Fabrication and development of polarisation maintaining fibres using gas phase etching


Polarisation-maintaining fibres are of considerable interest in the field of optical fibre sensors because of their ability to transmit either of the two orthogonal li early polarised modes over long distances - an extinction ratio of 20dB in 5km of PANDA fibre has been reported (Hosaka et a1 (I)). The fibres owe their polarisation holding performance to the high levels of birefringence designed into the structure. Although the form birefringence of an elliptical core can be used (Dyott et a1 (2)), the fibres are usually made birefringent by doping the silica on either side of the core with materials having different expansion coefficients. The resulting fibre has a birefringence proportional to the anisotropic stress across the core, whose magnitude depends upon the expansion coefficient mismatch and fibre geometry. In this paper, the optimum structure for a polarisation-maintaining fibre is first designed and then a process to make it is described together with typical performance figures. Finally, two techniques are described to enhance the already high levels of birefringence obtainable, and experimental results are given which show how short lengths of fibre can be used as a high extinction polariser, while long lengths of fibre can be used for the transmission of linearly polarised light aligned to one of the axes only - the other linearly polarised mode being suppressed

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