Polymer optical fiber gratings for microwave photonics and communications applications
With the continuing development of material and fabrication technologies over the last three decades, the transmission attenuation of polymer optical fibers (POF) has been greatly decreased. POFs are advantageous for home networks as well as storage interconnections and have significant advantages for many sensing applications, including high elastic strain limits, high fracture toughness, high flexibility in bending, high sensitivity to strain and potential negative thermo-optic coefficients.
This thesis improved the laser irradiation technology for POF and investigated special grating devices in POF for optical communication, microware photonics and sensing. In particular, we developed fast POF grating fabrication technology with a detailed study and optimization of the polymer optical fiber Bragg grating (POFBG) fabrication parameters. Highlights of the results include an 8 dB uniform POFBG with one single Nd:YAG (266nm) laser pulse (8 ns) based on BDK doped fiber, which is the shortest time ever reported for POFBG fabrication. The irradiation of polymer optical fibers using different materials under 248 nm KrF laser system allowed to demonstrate a better performance compared with 325 nm Kimmon laser system. Furthermore, uniform FBGs in step-index TS doped POF were achieved with less than 1 second by means of controlling pulse repetition and low pulse energy. Finally, the study of low UV pulse power irradiation for fabricating stable gratings allowed to save energy in the POF grating fabrication process, as one of the main goals for mass production.
Based on the improved fabrication technology, we focused on the fabrication of different grating structures: a phase-shifted FBG was fabricated by using two 15 ns 248 nm KrF pulses overlapped by Moiré method; the first tunable chirped FBG was achieved by using a single laser short pulse, which opened the applications based on chirped POF -BGs; also a novel thermal annealing method was proposed to obtain chirped POFBGs based on uniform FBGs, and proved as the ever published most convenient way to achieve chirped POFBG; and finally, long period gratings have been also achieved by using a short time fabrication process, specially when compared with previous research.
Finally, based on the grating devices obtained throughout this work, several potential applications have been proposed in this thesis. Similarly, to silica chirped FBG, chirped FBG in POF have many potential applications in optical communications and sensing area. This document described the potential strain sensing application based on tunable chirped POFBG; also, the thermal detection application in bio-medical systems; and the potential of tunable dispersion devices in optical communications, i.e., dispersion compensation or microwave photonics.