Integrated cladding light strippers for high levels of light output in the multi-hundred-watt range and ultra-precise measurements with less stray light energy in optical metrology

Both fiber and diode lasers as well as fiber optical beam guides can be disrupted by stray light energy in the cladding (fiber sheath), which can result in expensive downtime. Advanced optical metrology has also a keen interest in minimizing this stray light energy even at low levels of optical output, so as to increase measurement accuracy and measurement resolution. Fibers and optical cables with integrated cladding light strippers (also known as cladding mode strippers), work to reduce misdirected light in the cladding and ensure uninterrupted operation with much-reduced stray light energy.

When launching light into fibers, a common problem is the temporary propagation of light in the cladding as stray light energy. This can be caused by splice losses, geometric maladjustment, and bend losses. Depending on the fiber design, this unwanted light can be propagated along the entire cable in the cladding. For applications needing high levels of performance or sensitivity – like fiber-coupled laser diodes, high-performance fiber laser systems, and optical metrology – this makes it harder to distinguish between the actual signal beam transmitted through the core and the unwanted light energy in the cladding. Heating caused by optical power in the cladding can even prove destructive, causing damage to the cable (at over 100 °C) and is therefore a problem that should be taken seriously.

We have solved the problem of stray light energy with integrated cladding light strippers that can be built into the fiber optic cable itself. Our solution means that excess optical power can be identified and safely dissipated even in the multi-hundred-watt range. Even in low-power applications, such as optical metrology projects, the marked reduction in stray light energy enhances the precision of the measurement, since only the signal actually relevant and required for the measurement is transmitted in the fiber or optical cable.

 

Integrated cladding light stripper in an aluminum housing

Our cladding light strippers can be integrated both into pre-terminated cables and into non-terminated lengths of fiber. During operation, fiber-optical beam guiding has a demonstrably lower temperature (<40 °C) and therefore a much higher life expectancy.

Other methods for eliminating stray light energy, using adhesives or the deployment of an etching technique, offer significantly worse results in comparison with integrated cladding light strippers. An adhesive can be used to change the refractive index on the glass surface of the fiber core, producing an effect similar to that achieved by cladding light strippers. However, adhesives are not suitable for absorbing light energy and dissipating heat. Performance in continuous operation is therefore much worse and output is much less stable than with the integrated cladding light strippers that we supply.

The etching technique involves applying acid to the cladding to achieve a greater level of attenuation in the cladding. Etching produces minor but undesirable quality defects in the glass, however. This reduces fiber stability while also limiting performance and output stability.

Our integrated cladding light strippers do not use any extra materials such as adhesives or acids. As a result, they meet the highest standards (e.g. no outgassing, biocompatibility, etc.) and offer excellent long-term stability.

They are available for all of our fiber types, coatings, with and without buffers, and in all typical materials (incl. PI and high-temperature jackets) and all standard connector formats.

Contact us

Interested in our integrated cladding light strippers? Contact us for your individual offer: fiber-optics@leoni.com.

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