Potential for broad range multiplexing of fibre Bragg gratings in polymer optical fibres and operation in the 700-nm wavelength range

Khan, Lutful, Webb, David and Kalli, Kyriacos (2013). Potential for broad range multiplexing of fibre Bragg gratings in polymer optical fibres and operation in the 700-nm wavelength range. IN: Micro-structured and specialty optical fibres II. SPIE proceedings, 8775 . SPIE.

Abstract

Refractive index and structural characteristics of optical polymers are strongly influenced by the thermal history of the material. Polymer optical fibres (POF) are drawn under tension, resulting in axial orientation of the polymer molecular chains due to their susceptibility to align in the fibre direction. This change in orientation from the drawing process results in residual strain in the fibre and also affects the transparency and birefringence of the material (1-3). PMMA POF has failure strain as high as over 100%. POF has to be drawn under low tension to achieve this value. The drawing tension affects the magnitude of molecular alignment along the fibre axis, thus affecting the failure strain. The higher the tension the lower the failure stain will be. However, the properties of fibre drawn under high tension can approach that of fibre drawn under low tension by means of an annealing process. Annealing the fibre can generally optimise the performance of POF while keeping most advantages intact. Annealing procedures can reduce index difference throughout the bulk and also reduce residual stress that may cause fracture or distortion. POF can be annealed at temperatures approaching the glass transition temperature (Tg) of the polymer to produce FBG with a permanent blue Bragg wave-length shift at room temperature. At this elevated temperature segmental motion in the structure results in a lower viscosity. The material softens and the molecular chains relax from the axial orientation causing shrinking of the fibre. The large attenuation of typically 1dB/cm in the 1550nm spectral region of PMMA POF has limited FBG lengths to less than 10cm. The more expensive fluorinated polymers with lower absorption have had no success as FBG waveguides. Bragg grating have been inscribed onto various POF in the 800nm spectral region using a 30mW continuous wave 325nm helium cadmium laser, with a much reduced attenuation coefficient of 10dB/m (5). Fabricating multiplexed FBGs in the 800nm spectral region in TOPAS and PMMA POF consistently has lead to fabrication of multiplexed FBG in the 700nm spectral region by a method of prolonged annealing. The Bragg wavelength shift of gratings fabricated in PMMA fibre at 833nm and 867nm was monitored whilst the POF was thermally annealed at 80°C. Permanent shifts exceeding 80nm into the 700nm spectral region was attained by both gratings on the fibre. The large permanent shift creates the possibility of multiplexed Bragg sensors operating over a broad range. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Pellerin C, Prud'homme RE, Pézolet M. Effect of thermal history on the molecular orientation in polystyrene/poly (vinyl methyl ether) blends. Polymer. 2003;44(11):3291-7. 2. Dvoránek L, Machová L, Šorm M, Pelzbauer Z, Švantner J, Kubánek V. Effects of drawing conditions on the properties of optical fibers made from polystyrene and poly (methyl methacrylate). Die Angewandte Makromolekulare Chemie. 1990;174(1):25-39. 3. Dugas J, Pierrejean I, Farenc J, Peichot JP. Birefringence and internal stress in polystyrene optical fibers. Applied optics. 1994;33(16):3545-8. 4. Jiang C, Kuzyk MG, Ding JL, Johns WE, Welker DJ. Fabrication and mechanical behavior of dye-doped polymer optical fiber. Journal of applied physics. 2002;92(1):4-12. 5. Johnson IP, Webb DJ, Kalli K, Yuan W, Stefani A, Nielsen K, et al., editors. Polymer PCF Bragg grating sensors based on poly (methyl methacrylate) and TOPAS cyclic olefin copolymer2011: SPIE.

Event Title: Micro-structured and specialty optical fibres II
Event Type: Other
Event Location: Prague
Event Dates: 2013-04-15 - 2013-04-18
Published Date: 2013
Authors: Khan, Lutful
Webb, David
Kalli, Kyriacos

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