Fink's Cool New Threads
Photonic Bandgap Fibers
February Issue 2
In a tour de force of optical
design, materials development, and process control, Yoel
Finks Photonic Bandgap Fibers and Devices Group in RLE
is now creating a remarkable new generation of optical fibers. These
conductors for light hold the potential of revolutionizing diverse
application areas by achieving unprecedented levels of structural
control over enormous length scales, enabling novel performance.
month, in the journal Nature,
Finks group reported creating the worlds first fiber
that is more transparent than the materials from which it is made.
These fibers were used to guide a high power CO2
laser light. Not only did Finks group transmit the laser with
no damage to the flexible fiber, they demonstrated exceptionally
low loss of power for the wavelength transmitted.
Conventional optical fibers have a transparency that cannot exceed
that of its constituent materials, which tend to be wavelength-specific.
In contrast, the hollow mirror fibers created by a team led by led
by Shandon D. Hart, a graduate
student in Finks laboratory, can be tuned to transmit a variety
Leading to this work was an earlier discovery of a method whereby
highly efficient mirrors can be produced in fiber form. In a work
published last April in the journal Science,
the group reported their development of a materials selection and
fabrication strategy used to demonstrate a polymeric yarn that is
at the same time a sophisticated optical device. These yarns offer
the promise of integrating optical functionalities into textiles.
The cover image is the first attempt to weave these mirror
OmniGuide draw tower.
Middle: Coated fiber drawn
through concentricity monitor. Right: Photonic
bandgap fiber preform.