Optical fiber glass by 3D Printing

The entire global telecommunications is tied together with string—silica optical fiber. Manufacturing this crucial connector is a laborious process, one that a research team in Australia believes it may have re-invented.

Researchers have demonstrated a way to 3D print a glass preform for fabricating glass optical fiber.However, presents a tricky manufacturing challenge, as 3D printing glass requires temperatures of more than 1900 °C.To overcome the heat quandary, the researchers applied a thermal debinding process. The debinding sloughs off the polymer and other impurities, leaving the silica nanoparticles behind, which are held together by intermolecular forces. Kicking up the heat even more, the researchers then fused the nanoparticles into a solid structure that could be inserted into a draw tower to be molded into the optical fiber. The end result was the first silica fibers drawn from 3-D-printed preforms.

The team suspects that this new method could enable the production of incredibly complex multicore and multi-shaped fiber designs for previously unrealizable applications. According to a press release accompanying the work, the researchers are interested in partnering with a fiber manufacturer to improve and eventually commercialize the technology.

News Source: https://www.osa-opn.org

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Post time: Nov-09-2019
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