Polymer jacket stripping of optical fibres by laser irradiation

Snelling, H. V.; Walton, C. D.; Whitehead, D. J.
September 2004
Applied Physics A: Materials Science & Processing;2004, Vol. 79 Issue 4-6, p937
Academic Journal
Laser jacket stripping of the two-layer polymer jacket coating of Corning SMF-28 silica fibres has been studied as an alternative approach to chemical and mechanical techniques. These polymer outer layers, although chemically similar, become discernable through laser ablation and depth per pulse experiments. Etch rate measurements using nanosecond UV excimer laser sources (F2, ArF, KrF and XeCl lasers) reveal that, as expected, the threshold fluence (energy per unit area) for significant material removal drops as the laser wavelength becomes shorter. For some wavelengths and fluences, spontaneous cone formation has been observed, thus providing additional threshold data through apex angle determination. The possible occurrence of deleterious damage to the silica cladding has been assessed using electron microscopy and optical transmission measurements. A wide fluence range over which damage was not observed characterised all the interactions. Irradiation techniques for producing apertures in the polymer coating or complete jacket removal are demonstrated and discussed. Briefly, polymer jacket stripping using a femtosecond laser source (800 nm) has been demonstrated.


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