Indium fluoride fiber spans UV-to-IR spectrum

April 1, 2011
As the availability of broadband optical sources that span the UV, visible, and mid- to long-wavelength IR regions continues to expand, supporting optical and fiber-optic components that transmit over a broad wavelength range are needed.

As the availability of broadband optical sources that span the UV, visible, and mid- to long-wavelength IR regions continues to expand, supporting optical and fiber-optic components that transmit over a broad wavelength range are needed. Scientists at IRphotonics (St.-Laurent, QC, Canada) have now developed the first commercially available optical fiber that transmits over the full UV-through-IR range from 0.3 to 5.5 μm. The indium fluoride (InF3) fiber can be used for medical light-delivery and sensor applications, light delivery for thermal curing and materials processing, as the gain medium for fiber lasers and amplifiers, and for defense applications such as IR countermeasures.

Up until now, the best broad-wavelength-range fibers available were zirconium fluoride glass fibers that transmitted between 0.3 to 4.3 μm. The extended wavelength range for the IRphotonics InF3 fiber—which has typical attenuation values of 100 to 200 dB/km-is made possible because InF3 glasses have lower phonon energy than zirconium fluoride glasses, which increases transparency in the IR region. Work is still ongoing at IRphotonics to reduce fiber loss to 30 to 50 dB/km-the same level as zirconium fluoride glass fibers. Contact Ruben Burga at [email protected].

About the Author

Gail Overton | Senior Editor (2004-2020)

Gail has more than 30 years of engineering, marketing, product management, and editorial experience in the photonics and optical communications industry. Before joining the staff at Laser Focus World in 2004, she held many product management and product marketing roles in the fiber-optics industry, most notably at Hughes (El Segundo, CA), GTE Labs (Waltham, MA), Corning (Corning, NY), Photon Kinetics (Beaverton, OR), and Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA). During her marketing career, Gail published articles in WDM Solutions and Sensors magazine and traveled internationally to conduct product and sales training. Gail received her BS degree in physics, with an emphasis in optics, from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA in May 1986.

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