Authors: Christophe Lafond, Jean-François Couillard, Jean-Luc Delarosbil, Fernand Sylvain, Philippe de Sandro
Fabrication process of arsenic-sulfide (As-S) and arsenic-selenide (As-Se) optical fibers has been improved to enhance the transmission in the mid-IR region. Typical attenuation spectrum of As-S or As-Se optical fibers shows impurities bands, such as S-H, Se-H, O-H, which limit their operation and cause the increase of the attenuation loss in the mid-IR. Precursors purification methods and glass processing were improved to minimise those impurities bands. Regarding AsS fibers, the attenuation around 2.7 mm is 0.12 dB/m and S-H concentration is lower than 0.3 ppm. In the case of As-Se fibers, the minimum of attenuation located at 6 mm is 0.2 dB/m and Se-H concentration is lower than 0.5 ppm. Efforts have been also made to improve the mechanical properties which are usually affected by several parameters such as drawing conditions or heterogeneous inclusions contained in the glass. The double-crucible method gives high quality core/clad interface and consequently increases the strength of the fiber. Inclusions consist mainly of carbon and silica particles. Those impurities enter the glass from initial precursors and are also formed by interaction with the apparatus material. Thanks to the process improvement, impurities particles are minimized and tensile strengths up to 0.32 GPa and 0.41 GPa are reached for As-Se and As-S fibers respectively.