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Next-generation optical fiber available to purchase from ORC

15 Oct 2014

To mark 25th anniversary, Southampton offering its experimental fibers with special properties to interested parties.

To mark its 25th anniversary, the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at the UK's University of Southampton has announced it is now making available for purchase its next-generation fibers. Systems engineers and researchers will now be able to purchase certain specialty optical fibers that were previously not commercially available.

Fiber types will include: rare-earth-doped fibers with ultra-high dopant concentrations; large mode area fibers; high bend radius fibers; multi-trench fibers; and novel compositions with extreme aluminium or germanium concentrations.

Next-generation fibers developed at the ORC have enabled a number of new applications in the past decade from high-power lasers and laser delivery, to high bandwidth communications, and visible and infrared sensing.

Enabled by investment from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) into the Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Photonics, these fibers are being made available to enable the wider community to access this unique resource as early in their engineering development as possible.

“At the moment the only way to get fiber from the ORC is as part of a full commercial or academic collaboration,” said Professor Sir David Payne, Director of the ORC. “We wanted to enable any organisation to get hold of small quantities of a fiber that the ORC has already made or can easily make.

"As the ORC can now routinely make fiber that far exceeds the capabilities of commercially available product, ORC says the service gives external organisations access to usable samples of the fibers quickly and easily. This will enable engineers to see for themselves how these fibers can enhance their system performance and enable new products.”

As part of the new service, the ORC will hold a small range of research-grade fibers in stock for immediate delivery with the range continually adjusted over time to include cutting-edge fibers not commercially available.

These fibers will be supplied for engineering development and research only. Once an application requires volume supply and the market demand is established, the ORC will work with commercial fiber manufacturers to transfer the fiber to production.

Professor Jayanta Sahu, Head of Fiber Fabrication at the ORC, commented, “If someone wants to get hold of a fiber that was used in a particular ORC research publication, they can now do this. Engineers will now be able to demonstrate the impact of that next-generation fiber on their system performance and can develop experience of working with these new fibers in order to build a commercial case for custom next-generation fiber design. We expect that these fibers will facilitate further industrial collaborations to optimize fibers for an individual application.”

About the Author

Matthew Peach is contributing editor tooptics.org.

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