagnosis and more detailed environmental monitoring of gas particles in the air. Longer wavelengths could also mean more space for media channels, as the competition is fierce for the wavelengths where free space transfer usually happens now.

Antimonide Gallium

Optical glass fibers are not made of pure glass, but need a core with little other material to transfer signals.

This is obviously quite complex to achieve, and the methods have been gradually perfected over the last 50 years. In NTNU, several research groups have been experimenting with optical fibers using a semiconductor core of silicone antimonid (Si) and galium (GaSb) instead of small amounts of germanium oxide, which is now used in silica fibers. Some of the latest research findings of the researchers have now been presented Nature Communications.

Ph.D. Seunghan Song candidate is the first author of the article in the prestigious magazine. The article "describes a method of making optical fibers where there is a part of the core that contains antimonid gallon, which can emit infrared light. Then the fiber is t a laser is being treated to focus the antimonide, "Gibson said. t

This process is carried at room temperature. The laser processing affects the properties of the core.

Solar cables and cells

Silicon is known as the most frequently used material in solar panels. Along with oxygen, silicon is the most common material in glass cables and glass fiber too.

Gallium's antimonid is less typical, although others have also used the same composition in optical instruments. But not the same way.

With the new method, the antimonid gallon is initially distributed across the silicon. This is a simpler and cheaper way to grow crystals, and the technology offers many possible applications.

"Our results are mostly a step towards opening a larger proportion of the electromagnetic wave spectrum for optical fiber transfer," Gibson said.

Learning about the basic properties of semiconductor materials in glass fibers enables us to make more efficient use of scarce resources such as calcium.

Making silicon-germanium core fibers a reality

More information:
S. Song et al, Laser Restructuring and photoluminescence of GaSb / Si-core optical fibers have been covered with glass, Nature Communications (2019). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-019-09835-1

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Why you should look after better fiber optics (2019, May 23)
retrieved 23 May 2019

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