This paper reports the measurement of the surface topology of optical fibres containing a fibre Bragg grating (FBG) using an atomic force microscope (AFM). The AFM observation was made on FBGs fabricated via the phase mask technique in germanium–boron codoped optical fibres, in hydrogen-loaded germanium–boron codoped fibres and in standard telecommunications optical fibres. The surface images reveal that a spatial corrugation pattern was induced by the UV- irradiation, with a period that is half of the period of the phase mask. This UV-induced surface structure was found only on the side of the fibre facing towards the incident UV-irradiation and did not appear on the rear surface. The AFM probe scanned a 10×10 μm2 surface area at seven sites along the 6.0 mm length of fibre that was exposed to the UV-irradiation. The amplitude of the spatial corrugation pattern observed on the AFM image was quantified for each site. It was found that the amplitude in a range of 0.7–3.2 nm was a function of UV-laser intensity distribution and the type of fibre. Hydrogen loaded optical fibres exhibited a corrugation with an amplitude twice as large as that observed in the Ge–B doped fibres that were not hydrogen-loaded. This correlates with the increase in photosensitivity produced by the hydrogen loading. A similar UV- induced spatial corrugation was also observed on standard telecom fibres, but without inducing the refractive index change in the fibre core. The observation of surface topology provides an insight into the structural changes induced during FBG fabrication. UV-induced densification and laser ablation could account for the formation of the surfa
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