# 2.

Optical Fibers
2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers
The term optical fibers indicates special forms of optical waveguides, the most im-
portant special features of which are:
¾rotationally symmetrical cross-section
¾flexible
¾can be produced in great lengths
The characteristics of optical fibers are determined by a multitude of possible
constructive details. For example, the material selected primarily determines the
attenuation and the thermal stability. On the other hand, the optical bandwidth, in
essence the transmission capacity, is determined by the refractive index profile.
This is most likely the reason why most optical fibers are named after their index
profile. All current variations will be presented in the following sections.
2.1.1 Refractive Index Profiles
The properties of wave guiding through a fiber are governed largely by the profile
of the refractive index of the core and cladding. In a step index profile fiber the
refractive index is constant across the entire cross section of the core and cladding
(Fig. 2.1) while the light rays propagate along straight lines in the core and are
completely reflected at the core/cladding interface.
refractive
index n(r)
r
a
-a
Fig. 2.1: Refractive index profile in a step index profile fiber
38 2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers
The profile of the refractive index in the core and in the cladding is expressed as
follows:
a r for n ) r ( n
a r for n ) r ( n
core
> =
s =
where a is the core radius.
The individual rays cover different distances, so that there are considerable dif-
ferences in their respective transit times. Choosing a fiber with a graded-index
profile can minimize these differences. Fibers with a graded-index profile are
a constant refractive index (Fig. 2.2):
a r for n ) r ( n
a r for
a
r
1 ² n )² r ( n
g
max , core
> =
s
|
|
.
|

\
|
|
.
|

\
|
A ÷ =
where g is the profile exponent
and A is the relative refractive index difference:
2
core
2
2
core
n 2
n n

÷
= A
refractive
index n(r)
r
a
-a
Fig. 2.2: Principle of a fiber with a graded-index profile
Those rays propagating in the center travel a shorter distance, but because of
the higher refractive index there, they travel at a lower speed. On the other hand,
the smaller refractive index near the cladding causes the rays traveling there to
have a higher velocity, but they have a longer distance to travel. By choosing a
suitable profile exponent it is possible to compensate for these differences in tran-
sit time. For negligible chromatic dispersion the ideal profile exponent is 2. One
then speaks of a parabolic index profile.
2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 39
2.1.2 Numerical Aperture
When light enters the fiber's input face at an angle O
max
, it is refracted at an angle
o
max
(Fig. 2.3). Applying the law of refraction we have:
( )
( )
2
max
2 2
2
core max 0
max core max 0
max core max core max 0
n n - 1 n sin n
sin n n ith w , sin - 1 n sin n
cos n sin n
) - sin(90 n sin n sin n
= O
¸ = ¸ = O
¸ = O
¸ = o = O
2
2
core max
0
2
2
core max 0
n n sin
follows 1 n for , n n sin n
÷ = O
= ÷ = O
The sine of the maximum incident-ray angle O
max
is defined as the numerical
aperture A
N
(Fig. 2.3). The angle O
max
is referred to as the acceptance angle, and
twice the acceptance angle is referred to as the aperture angle. Using the relative
refractive index difference A, the value for A
N
is obtained as:
A = O = 2 n sin A
core max N
O
max
n
0
o
max
¸
max
Fig. 2.3: Definition of the acceptance angle
Thus, the value of the numerical aperture (NA) is solely dependent on the diffe-
rence in the refractive indices of the core/cladding material.
Example: The refractive indices of a standard PMMA fiber are n
core
= 1.49 and
n
= 1.40; we thus obtain A
N
= 0.50 and O
max
= 30°.
Whereas the numerical aperture of the step-index profile fiber remains constant
over the entire core, the graded-index profile fiber exhibits a decreasing accep-
tance angle from the center of the core to the cladding (Fig. 2.4).
40 2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers
Fig. 2.4: Acceptance angle of a graded-index profile fiber
Compared with other fiber types (Fig. 2.5), POF has the largest numerical
aperture and the largest core diameter. This is one of the most important advan-
tages of POF, since the connection technology that can be used for POF is more
economical to apply than that used for glass fibers.
10/ 125 μm
50/ 125 μm
100/ 140 μm
980/ 1000 μm
0 mm 0.5 mm 1.0 mm
singlemode glass fiber multimode glass fiber polymer fiber
200/ 230 μm
multimode glass fiber
62.5/ 125 μm
Fig. 2.5: Aperture angle and core diameter of glass fibers and polymer fibers
2.1.3 Ray Trajectory in Optical Fibers
In the step index profile fiber, light propagates along a zigzag path, being totally
reflected at the core/cladding interface; in the graded-index profile fiber, light pro-
pagates on a sinusoidal trajectory that is created within the graded-index profile
through refraction. If the incident light rays lie within one and the same plane
through which the fiber axis runs, meridional rays are formed. In all other cases,
skew rays are formed. Figure 2.6 shows the projection onto the fiber's incident
face. Step and graded-index profile fibers show the same behavior. The speci-
fication of the numerical aperture always refers to the meridional rays.
2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 41
o’
o’
o’
o’
Fig. 2.6: Meridional rays
Skew rays form an angle of v < 90° with the tangential plane at the
core/cladding interface (Fig. 2.7). They never cross the fiber axis and propagate
along screw-like paths. For step index profile fibers, the projection onto the cross-
sectional area resembles a polygonal line so that these rays do not cross a circle-
shaped area having a radius r
k
around of the axis.
v
v
r
k
Fig. 2.7: Skew rays in step index profile fibers
In graded-index fibers with a parabolic profile, ellipses are formed in the pro-
jection (Fig. 2.8 left) that may under certain circumstances form circles; these rays
are called helical rays (Fig. 2.8 right). Their distance from the fiber axis is always
constant.
Fig. 2.8: Helical rays (left) and skew rays (right) in graded-index profile fibers
42 2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers
2.1.4 Modes in Optical Fibers
2.1.4.1 The Mode Concept
The phenomena of refraction and reflection discussed so far can be graphically
explained with the help of geometrical optics, whereby the size of the wavelength
and the diameter of the finite ray are not considered (ì and d
ray
= 0). However, to
obtain a complete description of the wave guiding phenomenon, the wave pro-
perties of light must also be considered. The goal is to calculate the electric field
and intensity distribution of the light in the optical fiber. The Eigenvalue equation
is derived and solved on the basis of the Maxwell equations. Ref. [Blu98] provides
a detailed description. The solutions to the Eigenvalue equations are a finite
number of field distributions within the light waveguide. These field distributions
are referred to as modes of the waveguide. If we apply this concept to the ray
model, this means that apparently not all incidental rays for which O < O
max
is true
can propagate, but rather only those rays that have a particular angle. Figure 2.9
illustrates this situation: in order for light to propagate in a particular direction, a
wave must constructively overlap itself with its own reflecting wave in such a way
that the phase position is repeated after double reflection. The black lines
perpendicular to the direction of propagation identify the planes with the same
phase angle. The spacing is ì/n
core
.
electrical field
transverse direction
d
ì/n
core
Fig. 2.9: Formation of the mode structure within the waveguide
Whereas the zigzag paths would lead to intensity distributions within the ray-
optical model that would change depending on the length of the fibers, the wave
model provides a constant light-dark distribution that is independent of the length
across the waveguide's cross-section.
The number N of the guided modes is approximately described by:
2
V
2 g
g
2
1
N
+
~
where V = 2t a A
N
tion 1.1.5).
For step-index profiles g ÷ ·. This results in a value of N ~ ½ · V² for the
number of modes. For parabolic profiles g = 2 and thus N ~ ¼ · V². A polymer op-
2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 43
tical fiber with A
N
= 0.5, a core radius of 0.5 mm and a wavelength of ì = 650 nm
can carry 2.9 million modes. If the angle of total reflection is exceeded, radiation
modes are created and the light is radiated into the cladding. If the refractive index
of the cladding is higher than the surrounding medium (air, for example), cladding
modes may be formed. In the POF, the optical cladding is encased in an absorbing
jacket so that no cladding modes can form. In contrast to guided modes, it is not
possible to count radiation modes. They do not take part in signal transmission.
(Fig. 2.10 special conditions for POF are explained below). Higher modes propa-
gate under a larger angle, lower modes under a smaller one. Under certain circum-
stances skew rays may turn into so-called leaky waves, which, on the one hand,
are guided in the Z-direction and, on the other hand, transfer energy to the
cladding. Under certain conditions they can still be detected in POF even after
several 10s of meters. Hence, they can influence both the transmission process as
well as the measuring techniques used.
higher mode
lower mode
The following equation describes the relationship between the angles o, v and
o in Fig. 2.11 ([Sny83]):
ȥ sin sin cos o = o
o is the angle of the incident and reflected ray relative to the surface normal of
the tangential plane in P. v describes the angle between the reflection plane and
the tangent plane, and o is the angle between the projection of the skew ray on the
cross-sectional plane and the direction of propagation (parallel to the fiber axis).
Figure 2.12 summarizes the various ray types according to the respective angles
derived from the above equation ([Bun99a]). For guided rays holds o < o
max
and o
> o
max
. The leaky waves are shown in the subsequent rectangle while the ray
modes are shown above the line o = o
max
. For meridional rays o = 90° - o because
v = 90°, i.e. they lie on the blue line.
44 2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers
o
o
P
v
o
Fig. 2.11: Designation of the angles of a skew ray; the right diagram shows the angle o,
which is obtained by projecting the skew ray on to the cross-sectional plane
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 90 80
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
90
80
o
max
o
max
v = 90°
v = 60°
v = 45°
v = 30°
o [°]
inside this triangle there
are the guided rays
inside this rectangle there
are the leaky modes
inside this triangle there
meridional
rays
o [°]
Fig. 2.12: The different types of rays
2.1.4.2 Mode Propagation in Real Fibers
Several chapters of this book discuss the special characteristics of light propa-
gation in POF. Here now, the processes that need to be considered will be looked
at as a whole. The function of fibers as a waveguide for passing on light by means
If the ray model were applied consistently, then a light ray launched into an
ideal fiber would always propagate at the same angle relative to the fiber axis.
With a divergent light source, the far field would always remain constant along the
length of the fiber. This would not be true for the near field, as Fig. 2.13 illus-
trates: depending on the course of the ray, different locations along the fiber would
2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 45
generate different near fields in the form of point structures. However, this contra-
dicts the results obtained through experiments: there a continuous distribution of
intensity is obtained, and from a certain length onwards the intensity does not
change at all. Although the ray model is very illustrative, its practical application
is limited as the example above shows. In order to be able to describe experi-
mental results it is thus necessary to move on to the mode concept. In this respect
it is important to keep in mind that many optical simulation programs work on the
basis of discrete light rays. In order to obtain truly realistic results, a sufficient
number of rays has to be simulated.
nearfield (very schematically)
only a few launched discrete modes
Fig. 2.13: Near fields under conditions of the ray model with only a few discrete light
paths (in practice very difficult to measure and visible only on very short
lengths)
2.1.5 Parameters for Describing Real Fibers and Waveguides
In order to describe the characteristics of real fibers and waveguides different
parameters are defined which vary in importance depending on their respective
application. All of these parameters are influenced by the propagation conditions
of the different modes. In the case of multimode fibers most characteristics depend
typically on the mode distribution. This means that a fiber initially allows the
propagation of light in different paths (modes). Depending on the light sources at
the front end of the fiber, not all these modes are launched, at least not with a uni-
form power distribution. Since each mode has different characteristics, an altered
behavior of the fiber is on average the result. In addition, the problem becomes
more complicated since an exchange of energy between the modes can occur over
the length.
Typical fiber characteristics will be defined and explained in the following
sections. Uniform Mode Distribution (UMD) and Equilibrium Mode Distribution
(EMD) are the usual standard measuring conditions.
46 2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers
2.1.5.1 Attenuation
The most important process encountered by light as it passes through a fiber is at-
tenuation. When passing through an optical fiber of the length L, the power of the
light decreases (Fig. 2.14). The following equation applies to the optical power:
L
0 L
e P P
o' ÷
=
where P
L
and P
0
are the power of the light after passage through a fiber of
length L in km and at the front end of the fiber, respectively; o´ is the value of the
attenuation coefficient in km
-1
.
P
0
P
L
L
Fig. 2.14: Definition of attenuation
To make it easier to work with the numbers involved here, it is usual to express
attenuation logarithmically. Thus, the attenuation coefficient is expressed as o in
dB/km.
o' = = o 343 , 4
P
P
log
L
10
L
0
Attenuation value a is the non-dimensional variable (given as a number or in
dB) obtained from the product o · L. Figure 1.19 illustrates the relationship bet-
ween the attenuation value and the change in power as a percentage.
0 5 10 15 20 25 30
0.1 1 10 100
power ratio P
L
/P
0
[%]
attenuation factor a [dB]
Fig. 2.15: Conversion of the power ratio P
L
/P
0
in % into the dB value
Very often there is not a clear differentiation in the technical literature between
attenuation per unit length o and attenuation factor a. One often speaks simply of
the attenuation of the fiber. The addition “spectral” refers to the wavelength
dependence. A mistake is avoided, however, when the unit is indicated. We still
have to mention that attenuation and attenuation per unit length are practically
always indicated as positive numbers.
2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 47
Quantity Symbol Unit Formula
attenuation coefficient, lin. o´ km
-1
{ln (P
0
/P
L
)}/L
attenuation coefficient, log. o dB/km {10log (P
0
/P
L
)}/L
attenuation a dB 10log (P
0
/P
L
)
Especially in the area of optical short-range communication, indicating the fiber
attenuations in dB is much more practical than, for example, representing the ab-
solute transmission. POFs are being used more and more in the near infrared range
for quite short transmission lengths. Finally, PMMA can also be used for wave-
guide structures in the mm range. Fig. 2.16 shows the attenuation curve of a
PMMA-POF according to [Hess04].
500 600 700 800 900 1000
attenuation [dB/km]
wavelength [nm]
10
100
1,000
10,000
30
300
3,000
100,000
30,000
theory
measured
Fig. 2.16: Attenuation spectrum of the PMMA-POF (theory and measured by [Hess04])
Nevertheless, the representation comprises approximately 3 decades, i.e. a fac-
tor of 1,000 which cannot be overlooked on a linear scale.
2.1.5.2 Mode-Dependent Attenuation
When talking about glass fibers, it is often assumed that the attenuation of all light
rays is identical. For practical purposes, this assumption is sufficiently accurate.
With POF, the path difference between the rays parallel to the axis and the propa-
gation directions close to the critical angle of total reflection can become quite
large. For the standard NA-POF with A
N
= 0.50 this difference is about 6%. For
polycarbonate fibers with A
N
= 0.90, the difference is even 21%. For this reason
alone, there is a considerably greater level of attenuation where large propagation
48 2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers
angles are involved. In 100 m of POF, a light ray of this type will travel 6 m
farther which results in an additional loss of more than 1 dB when the attenuation
level is 200 dB/km. At 1,000 dB/km for polycarbonate fiber, this would result in
an additional loss of 4 dB after 20 m of travel (less than 50% of the launched
power reach the fiber output).
The second, more significant cause for mode-dependent attenuation is the
attenuation resulting from the cladding material. Fluorinated polymers are used as
optical cladding for PMMA fibers; these claddings may have an attenuation of
several 10,000 dB/km [Paar92]. Locking more exactly on the propagation of a
plane wave at the interface, we find that, even if total reflection results, the electri-
cal field escapes into the optically thinner medium by a distance in the order of
magnitude of the wavelength. This process is also known as the Goos-Hänchen
Shift ([Bun99a]) and the model explains this as resulting from a shift of the reflec-
tion plane into the optically thinner medium. The reflected ray is hence slightly
displaced on the interface surface, as can be seen in Fig. 2.17. In this model, the
additional light path would be subjected to the higher attenuation of the cladding
material.
core
area of higher
attenuation
Fig. 2.17: Goos-Hänchen shift
Although the light path in the cladding is only in the um range for each reflec-
tion, it still plays a significant role because of the much higher attenuation encoun-
tered there. This effect is particularly striking when the core diameters are reduced
in size. Theoretically speaking, attenuation and bandwidth should not be depen-
dent on the core diameter. Nevertheless, thin cores such as those used in multi-
core fibers have indeed considerably larger bandwidths [Tesh98], a slightly
increased attenuation and narrower far-field widths. These effects are explained
quite well in [Bun99b] and [Ziem99c].
This effect also occurs in glass fibers. Silica glass fibers with a polymer
cladding (PCS) have losses in the core below 10 dB/km (wavelength range from
650 nm to 1,300 nm), whereas the polymer cladding has an attenuation of several
100 to 1,000 dB/km.
Attenuation values of 180 dB/km for the core and 9,000 dB/km for the cladding
are indicated in [Ebb03] for step index profile glass-glass fibers (used in fiber
bundles). Reasonably priced conventional glasses - albeit much purer than in win-
dow glass - are used in these fibers and not silica glass.
In singlemode and graded-index profile silica fibers there are no mentionable
differences in attenuation between the core and the cladding since both consist of
2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 49
Si0
2
. The germanium dopant in the core does not have any great influence. An
important consequence of the mode-dependent attenuation is, as will be discussed
later on, a significantly narrower far field after greater fiber lengths than one
would expect from the fiber NA.
2.1.5.3 Mode Coupling
The term mode coupling refers to the process by which energy from one direction
of propagation is transferred to several others. This can happen, for example at
scattering centers. Since the light scattering in a PMMA-POF makes up a con-
siderable part of the attenuation, this process is always present. Figure 2.18
clarifies the procedure (still in the ray model).
scattering center
Fig. 2.18: Mode coupling at a scattering center
Many experimental results clearly indicate that mode coupling occurs predomi-
nately at the core/cladding interface (Fig. 2.19). This can be explained by the fact
that is it not possible to create an ideal surface in the sub-nanometer range when
very large polymer molecules are involved. Thus, mode coupling is also depen-
dent on the angle of propagation.
scattering
center
core
Fig. 2.19: Mode coupling at the core/cladding interface
Mode coupling alters the bandwidth of a fiber. When collimated light is
launched, energy is gradually transferred to the higher angle ranges so that mode
dispersion increases and bandwidth decreases. If light is introduced in all angle
ranges, so that maximum differential delays occur, energy is exchanged between
the angles so that the initially slower rays become “faster” and vice versa. Accor-
50 2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers
ding to the laws of statistics, the differential delay (or more precisely, the standard
deviation) does not increase in a linear relationship to the length but approxi-
mately only proportional to the square root of the length. This applies to lengths in
excess of a characteristic coupling length, which for PMMA-POF is generally
several 10 m.
Mode coupling always results in additional attenuation. Whenever there are
changes in the light propagation, energy is coupled into those angle ranges in
which there is no longer any light guiding. The shorter the coupling length, the
larger the additional attenuation will be. If the observed behavior of the POF,
namely the filling up of the near field after a few 10 cm of fiber, could be ex-
plained exclusively because of the mode coupling, then additional attenuations in
the range of 1000 dB/km would result - which indeed does not occur.
Figure 2.20 shows an electron microscope picture of the core-cladding interface
layer (photo ZWL, 2003). The marked smooth part running from the top left to the
bottom right is the surface of the core with the cladding removed. At the top right
you can see the cracked core. The step is the 10 μm thick optical cladding. Further
theoretical considerations on the problems of scattering can be found in [Kru06a]
and [Kru06b].
Fig. 2.20: Photo of the core-cladding interface of SI-POF taken by electron microscope
(ZWL Lauf)
2.1.5.4 Mode Conversion
The definition of propagation angles or of modes actually applies only to wave-
guides that are straight. It takes just one bend to make a different approach neces-
sary. The most precise method would be to recalculate the modes for the system of
the now bent fiber; however, this is theoretically and practically much too com-
plex a process. It is more appropriate to consider the zone before and after the
bend as a straight waveguide and, at the bend, to perform a transformation onto
the new reference axis. Formally, light is thus transmitted from one propagation
direction to another, as Fig. 2.21 demonstrates.
2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 51
fiber axis in front of a bend
fiber axis behind
a bend
new propagation angle
Fig. 2.21: Mode conversion at a bend
Strictly speaking, mode conversion can be described as a special case of mode
coupling. The difference is that the number of modes or the propagation directions
is not increased. In the POF mode conversion most likely occurs at the core/clad-
ding interface surface, for example at micro bends or at fluctuations in the re-
fractive index difference. The question of the influence of mode conversion and
coupling on the additional attenuation depends essentially on the angle depen-
dency of the processes. The more the direction of the light is altered, the more los-
ses occur. A quantitative analysis of these processes for POF is extremely difficult
and is yet to be carried out. However, for the physical processes assumed, mode
coupling should have a larger angle-independent contribution (scattering on larger
inhomogenities).
Fig. 2.22: Far fields of different POF (product A/B at the top/bottom); left/right after
20 m/50 m of fiber, launch with collimated light (A
N Launch
< 0.016)
52 2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers
An impressive experiment that confirmed this statement was shown in [Poi00].
If collimated light is launched into a SI-POF, a ring-shaped far field can be gene-
rated at the output even after 50 m of fiber, for which purpose the fiber might be
properly bent. This experiment can only be explained under the assumption that
mode conversion predominates. However, the different fibers made by different
manufacturers show considerable differences in their behavior which do not
necessarily have an effect on attenuation.
It is easy to see here that the mode field is not completely filled even after 20 m
to 50 m (Fig. 2.22).
2.1.5.5 Mode Coupling Lengths
The length of a fiber in which a state of equilibrium arises through mode conver-
sion and coupling is described as coupling length whereby different definitions
exist. The best known is the description with the aid of a length-dependent band-
width. Here the coupling length is the point at which the linear decrease in the
bandwidth turns to a root dependency (see Fig. 2.36). In practice this point is diffi-
cult to measure, but other parameters such as far field width and attenuation,
change with fiber length. For example, values for the kilometric attenuation with
different launch conditions are shown In Figures 2.23 and 2.24.
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
l
POF
[m]
o [dB/km]
1 10 100 2 20 5 50
fiber “A”
source “I”
source “II”
source “III”
source “IV”
Fig. 2.23: Attenuation of a SI fiber under different excitation (acc. to [Lub02b])
Both diagrams show very clearly that the different launch conditions (source I
emits very widely, source IV nearly collimated) lead to extremely different attenu-
ation values. After some ten meters, however, the differences disappear for the
most part through mode coupling. Evidently, there are great differences among the
fiber types.
2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 53
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
l
POF
[m]
o [dB/km]
1 10 100 2 20 5 50
fiber “B”
source “I”
source “II”
source “III”
source “IV”
Fig. 2.24: Attenuation of another SI-fiber at different launch conditions
The next two figures 2.25 and 2.26 show measurements of far field widths for a
POF and a PCS each with altered launch conditions. Once again it can clearly be
seen how the differences caused by the different coupling conditions are evened
out after some 10 to 100 m.
10
12
14
16
18
20
22
24
26
28
30
32
far field width [°]
POF length [m]
100 5 50 20
PMMA SI-POF
0.64
0.48
0.33
0.19
0.09
0.05
NA
Launch
:
Fig. 2.25: Launch dependent far field widths of a PMMA SI-POF
In the 200 μm thick PCS it takes considerably longer to establish the equili-
brium mode distribution especially when the length is related to the fiber diameter.
The values of the NA (calculated from the 5% far field width) are represented for
lengths up to 500 m.
54 2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers
0.10
0.15
0.20
0.25
0.30
0.35
0.40
1 10 100 1000
measured NA
fiber length [m]
A
N
= 0.02
A
N
= 0.09
A
N
= 0.17
A
N
= 0.26
A
N
= 0.34
A
N
= 0.48
Fig. 2.26: Excitation dependent far field width of a 200 μm-PCS
In general, the mode coupling length is characterized as the distance in which a
parameter has come closer by 1/e to the state of equilibrium. For example, this
corresponds to the charging time constants of a capacitor. One cannot therefore
say that EMD conditions exist after one coupling length. Depending on how large
the tolerated deviations are, several coupling lengths have to be considered.
Figure 2.27 shows the theoretical curve of a parameter.
100
200
300
400
500
600
mode dependent fiber parameter [a.u.]
characteristic at L
c
= 100 m
equilibrium mode value
10 100 1000 50 200 20 500
fiber lenght [m]
parameter
deviation for
short fibers
parameter
deviation for
1, 2 und 3 × L
c
Fig. 2.27: Approximation of an optical parameter to the equilibrium value by mode coup-
ling (schematically)
2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 55
2.1.5.6 Leaky Modes
The significance of leaky modes has already been touched upon earlier. For the
sake of completeness, it should be noted here again that light rays that lie above
the critical angle of the total reflection do not entirely vanish but still contribute
significantly to light propagation even after several 10s of meters.
Not until we examine the interaction of attenuation, mode-dependent attenu-
ation, mode coupling and mode conversion and take leak modes into account, can
we establish a model for the light propagation of SI polymer fibers that can at least
qualitatively describe the experimentally observed behavior. In principle, the same
processes take place in GI-POF; however there are basic differences:
¾ With GI-POF, there is no core/cladding transition to serve as an essential
cause for mode coupling, mode conversion, and mode-dependent attenuation.
¾ Fluorinated GI-POF are used in wavelength ranges in which Rayleigh
scattering is less significant.
¾ To form the index profile, various zones of the fiber, as seen from the axis,
are provided with varying concentrations of a dopant or a copolymer so that
the attenuation usually gets a gradient. This is probably the most significant
cause of mode-dependent attenuation in GI-POF.
Yabre and Zubia made comprehensive observations on mode propagation in
GI-POF [Yab00a], [Yab00b], [Arr99], [Arr00].
The problem of mode coupling and mode conversion is sure to be very inte-
resting for multi step index fibers. Bandwidths could result that are larger than
what is theoretically expected. Some different theoretical investigations were
made in cooperation between the POF-AC and the University of Bilbao (Spain).
More details will be given in the fiber simulation chapter.
As the example of the multi-core fibers shows, mode-dependent attenuation can
be used to exchange attenuation for bandwidth. Less attenuating cladding would
reduce the overall attenuation of the POF, but more than likely also reduce the
bandwidth (always assuming equilibrium mode distribution). The future will
decide which parameter is of greater significance for users. If the transmission
budget is sufficiently large, it would be possible to increase the bit rate though
multi-level coding or by electrically compensating the dispersion so that a reduc-
tion in attenuation is the minimum goal to be targeted in this field.
2.1.5.7 Dispersion in Optical Fibers
Dispersion refers initially to all processes that result in a difference in the transit
times of various modes. One mode is thereby always a propagation condition of
the light that is uniquely defined by the wavelength, polarization, and propagation
path.
Differential delays between the various light components lead to a reduction in
the modulation amplitude of higher frequencies. This makes the fiber a low-pass
filter.
56 2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers
The bandwidth of a fiber communication transmission system is usually con-
sidered to be the frequency for which the optical level of a sine-modulated signal
has dropped by 3 dB. Strictly speaking this approach only applies to a Gaussian
low-pass filter. This means that a pulse of insignificant width will correspond to
the Gauss function after it has traveled the length of the fiber:
( ) f f -
0
2
0
2
e ) f ( P ) f ( P =
where P(f) is the power of a random frequency f at the end of the measuring
path, P
0
(f) is the launched power and f
0
is a constant that describes the bandwidth.
Figure 2.28 illustrates the process schematically.
b)
c)
a)
P
0
(f)
e)
P(f)
d)
time t
pulse response
Fig. 2.28: Effect of dispersion on a sine-wave signal
Curve 'a' shows the sine-modulated source optical signal (it must be noted that
optical power can only take positive values). Figure 'b' shows how a single pulse
approaching a Gaussian function after traveling through the fiber. This is a theore-
tical borderline case because the Gaussian function extends from -· to +·, but the
output pulse cannot begin before the input pulse has started. To measure the shape
of the complete output signal, the input signal can be split into a series of pulses,
as shown in Fig. 'c'. After traveling through the fiber, every pulse forms a Gaus-
sian function of the respective height (Fig. 'd'). These have to be brought together
again to achieve the result in curve 'e' (mathematically speaking, this is a convolu-
tion of the input pulse with the so-called pulse response of the transmission link).
2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 57
It is easy to see that the amplitude of the signal has decreased. Attenuation of
the light has not been taken into consideration.
A short light pulse is briefly broadened when it travels the length of a fiber
(Fig. 2.29) and this in turn reduces the transmission bandwidth.
optical
input
power
optical
fiber
time
time
optical
output
power
100 %
50 %
t
in
100 %
50 %
t
out
Fig. 2.29: Pulse broadening by passing an optical fiber
If Gaussian-shaped pulses are assumed, the result of the pulse broadening At is
the square root of the difference of the squares of the input and output pulse width
(FWHM full width at half maximum):
2
in
2
out
t t t ÷ = A
The consequence of this broadening is that the time gap between the bits
becomes smaller, that the pulses finally overlap and that the receiver can no longer
differentiate between the two. The transmission bandwidth is limited as the light
waveguide functions as a low-pass filter. The product of bandwidth and length
characterizes the transmission capacity of a fiber. [Gla97] applies to Gaussian-
shaped pulses:
L
t
44 . 0
L B
A
~
Pulse broadening is caused by mode dispersion and chromatic dispersion. For
multimode fibers it is necessary to consider the factors of material, modes and pro-
in singlemode fibers, whereas profile dispersion and mode dispersion do not.
All the kinds of dispersion appearing in optical fibers are summarized in
Fig. 2.30. The mechanisms dependent on the propagation paths are marked in
yellow, whereas the wavelength-dependent processes are marked in green.
58 2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers
dispersion
modal dispersion
(multimode fibers)
chromatic dispersion
(multimode and singlemode fibers)
profile
dispersion
(multimode fibers)
material dispersion
(multimode and
singlemode fibers)
waveguide dispersion
(singlemode fibers)
polarization mode dispersion
(singlemode fibers)
Fig. 2.30: Dispersion mechanisms in optical fibers
In regard to the fibers and applications dealt with in this book only mode and
chromatic (material) dispersion play a role so that the following sections deal
solely with these two effects.
2.1.5.8 Mode Dispersion
Since the light paths have different lengths, the pulses that have started simultane-
ously arrive at different times at the fiber's output, a fact that leads to pulse broa-
dening. Figure 1.29 shows the 'fastest' (o = 0) and the 'slowest' (o = o
max
) rays.
o
max
L
1
a
n
n
core
¸
max

1
2
L
2
Fig. 2.31: Deriving the difference in the transit time
2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 59
The propagation times of the two different propagation paths are determined
purely geometrically for:
A

~

=
|
|
.
|

\
|
÷
= ÷ = A
=
¸

= =
=
c
n L
A
n c 2
L
n
n n
c
n
L t t t
n
n
c
L
sin
1
c
n L
c
n
L t
c
n
L t
core 1 2
N
1
core
1 1 2 mod
2
core 1
max
core 1 core
2 2
core
1 1
Figure 2.32 shows the dependence of the bandwidth on the numerical aperture
with which the light is launched. The assumption is that the far field, i.e. the
angular distribution of the light in the fiber, will remain constant over the entire
length of the sample (no modal coupling or conversion). For a PMMA standard
fiber with an A
N
= 0.50, a differential delay of At ~ 25 ns for 100 m is produced.
The transit time is proportional to the square of the NA. From the above-men-
tioned expression B ~ 0.44/At
mod
, a value of 15 MHz results for the bandwidth.
0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35 0.40 0.45 0.50 0.55 0.60
numerical aperture
theoretical bandwidth [MHz]
100 m
75 m
50 m
25 m
10 m
10
100
1,000
20
50
200
500
fiber-
length:
Fig. 2.32: Bandwidth calculated as a function of the launch NA
60 2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers
The critical angle ¸
max
of total reflection is determined by the ratio of both
refractive indices (example, 1.492 for the core and 1.456 for the cladding):
) 12.6 : axis to angle (max.
77.4 = 0.976 arcsin =
1.492
1.456
arcsin =
max
° = o
° ¸
Thus, the relationship between both paths y and z is:
z = y/sin (o) = y 1.0247
The NA of this fiber is determined by:
A
N
= (n
core
2
- n
2
)
0.5
= (1.492
2
-1.456
2
)
0.5
= 0.32
The pulse broadening for a fiber length L is derived as follows:
Transit time of the parallel-axis modes: t
1
= L · n/c
0
Transit time of the modes with max. angle: t
2
= L · n/c
0
· 1.0247
Differential delay: At = L · n/c
0
· 0.0247
For example for 100 m, n = 1.492: At = 12.3 ns
With the approximation B · At = 0.44 B = 33 MHz
Different NA lead to different bandwidths, whereby a doubling of the NA
reduces the bandwidth to a quarter:
Theoretical bandwidth: A
N
= 0.60: 10 MHz 100 m
A
N
= 0.50: 14 MHz 100 m
A
N
= 0.40: 22 MHz 100 m
A
N
= 0.30: 40 MHz 100 m
A
N
= 0.25: 57 MHz 100 m
A
N
= 0.19: 97 MHz 100 m
To correctly calculate the theoretical bandwidth, it is just not sufficient to con-
sider the two possible ray paths selected here. A very comprehensive description
of mode propagation in POF is provided in [Bun99a]. In the ray model, each
possible propagation direction is described by the two angles o and o (for an
explanation of these angles, please refer to Fig. 2.11).
As far as transit time is concerned, only angle o is of relevance. Figure 2.33 is
an illustration from [Bun99a] of the zone of the guided rays and the leaky rays
which themselves are again subdivided. Regardless of the size of v, angle o
cannot exceed a particular maximum value so that a maximum possible differen-
tial delay is the consequence.
Only the marked triangle contains not attenuated rays that are capable of propa-
gation. If one assumes that all possible propagation paths have the same energy
(UMD - uniform mode distribution), it can be seen that paths having a larger
propagation angle are more probable than rays traveling parallel to the axis.
2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 61
0 5 10 15 20
70
75
80
85
90
o
max
v = 90°
v = 60°
v = 45°
v = 30°
o |°|
meridional
rays
o |°|
guided
rays
Fig. 2.33: Possible rays in an optical fiber
As measurements of the far field (that is the power as a function of the angle to
the fiber axis, measured in a sufficient large distance) of a POF shows, this is also
reflected in the greater power obtained with larger angles. If the power is ex-
pressed in relation to the solid angle element, a constant power density is found
because larger angles cover a correspondingly larger arc. This is shown schemati-
cally in Fig. 2.34.
angle to the
fiber axis [°]
rel. power/solid angle
0.0
0.4
0.8
0.2
0.6
1.0
-30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30
U UM MD D
Fig. 2.34: Power distribution with UMD
The differential delay increases approximately by the square of the angle rela-
tive to the fiber axis. If a short pulse having a mode distribution that correspon-
ding to UMD is launched into the fiber input, an approximately rectangular pulse
is generated at the output of the length of which corresponds to the approximate
values shown above for the maximum differential delay. Figure 2.35 demonstrates
the precise results for an assumed attenuation-free standard NA POF for the pulse
form obtained after 10 m, 20 m, 50 m, and 100 m of ideal POF (from [Bun99a]).
62 2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
norm. signal
100 m 50 m 20 m 10 m
time [ns]
Fig. 2.35: Output pulses of a POF under UMD conditions ([Bun99a])
Real SI-POF provide considerably higher bandwidths. The main reason for this
is the presence of mode-dependent attenuation in conjunction with mode mixing,
as will be shown in the next chapter.
The differential delay At increases proportionally to a particular length L
c
(coupling length); for longer lengths, the increase is sub-linear (Fig. 2.36). The
following holds true:
1 with L L for L t
L L for L t
c
c
< k > · A
< · A
k
whereby the exponent k must be determined for each fiber. It is typically bet-
ween 0.5 and 0.7. The coupling length L
c
ranges between 30 m and 40 m for stan-
dard SI-POF.
0.0
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200
length [m]
L
c
t ~ l
t ~ \l
in reality
Fig. 2.36: Schematically representation of the pulse broadening reflecting mode coupling
effects
2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 63
The impulse response of a 50 m long standard POF can be seen in Fig. 2.37.
The half-value width of the impulse amounts to about 50 ns, i.e. only about 30%
of the expected value. Furthermore, it is noticeable that the rear pulse edge drops
more slowly. It is in this range that the higher modes lie which are attenuated very
greatly by the mode-dependent losses. The dropping off of the rising edge can be
explained by the effect of modal mixing.
5 20 35 10 25 40 15 30 0
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.0
0.2
0.1
U [V]
theoretical
pulse shape
At = 16 ns
t [ns]
A At t = = 5 5 n ns s
Fig. 2.37: Real pulse shape for 50 m St.-NA-POF
Calculating the bandwidth of graded-index fibers is clearly more complex.
Current studies in this field can be found in [Yab00a], [Yab00b] and [Arr99].
Profile dispersion occurs in graded-index profile fibers. It is the remainder of
the mode dispersion that can no longer be compensated for and it depends on the
relative refractive index difference A, which in turn is wavelength-dependent. An
optimization of the profile exponent can be accomplished for a certain wavelength
for which dA/dì = 0. A profile exponent of g ~ 2 causes a temporal broadening of:
2 c
n L
t
2
core 1
prof
A

= A ,
in other words, a factor A/2-reduced broadening of the pulse as compared with
step index POF; for a typical graded-index POF this means a reduction by
approximately 2 orders of magnitude [Blu98]. Mode dispersion or profile disper-
sion can only be avoided by using singlemode fibers. As explained later on, due to
the combination with the chromatic dispersion, certain polymer fibers, have some
advantages as opposed to silica glass fibers.
64 2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers
2.1.5.9 Chromatic Dispersion
Chromatic dispersion describes the influence of the spectral width of a transmitter
on a temporal broadening of the input pulse. This includes the material-dispersion
and waveguide-dispersion types of dispersion. Both effects also occur in single-
mode fibers. Waveguide dispersion is caused by the fact that light waves penetrate
into the fiber cladding to various depths, depending on the wavelength of the light
wave. Thus, the different speeds of the core and cladding parts result in pulse
broadening. Since only a small portion of the light wave in higher modes of large
diameter fibers spreads into the cladding, this effect is only considered for single-
mode fibers.
However, even if only one mode is allowed to propagate, pulse broadening
occurs due to material dispersion. Every light source has a spectral width Aì > 0.
The following applies for the pulse broadening At
max
due to material dispersion:
( )
( ) ì ì A =
ì
ì ì
ì A = A M L
² d
n ² d
c
L t
mat
where Aì is the spectral width of the transmitter
n(ì): wavelength-dependent refractive index,
M(ì): material dispersion parameters usually given in ps/kmnm
Figure 2.38 shows the influence of material dispersion on pulse broadening,
using polymer fibers as an example. Corresponding to the material dispersion, the
longer wavelengths (red) propagate with a greater velocity than the shorter ones
(blue).
At

wavelength
length
time
input pulse
output pulse
Fig. 2.38: Temporal broadening as a result of material dispersion
The real influence of the chromatic dispersion from different polymer optical
fibers to the system bandwidth will be shown in the next chapter which will
contain detailed descriptions of the materials and fiber types.
2.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers 65
2.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers
After the theoretical descriptions on the properties of optical fibers in the section
on the fundamentals of light propagation and the observations indicated above on
mode propagation and the essential characteristics of fibers this following section
will deal with concrete, available fibers. First, the different index profiles, as
briefly mentioned in 1.1.6, will be introduced using examples.
The next section shows the historical development especially in regard to the
different POF variants. Thereafter the important characteristics attenuation and
bandwidth will be shown in a series of experimental results.
Three parameters are basically responsible for the actual properties of optical
fibers. The core and cladding materials used determine the attenuation and chro-
matic dispersion. The refractive index profile determines the mode dispersion and
the core diameter is also responsible for the number of modes. Especially the core
material and the index profile are at least recognizable from the name of the fiber,
a designation method widely used in this book.
In the following section the historical development of the different polymer
fibers is summarized. The POFs are dealt with in regard to their index profiles.
Thereafter, different hybrid and glass fibers for short-range data transmission will
also be introduced. The following chapter deals especially with the bandwidth of
thick optical fibers since this characteristic is particularly important and also it
makes the greatest demands on measurement techniques.
2.2.1 Step Index Profile Fibers (SI)
As was the case with silica glass fibers, the first polymer optical fibers were pure
step index profile fibers (SI-POF). This means that a simple optical cladding sur-
rounds a homogenous core. For this reason a protective material is always in-
cluded in the cable. Figure 2.39 schematically represents the refractive index
curve.
As already shown above, the refractive index step determines the numerical
aperture (NA) and thus the acceptance angle. Some typical values are shown in
Table 2.1. The refractive index of the core was always taken as 1.5, whereas the
cladding has a correspondingly smaller refractive index. The last line is valid for
wave guiding against air (n = 1). Here an acceptance angle of 90° is valid since the
NA exceeds the value of 1.
n
core
jacket
jacket core
n
Fig. 2.39: Structure of a step index profile fiber
66 2.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers
Table 2.1: Relationship between relative refractive index difference and numerical aper-
ture (core refractive index = 1.50)
Relative Refractive-
Index-Difference
Refractive Index
Numerical
Aperture
Acceptance Angle
of the Fiber
0.22 % 1.497 0.10 6°
0.4 % 1.494 0.13 8°
0.8 % 1.488 0.19 11°
1.0 % 1.485 0.21 12°
1.5 % 1.478 0.26 15°
2.0 % 1.470 0.30 17°
2.7 % 1.460 0.35 20°
4.0 % 1.440 0.42 25°
5.8 % 1.413 0.50 30°
8.0 % 1.380 0.59 36°
12.0 % 1.320 0.71 45°
20.0 % 1.200 0.90 64°
33.3 % 1.000 1.12 90°
A larger acceptance angle of the fiber simplifies the launching of light, e.g.
from a semi-conductor source. In addition, a high NA reduces the losses asso-
ciated with fiber bending, as schematically illustrated in Fig. 2.40.
launched light
rays
rays, exceeding the
critical angle of total
reflection behind the
bend
rays, guided
behind the
bend
bend
Fig. 2.40: Loss at fiber bends
2.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers 67
Due to the effects of bending, the propagation direction of each individual ray
is changed relative to the axis of the fiber. In the case of multi-mode fibers, a part
of the rays is always extracted because the rays exceed the angle of total reflection
at the interface between core and cladding. For fibers with a large NA, the effect
of a change in angle for a certain amount of bending is not so significant so that
the bending losses diminish. Likewise, when coupling fibers to each other (at
connectors) the loss due to angle errors is less significant when there is a large
numerical aperture.
A disadvantage of fibers with a large NA is the greater difference in time delay
between the different light paths, and this in turn leads to a greater level of mode
dispersion. This limits the bandwidth. In addition, the loss at coupling points in-
creases if there is a gap between the abutting faces. Some advantages of larger or
smaller numerical apertures are listed in Table 2.2.
Table 2.2: Influence of higher NA to various fiber parameters
Property of the Fiber Behavior with increasing NA
bending sensitivity becomes smaller
fiber coupled power becomes higher
connecting loss for fiber angular mismatch becomes smaller
connecting loss for axial fiber gap becomes higher
connecting loss for fiber axis lateral gap becomes higher
bandwidth becomes smaller
Silica glass multi-mode fibers usually have an NA of approximately 0.20. Silica
glass fibers with polymer cladding have an NA in the range of 0.30 to 0.40 (some-
times 0.65). The large refractive index difference between the materials that are
used for the core and the cladding of polymer fibers allows significantly higher
NA values. The majority of the initially produced SI-POF had an NA of 0.50 (e.g.
[Asa96], [Esk97], [LC95]). SI-POF with an NA around this value are nowadays
generally called standard NA-POF or standard POF for short. The bandwidth of
such fibers is approximately 40 MHz for a 100 m long link (quoted as the band-
width-length product 40 MHz · 100 m). For many years this was a completely
satisfactory solution for most applications.
2.2.2 The Step Index Fiber with Reduced NA (low-NA)
However, when it became necessary to replace copper cables with polymer optical
fiber to accomplish the transmission of ATM data rates of 155 Mbit/s (ATM:
asynchronous transfer mode) over a distance of 50 m, a higher bandwidth was
required for the POF. In the mid-nineties all three important manufacturers deve-
loped the so-called low-NA POF.
POF with a reduced numerical aperture (low-NA POF) feature a bandwidth
increased to approximately 100 MHz · 100 m because the NA has been reduced to
approximately 0.30. The first low-NA POF was presented in 1995 by Mitsubishi
68 2.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers
Rayon ([Koi98]). Figure 2.41 shows that the fiber construction corresponds to the
standard POF, the distinction being that the refractive index difference is smaller
(approximately 2 %). Usually the same core material is used, but the cladding
material has a modified composition.
n
core
jacket
jacket
core
n
Fig. 2.41: Structure of a low-NA step index profile fiber
Unfortunately, practical testing showed that although this fiber met the require-
ments of the ATM forum ([ATM96b]) with respect to bandwidth, it did not meet
the requirements with respect to bending sensitivity. These requirements specify
that for a 50 m long POF link the losses resulting from a maximum of ten 90°
bends having a minimum bending radius of 25 mm should not exceed 0.5 dB. In
order to meet both these requirements at the same time it became necessary to find
a new structure.
2.2.3 The Double-Step Index Optical Fiber (DSI)
The double-step index POF features two claddings around the core, each with a
decreasing refractive index (Fig. 2.42). In the case of straight installed links, light
guiding is achieved essentially through the total reflection at the interface surface
between the core and the inner cladding. This index difference results in an NA of
around 0.30, similar to the value of the original low-NA POF.
n
core
jacket
inner / outer
outer / inner
jacket
core
n
n
Fig. 2.42: Structure of a double step index profile fiber
2.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers 69
When fibers are bent, part of the light will no longer be guided by this inner
interface. However, it is possible to reflect back part of the decoupled light in the
direction of the core at the second interface between the inner and the outer
cladding. At further bends, this light can again be redirected so that it enters the
acceptance range of the inner cladding. The inner cladding has a significantly
higher attenuation than the core. Light propagating over long distances within the
inner cladding will be attenuated so strongly that it will no longer contribute to
pulse propagation. Over shorter links the light can propagate through the inner
cladding without resulting in too large a dispersion. A schematic illustration is
shown in Fig. 2.43.
launched light rays
rays behind
the bend
bend
1
2
3
4
1
1
2
2
3
4
rays, guided only by
rays, guided by the
the bend
rays, guided by the
limited distance
not guided rays
behind the bend
Fig. 2.43: Operation of a bent double step index profile fiber
The first generation of DSI-POF primarily served the purpose of increasing the
bandwidth of 1 mm fibers from 40 MHz · 100 m to 100 MHz · 100 m with an un-
changed minimum bending radius of 25 mm. The respective applications are to be
found in LANs and home networks.
The fiber producers offer these fibers under the same type names as the original
“real” low-NA fibers. It has since become standard procedure to call the fibers
low-NA and to indicate DSI as the index profile.
Currently, another goal is being pursued: the bandwidth of standard POF is
sufficient for applications in vehicle networks, but the bending radius should be
reduced. Presently being discussed are POFs, the index steps of which correspond
to a NA of 0.50 or 0.65 respectively to the inner and outer cladding. The bending
radius can thus almost be halved.
70 2.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers
2.2.4 The Multi-Core Step Index Optical Fiber (MC)
As described above, the requirements of high bandwidth and low sensitivity to
bending are difficult to accomplish together within one and the same fiber having
a diameter of 1 mm. Fibers with a smaller core diameter can solve this problem
since the ratio to the fiber radius is larger for the same absolute bending radius.
However, this contradicts the requirements for easy handling and light launching.
A PCS with a core diameter of 200 ȝm and an A
N
= 0.37 permits, for example, a
bending radius of 5 mm with very low bending losses.
As a compromise, Asahi developed a multi-core fiber (MC-POF, see [Mun94],
[Mun96] and [Koi96c]). In this fiber many cores (19 to over 200) are put together
in production in such a way that together they fill a round cross-section of 1 mm
diameter.
First, the individual fibers are all perfectly round and each has its own optical
cladding. Only a certain share of the total cross-section of the bundle enters the
cores guiding the light, since the cladding areas and the spaces between the fibers
have to be accounted for. Figure 2.44 shows the parameters which mark the per-
centage of the filled-in area. The number N here indicates how many fibers lie
next to each other over a diameter while n indicates the entire number of fibers.
R
d
m
R
d
m
N = 1
N = 5
n = 19
r
Fig. 2.44: Schematically arrangement of cores in a MC-POF
In the figure, R denotes the radius of the complete fiber (typically 0.5 mm) and
d the thickness of the optical cladding (e.g. 5 μm). Let us assume first of all that
the individual cores are arranged in a hexagonal shape with N = 2z + 1 cores
positioned next to each other.
The next Fig. 2.45 shows how the arrangement for fibers is changed for
z = 1 to 5. While these sketches can give a clear definition of the number of fibers
that can be arranged within a circular shape, for smaller and smaller individual
cores the possibilities are more complex. The arrangement at the bottom right
shows one possible deviation. For the first five arrangements the number of indi-
vidual fibers is calculated as follows:
n = 3z
2
+ 3z + 1.
2.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers 71
It follows that the individual radius r is:
r = R/N = R/(2z + 1).
N=3
N=9
N=5
N=11
N=7
N´=11
Fig. 2.45: Possible circular arrangements of cores in a MC-POF
In Table 2.3, the degree of coverage of the circle area is calculated for the cases
shown. First, the number of individual cores is calculated from z. The radius r
results from the overall radius of the fiber (here always 500 μm). Parameter t
a
indi-
cates what percentage of the total circular area is covered by the individual circles
(for the hexagonal arrangement of an infinite number of circles a maximum of
90.69 % of the area can be covered). When calculating parameter t
b
, the fact that
part of the cross-section is lost to the optical claddings (all uniformly 5 μm thick)
is taken into account.
Table 2.3: Core cross area degree of coverage for MC fibers (ideal)
z: N: n: r: t
a
: t
b
:
0 1 1 500 μm 100.00 % 98.01 %
1 3 7 167 μm 77.78 % 73.18 %
2 5 19 100 μm 76.00 % 68.59 %
3 7 37 71.4 μm 75.51 % 65.31 %
4 9 61 55.6 μm 75.31 % 62.36 %
5 11 91 45.5 μm 75.21 % 59.57 %
11´ 85 49.3 μm 82.47 % 66.57 %
6 13 127 38.5 μm 75.15 % 56.88 %
7 15 169 33.3 μm 75.11 % 54.27 %
8 17 217 29.4 μm 75.09 % 51.73 %
14 29 631 17.2 μm 75.03 % 37.82 %
· - - - 90.69 % -
72 2.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers
Figure 2.46 shows the proportion of core area t
b
as depending on the number of
cores for four different thickness’ of the optical cladding.
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
1 7 19 37 61 91 127 169 217
d
m
= 5 μm
d
m
= 10 μm
d
m
= 20 μm
d
m
= 30 μm
use of the total cross area t
b
number of
single cores
Fig. 2.46: Proportion of core area for different cladding thickness
As can be expected, the proportion of the overall covered area decreases with
an increasing number of cores because the proportion of cladding area will be-
come larger and larger. A certain minimum thickness of cladding is necessary for
it to be able to fulfill its function and still be technologically feasible. The four
individual data points show the case of the optimized fiber arrangement with 85
individual cores in accordance with Fig. 2.45.
Given a minimum thickness of the optical cladding between 5 μm and 10 μm,
these considerations indicate that a maximum number of some 100 single cores
should be used, in which case the proportion of useable area will hardly exceed
70 %. It is easy to conclude that a smaller proportion of useable core area would
lead to an increase in the losses encountered when connecting transmitters to, and
fibers between each other.
Fig. 2.47: 37 core POF with deformed single cores (schematically)
2.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers 73
Practical experience shows that a better utilization of the area can be achieved.
During the manufacturing process the fibers are placed together at higher tempe-
ratures which means that they change their shape and thus reduce the gaps bet-
ween the fibers. Apparently, the resulting deviations from the ideal round shape do
not play a significant role in light propagation (the causes for this are not yet
completely understood; some points worth discussing can be found in the chapter
on light propagation in POF). Figure 2.47 shows a schematic illustration of the
cross-section of a fiber with 37 cores, such as e.g. in [Tesh98]. Data of available
MC-POF and -GOF are grouped together later.
Figure 2.48 shows the refractive index profile of a MC-POF, shown as a cross-
section through the diameter of the fiber. The index steps correspond to those of a
standard POF.
n
core
jacket
jacket cores
n
Fig. 2.48: Structure of a step index multi core fiber
Since the bandwidth only depends on the NA for SI fibers, it should be possible
to measure values comparable to the standard POF. However, the fact is that the
measured values are actually significantly higher, which has been explained in the
chapter 2.1.5.2 discussing mode-selective attenuation mechanisms.
Glass fibers are also produced for use in many areas as fiber bundles. In
lighting technology fiber glass bundles with a large NA are widely spread. (The
lighting of the headlight outer ring at BMW via such a fiber bundle is well-
known.) In the meantime, such fibers are also available for data communication
([Lub04b]).
2.2.5 The Double Step Index Multi-Core Fiber (DSI-MC)
In the MC-POF, too, an increase in bandwidth was achieved by reducing the index
difference. Due to the smaller core diameters it was still possible to avoid an
increase in bending sensitivity.
Even better values were achieved with individual cores having a two-step
optical cladding such as illustrated in Fig. 2.49. The principle is the same as in the
double-step index POF with an individual core. In this case a bundle with single
structure).
74 2.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers
n
core
jacket
jacket
cores
n
n
Fig. 2.49: Structure of a double step index profile multi core POF
2.2.6 The Graded Index Optical Fiber (GI)
When using graded index profiles (GI) an even greater bandwidth becomes pos-
sible. In these profiles, the refractive index continually decreases (as a gradient),
starting from the fiber axis and moving outwards to the cladding. Of particular
interest are profiles that follow a power law (remember chapter 1.4.1).

|
.
|

\
|
A
g
axis fiber to distance
- 1 n = n index refractive
axis fiber
The parameter g - often also Į - is characterized as the profile exponent. When
g = 2 one speaks of a parabolic profile. The borderline case of the step index
profile fibers corresponds to g = . The parameter ǻ states the relative refractive
index difference between the maximum core and the cladding refractive index.
Figure 2.50 shows a parabolic index profile.
n
core
jacket
jacket
core
n
Fig. 2.50: Structure of a graded index profile fiber
Due to the continually changing refractive index, the light rays in a GI fiber do
not propagate in a straight line but are constantly refracted towards the fiber axis.
Light rays that are launched at the center of the fiber and do not exceed a certain
angle are completely prevented from leaving the core area without any reflections
occurring at the interface surface. This behavior is illustrated schematically in
Fig. 2.51. The geometric path of the rays running on a parallel to the axis is still
significantly smaller than the path of rays that are launched at a greater angle.
However, as can be seen, the index is smaller in the regions distant from the
core. This means a greater propagation speed. In an ideal combination of para-
meters the different path lengths and different propagation speeds may cancel each
2.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers 75
other out completely so that mode dispersion disappears. In reality, this is only
possible in approximation. It is possible, however, to increase bandwidths by two
to three orders of magnitude compared with the SI fiber.
n
step index profile fiber graded index profile fiber
n
When considering not only the pure mode dispersion but also chromatic disper-
sion, i.e. the dependence of the refractive index on the wavelength and spectral
width of the source, an optimum index coefficient 'g' deviating from 2 is achieved.
This has been the subject of comprehensive investigations by the research group
around Prof. Koike ([Koi96a], [Koi96b], [Ish00], [Koi97a], [Koi96c], [Koi98] and
[Ish98]). In [Ish00] and [Koi00] the significance of this effect is particularly pro-
nounced (see also Chapter 2). Due to the smaller chromatic dispersion of fluori-
nated polymer compared with silica, the bandwidth of GI-POF theoretically achie-
vable is significantly higher than that of multi-mode GI silica glass fibers. In parti-
cular, this bandwidth can be realized over a significantly greater range of wave-
lengths. This makes the PF-GI-POF interesting for wavelength multiplex systems.
However, in this case the index profile must be maintained very accurately, a
requirement for which no technical solution has as yet been provided.
Another factor involved in the bandwidth of GI-POF is the high level of mode-
dependent attenuation ([Yab00a]) compared to silica glass fibers. In this case
modes with a large propagation angle are suppressed resulting in a greater band-
width. An example is the simulation that was carried out in [Yab00a]: the band-
width of a 200 m long PMMA-GI-POF increases from 1 GHz to over 4 GHz,
taking into account the attenuation of higher modes. This is also confirmed in
practical trials. Mode coupling is less significant for GI fibers than it is for SI
fibers since the reflections at the core-cladding interface do not occur.
2.2.7 The Multi-Step Index Optical Fiber (MSI)
Following the many technological problems experienced in the production of gra-
ded index fibers having an optimum index profile that remains stable for the dura-
tion of its service life, an attempt was made to approach the desired characteristics
with the multi-step index profile fiber (MSI-POF). In this case the core consists of
many layers (e.g. four to seven) that approach the required parabolic curve in a
series of steps. Here a “merging” of these steps during the manufacturing process
may even be desirable. A diagram of the structure is shown in Fig. 2.52.
76 2.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers
n
core
jacket
jacket
core
n
Fig. 2.52: Structure of a multi step index profile fiber
In this case light rays do not propagate along continually curved paths as in the
GI-POF, but on multiple diffracted paths as demonstrated in Fig. 2.53. However,
given a sufficient number of steps, the difference to the ideal GI profile is relati-
vely small so that large bandwidths can nevertheless be achieved. MSI-POF were
presented in 1999 by a Russian institute (Tver near Moscow [Lev99]) and by
Mitsubishi (ESKA-MIU, see [Shi99]). In the meantime, other companies are pro-
ducing such fibers which are often called GI fibers. These GI and MSI fibers are
classified in the same class of standards, e.g. A4e.
n
Fig. 2.53: Light propagation in the MSI-POF
2.2.8 The Semi-Graded Index Profile Fibers (Semi-GI)
A relatively new version of index profiles are fibers which have a gradient with a
slightly varying index above the core cross section, but do have an optical clad-
ding with a great index step as shown in Fig. 2.54 ([Sum00], [Sum03], [Ziem05f]
and [Ziem06i]).
n
core
jacket
jacket
core
n
Fig. 2.54: Structure of a semi-graded index profile fiber
2.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers 77
At first sight this variety of fiber has enormous advantages. Light which propa-
gates within the gradient is only subject to very little mode dispersion. If a ray of
light has a greater propagation angle, e.g. after being bent, then it continues to be
led to the core-cladding interface layer through total reflection. However, these
rays do have a very much higher mode dispersion. Figure 2.55 shows how light
spreads theoretically and what consequences this has for the pulse response.
input output
„GI“-modes
„SI“-modes
t
Fig. 2.55: Light propagation in semi-graded-index profile fibers theoretically
In principle, two different groups of modes can be seen in the picture. The
paths designated as GI modes do not touch the cladding and only show a very
slight difference in propagation times. The shares designated as SI modes are
completely reflected at the core-cladding interface layer. These light paths are also
bent in the core, but the light path, now very much longer, can no longer be com-
pensated for in the outer areas by the lower refractive index. With very high data
rates the second mode group is drawn out so widely that it is presented solely as a
kind of DC offset in the eye diagram. At the POF-AC a data rate of 1 Gbit/s was
transmitted over 500 m of a GI PCS fiber with a PRBS signal ([Vin05a]). Data
rates up to 3 Gbit/s could be attained with a small surface APD receiver ([Kos95]).
In order to do justice to the complex behavior of the semi-GI POF, corresponding
modulation formats should be selected.
2.2.9 An Overview of Index Profiles
Figures 2.56 through 2.58 again show all index profiles described in an overview.
Due to the wide range of possibilities offered in polymer chemistry further deve-
lopments are certainly to be expected. For example, multi-core graded fibers,
fibers with special cladding for a reduction of the losses at the core/cladding inter-
face or to increase the bandwidth or even multi-core fibers with different indivi-
dual cores are all conceivable. In the following figures POF variants are shown
with typical parameters.
78 2.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers
Low-NA-POF
A
N
= 0.30
100 MHz100 m
DSI-POF
A
N
= 0.30
100 MHz100 m
SI-POF
A
N
= 0.50
40 MHz100 m
Fig. 2.56: POF with single core and step index profile
Single-core fibers with diameters between 125 μm and 3 mm are available from
different manufacturers at a reasonable price and in robust quality. Most of the
polymer optical fibers used in practical applications are of these types.
MC-SI-POF
e.g. 200 cores
A
N
= 0.30
100 MHz100 m
MC-DSI-POF
e.g. 37 cores
A
N
= 0.19
400 MHz100 m
Fig. 2.57: POF with multiple cores and step index profile
MC fibers are available from various manufacturers. They are deployed in
applications ranging from high data rates transmission systems through to optical
image guides. Because of the short lengths produced, the prices are still signifi-
cantly above expectations. However, further developments in this field can be ex-
pected in the future.
GI-POF
A
N
= 0.20
2 GHz100 m
MSI-POF
A
N
= 0.30
500 MHz100 m
Fig. 2.58: Polymer fibers with graded index and multi step index profile
Graded index as well as multi-step index profile POF are commercially avai-
lable today. Laboratory experiments and a series of practical installations in Japan
and Europe, (e.g. [Mös04]) show the great potential in regard to the bit rates
possible. Asahi Glass introduced them into the market around 2001. Lucent Tech-
nologies, later called OFS and trading under the name of Chromis Fiberoptics as
of 2004 ([Whi04], [Park05a]), also announced the possibility of producing large
amounts of GI POF in case of demand.
2.3 The Development of POF 79
In Europe, fibers by Nexans are manufactured in Lyon ([Gou04]). All three fi-
bers will consist of the fluorinated polymer material CYTOP
®
. The core diameter
of the Lucina
TM
Fiber by Asahi Glass is 120 μm with an A
N
= 0.28. A protective
cladding made from PMMA and measuring 500 μm is placed around an area of
fluorinated polymer outside the core profile. The duplex cable has external dimen-
sions of approximately 3 by 5 mm. The lowest attenuation achieved to date is ap-
prox. 15 dB/km for a wavelength of 1,300 nm. The specified value is < 50 dB/km
for 700 nm - 1,300 nm.
There has also been significant progress in the manufacture of GI or MSI-POF
respectively on a PMMA basis (see Section 2.3.4).
2.3 The Development of Polymer Optical Fibers
The following sections will describe the polymer fibers presented so far, whereby
particular attention will be paid to the chronological sequence of the develop-
ments. Section 2.4 supplements these observations with some types of multimode
glass fibers which were not discussed in the first edition.
2.3.1 Looking back
The first POF were manufactured by DuPont as early as the late sixties. Due to the
incomplete purification of the monomer materials used, attenuation was still in the
vicinity of 1,000 dB/km. During the seventies it became possible to reduce losses
nearly to the theoretical limit of approximately 125 dB/km at a wavelength of
650 nm. At that point in time glass fibers with losses significantly below 1 dB/km
at 1,300 nm/1,550 nm were already available in large quantities and at low prices.
Digital transmission systems with a high bit rate were then almost exclusively
used in telecommunications for long-range transmissions. The field of local com-
puter networks was dominated by copper cables (either twisted-pair or coaxial)
that were completely satisfactory for the typical data rates of up to 10 Mbit/s com-
monly used then. There was hardly any demand for an optical medium for high
data rates and small distances so that the development of the polymer optical fiber
was slowed down for many years. A significant indicator for this is the fact that at
the beginning of the nineties the company Höchst stopped manufacturing polymer
fibers altogether.
During the nineties, after data communication for long-haul transmission had
become completely digitalized, the development of digital systems for private
users was commenced on a massive scale. In many spheres of life we are being in-
creasingly confronted with digital end user equipment. The CD player has largely
replaced analog sound carriers (vinyl records and cassettes). The MP3 format is
leading to a revolution in music recording and distribution. The DVD (Digital
Video Disc) and large hard disk drives could lead to the replacement of the analog
video recorder within a few years. Even today more digital television programs
80 2.3 The Development of POF
are available than analog programs. Decoder boxes have become standardized
(MPEG2 format) and will be integrated into television sets in the future. More and
more households are using powerful PC and digital telephone connections
(ISDN). With offers such as T-DSL (ADSL technology provided by Deutsche
Telekom AG) as well as fast internet access via satellite or broadband digital ser-
additional digital applications even before the start of the new millennium.
Likewise, in the automotive field the step towards digitalization has long been
trol functions are increasingly part of the standard equipment being provided in all
classes of vehicles. The development of electronic outside mirrors, fast network
connections even from within an automobile as well as automatic traffic guidance
systems will ensure a further increase in the range of digital applications for the
motor vehicle. All these examples demonstrate that completely new markets for
digital transmission systems are being developed for short-range applications.
Polymer optical fibers can meet many of these requirements to an optimum degree
and are therefore increasingly of interest.
A significant indicator for this development is the history of the International
Conference for Polymer Optical Fibers and Applications which has been taking
place annually since 1992 and represents the most significant scientific event in
this specialized field. Many of the developments described below were presented
for the first time at these conferences.
2.3.2 Step Index Polymer Fibers
The SI-POF is the oldest variant of all polymer fibers. Its development goes back
to the beginning of the 1960’s, i.e. in a period when silica glass fibers were being
developed. Today the SI-POF is by far the most common POF variant. In Table
2.4 data from different publications on this fiber type are summarized - without
claiming to be complete.
Table 2.4: Published data of SI-POF
Ref. Year Producer Product Ø
core
μm
Attenuation
dB/km
at ì
nm
NA Remarks
[Min94] 1963 Du Pont CROFON - 1.000 650 st. first POF
[Koi97a] 1964 Du Pont - 500 650 st.
[Koi96c] 1968 Du Pont - 500 650 st. first SI-POF
[Sai92] 1976 Mitsubishi Eska - 300 650 st.
[Min94] 1978 Mitsubishi Super Eska - 300 650 st.
[Koi95] 1982 NTT - 55 568 st.
[Sai92] 1983 Mitsubishi Eska Extra - 124 650 st. 4 MHzkm
[Sai92] 1983 Mitsubishi Eska Extra - 65 570 st.
[Koi95] 1983 Mitsubishi 1000 110 570 st.
[Min94] 1984 Mitsubishi Eska Extra - 150 650 st.
2.3 The Development of POF 81
Table 2.4: Published data of SI-POF (continued)
Ref. Year Producer Product Ø
core
μm
Attenuation
dB/km
at ì
nm
NA Remarks
[Koi95] 1985 Asahi - 80 570
st.
[Sai92] 1991 Mitsubishi Eska Extra - 125 650
st.
up tp 85°C
[Sai92] 1991 Mitsubishi Eska Extra - 65 570
st.
[Koi95] 1991 Hoechst 1000 130 650
st.
[Tesh92] 1992 Asahi Luminous-F - 175 660 0.50 310 MHz10m
AN, LED=0.50, 105°C
[Tesh92] 1992 Asahi X-1 - - - 0.37 540 MHz10m
A
N, LED
= 0.50
[Tesh92] 1992 Asahi X-2 - - - 0.28 >1.000 MHz10m
A
N, LED
= 0.50
[Eng96] 1992 Höchst EP51 970 190 650
st. 90 MHz100 m
with 650 nm LED
[Kit92] 1992 Mitsubishi Eska Premier 1000 135 650 0.51 up to 85°C
[Lev93] 1993 CIS Sveton MN-
200-
600
150 650 0.45 up to 70°C
[Lev93] 1993 CIS Sveton MF-
200-
1000
120 650 0.48 up to 70°C
[Non94] 1994 Sumitomo n. a. 480 150 650 0.51 200 MHz50m
An=0.055
[Koe98] 1998 Mitsubishi n. a. 1000 110 650 0.47 80 MHz100 m
[Mye02] 2002 Dig. Optr. n. a. 1000 - - 0.50 2003 announced
[Luv03] 2003 Luvantix SI type 1000 160 650 0.40 200 MHz bandwidth
[Nuv04] 2004 Nuvitech Nuvilight 1000 250 650 0.38 for illumination
[Luc05] 2005 Luceat SI-Type 1000 150 650 0.46 30 MHz100 m
[Wal05] 2005 Nanoptics A-POF 1000 100 650 - conception
[Hai05] 2005 Huiyuan SI-POF 1000 300 650 - coextrusion
[Zie06h] 2006 Luceat SI-POF 1000 135
65
650
520
0.50 from preform
400 450 500 550 600 650 700 750 800
wavelength [nm]
attenuation [dB/km]
50
100
1,000
2,000
5,000
500
200
Fig. 2.59: Attenuation of different standard-NA SI-POF (measurement by POF-AC)
82 2.3 The Development of POF
It was not until about 1980 that technology made possible the production of
POF which came relatively close to the theoretical attenuation minima. Initial
problems with the service life and with certain mechanical loads were quickly
solved with on-going developments. In Fig. 2.59 the spectral attenuation curves of
three SI-POFs are shown (data sheet information). All three fibers from Japanese
manufacturers are close together. The visible differences may possibly be due to
different methods of measurement.
Most manufacturers offer SI-POFs in different diameters. In [Zub01b] and
[Nuv04] the properties of these fibers are compared (Table 2.5).
Table 2.5: Attenuation of POF with different diameter
Attenuation [dB/km]
diameter [μm] 250 500 750 1.000
Mitsubishi < 700 < 190 < 180 < 160
Toray < 300 < 180 < 150 < 150
Asahi Chem. n. a. < 180 < 180 < 125
BOF < 150 < 150 < 150 < 150
Optectron < 150 < 150 < 150 < 150
Nuvitech < 350 < 250 < 250 < 250
For Toray fibers, the losses of fibers with different diameters are listed in the
data sheet and are shown in Fig. 2.60.
400 500 600 700 800 900
attenuation [dB/km]
wavelength [nm]
C
core
> 750 μm
C
core
= 500 μm
C
core
= 250 μm
100
1000
10000
30
300
3000
Fig. 2.60: Attenuation of different PMMA-SI-POF by Toray
With a few exceptions the losses for all fiber diameters are similar. Some
reasons for the increase in attenuation with thinner fibers could be that either the
high attenuation of the optical cladding plays a greater role or that more stress is
exerted on the thin fiber during manufacture. A fiber with a ¼ mm core diameter
2.3 The Development of POF 83
has only one sixth the thermal capacitance. When the cladding and opaque jacket
are applied this fiber is necessarily warmer. The process temperatures during ma-
nufacture can indeed lie clearly above the glass transition temperature.
The youngest manufacturer of PMMA SI-POF is the Italian company Luceat.
Here fibers for diverse applications, mainly in mechanical engineering, are pro-
duced. The highest quality is still in the developmental stage. A comparison of the
measured values of Luceat fibers (POF-AC 2006, [Ziem06h]) with the values
from [Wei98], more or less the POF reference curve up until now, is shown in
Fig. 2.61.
100
80
500
300
200
50
60
[Wei98]
attenuation [dB/km]
400 450 500 550 600 650 700
wavelength [nm]
Luceat
Fig. 2.61: Attenuation of SI-POF by Luceat (2006)
In the area of 520 nm this fiber is even somewhat better that the data of the best
fibers so far. Thanks to the availability of reasonably priced and fast green LEDs
this advantage can be assessed very highly. As part of the European POF project
POF-ALL (see www.ist-pof-all.org) the transmission of a 10 Mbit/s data stream
was able to be demonstrated over 425 m (see System Chapter).
2.3.3 Double Step Index Profile Polymer Fibers
We have already discussed the principle idea of a double step index profile POF.
All three important Japanese manufacturers presented such fiber types around
1995. After the expectations that ATM would become the dominating network
technology in the home were not fulfilled, these fibers have more or less become
niche products today, albeit at relatively high prices. Today in many areas there is
a demand for data rates which require the use of these fibers instead of the normal
SI-POFs. Technically, DSI-POFs are on a comparable level and would hardly be
more expensive than SI-POFs when produced in high volumes.
84 2.3 The Development of POF
Table 2.6 compares the properties of DSI-POFs of the three manufacturers
([Mit01], [Nich03], [LC00b]).
Table 2.6: Overview of DSI-POF
Mitsubishi Toray Asahi
MH4001 PMU-CD1001 AC1000(I)
diameter [μm] 980 1000 ± 45 1000 ± 60
attenuation (650 nm) [dB/km] 160 170 160
numerical aperture - 0.30 0.32 0.25
bandwidth MHz km 10 >10 15
temperature range [°C] -55 .. +75 -20 .. +70 -40 .. +70
bend radius [mm] 25 - 25
We would like to point out once again that the DSI-POFs are usually offered
now as before as low NA POF. In the first few years manufacturers did not pro-
vide any information at all about the double cladding structure. In [Eng98b] the
double cladding structure was proven quite early on the basis of measurements of
the far field and with optical microscopy. In Fig. 2.62 you can see the far field dis-
tributions for different fiber lengths measured with the inverse far field method at
the FH Gießen/Friedberg.
-30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30
O [°]
1 m
10 m
50 m
90 m
ì = 594 nm
1.0
0.8
0.2
0.0
0.6
0.4
P
opt
Fig. 2.62: Inverse far field measurement of a DSI-POF
You can clearly see that after short distances much light from the interface
layer between inner and outer cladding is still guided. After 50 m these shares
have disappeared and the angle distribution corresponds to a true low NA POF.
Figure 2.63 shows two microscope photos of DSI-POF (Univ. of Ulm). Both
optical claddings can be easily recognized.
At the 2003 POF Conference Mitsubishi was the first manufacturer to present
the actual structure. The effect of suppressing higher modes by high attenuation of
the inner cladding was also confirmed theoretically and experimentally. For
example, Asahi gives a value of 6000 dB/km at 650 nm for the losses in the inner
2.3 The Development of POF 85
Fig. 2.63: Double cladding structure of a POF
2.3.4 Multi-Core Polymer Fibers
Since 1994, polymer fibers as multi-core fibers have been introduced, e.g. in
[Tesh98], [Mun94], [Asa97] and [Tesh98]. Table 2.7 shows a few parameters
from these publications.
Table 2.7: Multi-core POF (Asahi Chemical)
Type Ref. No. of
Cores
Structure NA Attenuation
at 650 nm
Bandwidth
NMC-1000 POF´94 19 SI 0.25 125 dB/km 170 MHz100 m
PMC-1000 Data´96 217 SI 0.15 270 dB/km n. a.
MCS-1000 Data´97 217 SI - 320 dB/km n. a.
- POF´98 37 DSI 0.19 155 dB/km 700 MHz50 m
- POF´98 37 DSI 0.25 160 dB/km n. a.
- POF´98 37 DSI 0.33 160 dB/km n. a.
NMC-1000 Data´98 37 DSI 0.25 160 dB/km 500 MHz50 m
PMC-1000 Data´98 37 DSI 0.19 160 dB/km n. a.
- POF´98 217 SI 0.50 160 dB/km n. a.
- POF´98 217 SI 0.33 160 dB/km n. a.
The MC-POF features a noticeably reduced sensitivity to bending and only in-
significantly increased attenuation as well as a significantly increased bandwidth
compared to single core fibers, this being due to the possibility of smaller nume-
rical apertures. Whether these fibers can be produced at the same price is still an
open question. Should this be possible, data rates of 500 Mbit/s up to 1 Gbit/s over
50 m can easily be achieved in commercial applications. At the POF-AC a data
rate of over 1 Gbit/s over 100 m MC-POF has already been achieved.
At present, only Asahi chemical offers MC-POF for data communication while
other manufacturers offer this kind of fiber for lighting purposes or also as image
guiding fiber. The following photos show the cross-sections of the three, presently
available MC-POFs with 37, 217 and 631 cores (the 19 core variant is no longer
available).
86 2.3 The Development of POF
Fig. 2.64: Photo by microscope of MC-POF, 37, 217 respectively 631 cores
An overview of the technical data of the four different MC-POFs is summa-
rized in the following Table 2.8 (Nichimen data sheets). The PMC 1000 permits
the highest data rates on the basis of experiments conducted so far since it posses-
ses a DSI structure.
Table 2.8: Data of MC-POF
Parameter
Unit MCQ-1000 MCS-1000 NMC-1000 PMC-1000
number of cores - 613 217 19 37
C
single core
μm 37 60 200 130
core material - PMMA PMMA PMMA PMMA
cladding material - fluoro polymer FMA-copolymer
2
nd
NA - 0.5 ± 0.05 0.50 0.25 0.19
C
fiber core
mm 1.0 ± 0.06 1.0 ± 0.06 1.0 ± 0.06 1.0 ± 0.06
C
cable
mm 2.2 ± 0.07 2.2 ± 0.10 2.2 ± 0.10 2.2 ± 0.10
jacket PE PE (black) PE (black) PE (black)
attenuation
1)
dB/km <200 320 163
4)
163
4)
bit rate (50 m) Mbit/s n. a. n. a. 350
5)
500
5)
temperature °C -40 .. +60 -40 .. +60 -40 .. +70 -40 .. +70
bend loss
2)
dB <0.1 <0.2
3)
<0.1
3)
<0.1
3)
1)
Cut back 12 - 2 m, at 650 nm
4)
650 nm monochromatic light
2)
R = 3 mm, 180°, no stress
5)
650 nm LD, BER = 10
-12
3)
R = 3 mm, 360°, Launch-NA: 0.2
We do have to point out one special feature of these four MC POFs: the fibers
are tightly bound in the cable as opposed to the individual fibers in a fiber glass
bundle or other MC POFs used in lighting technology. The share of the core
surface is not only enlarged, but it is considerably easier to work the fibers. These
strands can be mounted like quite normal 1 mm SI-POFs.
The two enormous advantages of MC-POF, namely the high band width and
the low bending losses, have in the meantime been somewhat qualified since con-
siderably cheaper GI-POFs on a PMMA basis have become available. The latter
will be treated in the next paragraph.
2.3 The Development of POF 87
2.3.5 Multi-Step Index Profile and Graded Index Profile Fibers
The greatest bandwidths of all fibers - with the exception of the singlemode fibers
- are shown by graded index profile fibers. They have been used extensively for
some time in the field of silica glass fibers and are a standard. In the USA, predo-
minately fibers with a core diameter of 62.5 μm are used, whereas in Europe and
most other countries fibers with a core diameter of 50 μm are used. This diameter
is nevertheless 5 to 6 times greater than with singlemode fibers whereby the plug
costs are greatly reduced and the coupling of lasers is also easier. The bandwidth-
length product (BLP) of these multimode glass fibers lies in the range of 200 to
500 MHz · km. For the transmission of 10 Gbit/s a new fiber specification with a
BLP of 2,000 MHz · km at a wavelength of 850 nm is even being developed (for
example, see [Oeh02] and [Geo01]).
The advantages of the large core diameter and high bandwidth would be an
optimal combination with POFs. Furthermore, numerous problems with the core-
cladding interface area would cease to exist with GI fibers since the light guiding
would take place exclusively in the core. Glass GI fibers are produced by applying
many layers of a SiO
2
-GeO
2
mixture with different compositions to a quartz glass
pipe. Finally, the fiber is drawn (several 100 km) out of such a preform. Unfor-
tunately, this is not possible with POFs. The different methods and combinations
of materials with which attempts have been made to produce GI-POF will be des-
cribed further on. Since GI fibers are difficult to produce - as we shall describe
later on - a series of multi step index profile POFs have been introduced. These
MSI-POFs also offer high bandwidth depending on the number of steps. For now,
the optical characteristics are summarized here.
Table 2.9 shows an overview of the values for PMMA-based GI, MC and MSI
fibers. To the best knowledge of the author, all PMMA-GI-POF published to date
are produced by doping, whereas only MSI-POF are produced in a co-polymeri-
zation process.
Table 2.9: Published data of PMMA-GI-, MSI- and MC-POF (IGPT: interfacial gel poly-
merization technique; PFM: preform method)
Ref. Year Producer Material Øcore
μm
Attenuation
dB/km
at ì
nm
NA Remarks
[Koe98] 1998 1 11
8 100 m
[Koi95] 1982 Keio Univ.
MMAcoVPAc
- 1070 670 - first GI-POF
[Koi96c] 1990 Keio Univ. PMMA - - - -
670 nm: 300 MHzkm
[Koi95] 1990 Keio Univ.
MMA co VB
- 130 650 -
[Koi90] 1990 Keio Univ. MMA-VB - 134 652 -
IGPT, 260 MHz1 km
[Koi90] 1990 Keio Univ.
MMA-VPAc
- 143 652 -
IGPT,125 MHz 1km
[Koi92] 1992 Keio Univ. PMMA 200-1500 113 650 -
IGPT, 1,000 MHzkm
[Koi92] 1992 Keio Univ. PMMA 200-1500 90 570 -
[Non94] 1994 Sumitomo PMMA 400 160 650 0.26
An=0.014, 8GHz50m
[Shi95] 1995 BOF PMMA 600 300 650 0.19
3 GHz100 m
88 2.3 The Development of POF
Table 2.9: Published data of PMMA-GI-, MSI- and MC-POF, continued
Ref. Year Producer Material Øcore
μm
Attenuation
dB/km
at ì
nm
NA Remarks
[Ish95] 1995 Keio Univ.
PMMA-DPS
500-1000 150 650 -
585 MHzkm
[Koi97b] 1997 Keio Univ. PMMA - - - -
2 GHz100 m
[Tak98] 1998 Kurabe PMMA 500 132 650 -
2 GHz100m, PFM
[Tak98] 1998 Kurabe PMMA 500 145 650 -
2 GHz90m, PFM
[Tak98] 1998 Kurabe PMMA 500 159 650 -
680 MHz50m, PFM
[Tak98] 1998 Kurabe PMMA 500 329 650 - PFM
[Mye02] 2002 Dig. Optr. Polymer 180 350 685 0.20 no samples available
[Shin02] 2002 KIST Korea PMMA 1000 120 650 0.26
g=2.4; 3.45 GHz100m
[Liu02a] 2002 Huiyuan PMMA - - - - since 2001
[Luv03] 2003 Luvantix PMMA ? 160 650 0.33 3.5 GHz bandwidth
[Fuj04] 2004 Lumistar PMMA 500
3 Gbps50m
[Rich04] 2004 Optimedia PMMA 900 200 650 0.40 commercially available
[Yoo04] 2004 Optimedia PMMA 675 200 650 0.40 commercially available
[Nuv05] 2005 Nuvitech PMMA 500 180 650 0.25
3 Gbps50m
[Nuv05] 2005 Nuvitech PMMA 900 180 650 0.30
3 Gbps50m
[Fuj06] 2004
Lumistar-X
new low loss 120 100 850 ?
10 GHz50m
MSI-POF
[Shi99] 1997 Mitsubishi
(Eska-Miu)
PMMA 700 210 650 0.30
500 MHz50m, 4-7 layers (?)
[Lev99] 1999 RPC Tver PMMA/ 4FFA 800 400 650
7 layers, 310 MHz100 m
From the beginning of the 90s, it became possible to produce PMMA-GI-POF
having an attenuation at 650 nm that is similar in quality to that of SI-POF. In
doing so, it was possible to attain bandwidths up to 50 times larger which are ade-
quate for transmitting several Gbit/s across distances up to 200 m. Likewise,
multi-core and multi-step index POF achieve similar values for attenuation and
allow data rates up to 1 Gbit/s across distances of 50 m, e.g. for applications in
compliance with IEEE1394 (up to S800). The core diameter of all these fibers
typically lies between 0.5 mm and 1 mm which means that existing reasonably
priced connectors can be used.
Multi-step index profile fibers - the last lines in the table - have been described
in [She99] and [Lev99]. In the group headed by Prof. Levin, different materials
were used for the production of layers with different refractive indices
(P(MMA/4FFA), P(MMA/4FMA) and PMMA-naphthalene). The best results
were obtained with the mixture PMMA/4FFA which has an attenuation of
approximately 400 dB/km (at 650 nm) and a bandwidth of 310 MHz·100 m. The
total number of 7 steps in the fiber with a core diameter of approximately 800 μm
were produced in a preform and subsequently drawn.
The ESKA-MIU has a core/cladding diameter of 700 μm/750 μm and also has
several layers (probably between 4 and 7) which are produced by co-polymeri-
zation. Originally, 4 to 7 layers were presumably being aimed at but in the end this
2.3 The Development of POF 89
fiber with 3 layers was achieved as a product. It is said to be produced in a con-
tinuous drawing process. The bandwidth in [Shi99] is stated to be larger than
500 MHz 50 m. In several publications this fiber is called a GI-POF ([Sak98],
[Num99]). The difference between this design and “genuine” GI fibers is prima-
rily the larger core diameter. In [Num99] the attenuation of the fiber is stated as
being 210 dB/km with an A
N
= 0.30, i.e. values that are comparable with the DSI-
POF. Materials and measurements of the index profile will be discussed in the
Section Production and Materials.
Institutes and companies from South Korea have been very successful in
producing PMMA GI-POF. In the past few years publications have come from:
¾ Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Kwangju Institute of
Science and Technology (KIST), Kwangju
¾ Center for Advanced Functional Polymer, Department of Chemical Enginee-
ring, KAIST, Taejon, Korea
¾ E-Polymer Laboratory, SAIT, Taejon, Korea
¾ Optics Laboratory, Seoul, Korea
¾ Optimedia, Korea
¾ Nuvitech, Korea
¾ Luvantix, Korea
The production method for GI POF is described in [Shin03]. A MMA-BzMA
mixture is poured into a rotating cylinder. The purpose of the rotation is simply to
form even concentric layers. The polymerization takes place thermally and the
concentration of BzMA is continuously increased to 15%. This emerging preform
is then drawn into a fiber. Figure 2.65 shows the pulse broadening for a 66 m long
fiber which corresponds to a BLP of 3.45 GHz · 100 m. The smallest measured
attenuation of the fiber is given at 120.6 dB/km.
1600 0 200 600 1000 1200 1400 400 800
-0.2
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
1.2
Intensity [a.u.]
t [ps]
1 m
99.5 ps
66 m
129.5 ps
Fig. 2.65: Pulse broadening in PMMA-GI-POF ([Shin03])
90 2.3 The Development of POF
Since 2004, a new GI-POF on a PMMA basis has been available on the market.
The OM-Giga (see [Rich04] and [Yoo04]) has a core diameter of 900 μm or
675 μm respectively and a nearly parabolic profile. It is produced through poly-
merization of several layers, although the steps are almost completely smoothed
through thermal treatment. According to the data sheets available in the Internet
the fibers have the following parameters (Table 2.10).
Table 2.10: Parameter of GI-POF OM-Giga
Property Unit B-075 B-100 Remarks
core diameter μm 750 (675) 1,000 (900) (GI-region)
diameter variations % ±5 ±5
tensile strength N > 35 > 65 at break
temperature range °C -30 .. +60 -30 .. +60
attenuation dB/km < 200 < 200 at 650 nm
bandwidth GHz > 1.5 > 1.5 for 100 m
The fact that this fiber possesses thermal stability comparable to a standard
POF, different from GI-POF with doping, must be rated as a particularly great
step. Even after 5,000 hours of operation at 80°C no change in the bandwidth
could be determined. The cross-section of a 1 mm OM-Giga is shown in Fig. 2.66
(microscope photograph shown in wrong colors). The approx. 10 index steps can
still be seen quite well.
Fig. 2.66: Cross section of an OM-Giga (POF-AC) and a MSI (Tver, [Ald05])
In Fig. 2.67 the change in the refractive index profile of a doped PMMA
GI-POF is shown after accelerated aging (122 hours at +109°C, from [Bly98a] and
[Bly98b]). You can see quite well that the index profile is still parabolic at the
beginning of the aging process. The share of the dopants is the greatest in the
center of the fiber which is why the glass transition temperature has sunk the most.
2.3 The Development of POF 91
The dopant diffuses outwardly. Consequently, the concentration increases out-
wardly, T
g
also drops there and the diffusion process continues until the profile has
almost become rectangular. The attenuation of the fiber will hardly increase, but
the bandwidth drops dramatically. Decisive for the application temperature of the
fiber is the dopant concentration in the axis.
Fig. 2.67: Change of the refractive index profile of a GI-POF by ageing
Measurements on OM-Giga at the POF-AC will subsequently be introduced.
The results of a long-term temperature test are shown in Fig. 2.68. The bandwidth
was measured for over 5,000 hours on a 50 m long sample in order to be able to
determine changes in the index profile.
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
measured bandwidth [MHz]
0 400 800 1200 1600 2000 2400
time [h]
70°C 80°C
Fig. 2.68: Long-term behavior of OM-Giga
92 2.3 The Development of POF
The frequency range of the network analyzer extended to 1.3 GHz. The values
represented were determined through extrapolation and thus burdened with a rela-
tively large error. A clear deviation from the parabolic index profile would in any
event have caused a very strong decrease in the bandwidth.
The stable bandwidth proves that co-polymerization is obviously a suitable
means to produce thermally stable and thus long-life PMMA GI-POF.
A comparison of the measured attenuation of ESKA-MIU and OM-Giga is
shown in Fig. 2.69. The attenuation of the OM Giga is somewhat higher at 650 nm
than that of the Mitsubishi fiber and also of the SI-POF. However, it clearly shows
the greatest bandwidth.
100
1000
400 450 500 550 600 650 700
attenuation [dB/km]
800
600
400
300
200
wavelength [nm]
OM-Giga
ESKA-MIU
161 dB/km
217 dB/km
Fig. 2.69: Spectral attenuation of ESKA-MIU and OM-Giga
The Korean manufacturer Luvantix offers preforms for PMMA GI-POF
([Luv03] and [Kim03]). The index profiles from both refernces - measured values
and approximation of each - are shown in Fig. 2.70.
The authors do not know what relations exist between Luvantix as preform
manufacturer and Nuvitech and Optimedia as fiber producers as well the different
research institutes. Overall, however, POF production in South Korea seems to
enjoy greater attention and more progress in the field is foreseeable.
Other announcements concerning the production of GI-POF came from the
USA (Digital Optronics and Nanoptics, [Wal02], [Mye02] and from China
[Liu02a]). Since no data or even fibers are known from these producers they will
not be considered in greater detail.
In Sections 2.5 and 2.6 data on bending behavior and bandwidth are summa-
rized. The production methods are presented in Section 2.8.
2.4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission 93
1.492
1.494
1.496
1.498
1.500
1.502
1.504
1.506
1.508
1.510
1.512
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
refractive index
0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
refractive index
theory
measured
1.460
1.465
1.470
1.475
1.480
1.485
1.490
1.495
1.500
1.505
1.510
theory
measured
A A
N N
= = 0 0. .2 21 1
A A
N N
= = 0 0. .3 32 2
c
c
)
Fig. 2.70: PMMA GI-POF index profile (left: [Kim03], right: [Luv03])
2.4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission
2.4.1 200 μm Glass Fibers with Polymer Cladding
Thanks to their simple production and great robustness silica glass fibers with
polymer cladding have been used for a long time. Figure 2.71 shows the principle
structure. A core (typically with a diameter of 200 μm) of homogeneous SiO
2
is
surrounded by a high-strength, transparent polymer with smaller refractive indices
C 2.3 mm
outer jacket
C 500 μm
inner jacket
C 230 μm
polymer
C 200 μm
SiO
2
-core
Fig. 2.71: Structure of a 200 μm PCS
Production is so easy because the core is drawn from a quartz glass cylinder.
The polymer cladding is applied by extrusion after it has cooled off. First of all, all
glass fibers are extremely sensitive to water and must be protected by a plastic
coating as thick as possible. Furthermore, pure glass fibers do not have a great
94 2.4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission
mechanical load capability. The polymer cladding gives the fibers the capacity to
bear extreme loads. The jacketed fiber can thus hardly be shattered. Pure glass-
glass fibers (glass core with an optical glass cladding) are always surrounded by
similar protective layers, e.g. acrylates which, however, do not have any optical
function.
Because of its refractive index and attenuation the polymer cladding determines
to a great extent the optical parameters of the PCS. In short wavelength ranges the
attenuation nearly corresponds to pure SiO
2
fibers. Above approx. 1,000 nm the
losses in the polymers are so high that the effective PCS attenuation also rises ra-
pidly. Silica glass can endure temperatures up to 1,000°C, but not the polymer
cladding. Consequently, the primary coating material determines the thermal and
chemical characteristics. Most PCSs available in the market have been specified
for an application temperature of +70°C. Some more recent types have been di-
mensioned for use in automobile networks for temperatures up to +125°C. Infor-
mation on such PCSs can be found for example in [Hub03] and [Schö03]. Fig 2.72
has been taken from the latter work. You can clearly recognize how strongly the
attenuation spectra of different PCSs can depend on the cladding materials
selected.
0.1
1
10
100
1000
10,000
200 400 600 800 1,000 1,200 1,400 1,600 1,800
attenuation [dB/km]
wavelength [nm]
theoretical limit
diff. PCS
Fig. 2.72: Attenuation of different 200 μm PCS according to [Schö03]
Just as with glass-glass fibers the absence of water plays an important role for
PCS for keeping losses low especially in the long-wave ranges. So-called all-silica
fibers in which the optical cladding consists of silica glass are used at high tem-
peratures. These fibers are also employed for the transmission of very high light
power (working with lasers) since it is very important that no light is absorbed at
2.4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission 95
Table 2.11 lists some of the representative types taken from a number of diffe-
rent PCS variants which differ in cladding material, core diameter and NA (data
from [Hub03] and [OFS02]).
Table 2.11: Properties of different PCS
Parameter Unit All Silica
High OH
All Silica
Low OH
HCS
High NA
HCS
Low OH
PCS
[Hub03]
producer OFS OFS OFS OFS Polymicro
core/
μm 200/240
365/400
550/600
940/1000
200/240
365/400
550/600
940/1000
200/230
400/430
125/140
200/230
300/330
400/430
200/230
NA - 0.22 0.22 0.43 0.37 0.37
o (820 nm) dB/km 10
10
10
10
8
8
8
10
6
8
12
6
8
8
6
bandwidth MHz km n. a. n. a. n. a. 20
20
15
13
20
(long term)
mm 14
47
94
118
14
47
94
118
16
47
15
16
24
47
16
temperature °C -65..+135 -65..+135 -65..+125 -65..+125 -40..+125
PCS are generally used in lengths of up to a maximum of 200 m. The attenu-
ation then only amounts to a few dB which can for the most part normally be dis-
regarded. If a LED is used as a transmitter, considerably less light will be coupled
into the fiber than into a 1 mm POF. On the other hand, the light can be coupled
more effectively into the photodiode. Different manufacturers even offer trans-
mission systems which can work with the same plug construction with POF as
well as with 200 μm PCS, e.g. [HP01].
system with
1 mm POF
system with
200 μm PCS
-4 -6 -8 -10 -12 -14 -16 -18 -20 -22 -24 -26 -28 -30
P
opt
[dBm]
LED-power range (launched into the fiber)
allowed path loss (with margin)
Fig. 2.73: Link power budget for POF and PCS
96 2.4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission
Fig. 2.73 shows power budgets for both possibilities, each with the same trans-
mitters and receivers (system for 125 Mbit/s).
The result for PCS is a permissible fiber attenuation of at least 11 dB - taking
the system margin into consideration - thanks to the greater input power. In this
way at least 20 m of POF can be bridged. The guaranteed loss for PCSs is only
7 dB. However, at least 100 m of fiber can be bridged, limited here due to the
bandwidth.
10 100 20 60 40 30 80
10
100
200
20
40
70
recommended
application
area with POF
max. bit rate [Mbit/s]
max. at +25°C
10 1000 20 200 100 50 500
max. bit rate [Mbit/s]
max. at +25°C
fiber length [m]
fiber length [m]
recommended
application
area with PCS
Fig. 2.74: System parameters of the HP-system with POF and PCS (according to [HP01])
The bandwidth for PCS indicated in the data sheets has to be viewed with a
certain degree of skepticism. Measurements conducted at the POF-AC show that
all PCSs investigated with A
n
= 0.37 at full launch have a BLP in the range of
5-7 MHz · km. This lies clearly below the specified data of 10-20 MHz · km. This
is not a contradiction, however, since none of the manufacturers as a precaution
provided any information about the measurement conditions. One reason may be
that the PCS was developed for relatively low data rates (10 Mbit/s and less). The
fiber bandwidth therefore did not play any role whatsoever while the POF was
also designed from the very beginning for higher data rates. Diverse information
and publications on bandwidth exist for the different polymer fibers as summa-
rized in Chapter 2.5. The most recent draft for the standardization of PCS is
viewed by the IEC as having a bandwidth of 5 MHz · km for fibers with a NA of
0.40 ± 0.04.
A specific problem with PCS in the past was that the temperature coefficients
of glass and plastic did indeed deviate considerably from one another. In the case
of some fibers this resulted in a refractive index difference - and NA, too - which
dropped to zero at low temperatures. This effect is shown in Fig. 2.75 taken from
[Dug88].
Far field distributions are represented in the picture after 2 m of fiber at diffe-
rent temperatures. They were measured with laser stimulation at altered angles. In
this case the optical cladding was a silicone plastic. Modern PCSs no longer show
this effect.
2.4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission 97
0.0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.9
1.0
-5 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
rel. power
+40°C
-2°C
-31°C
-51°C
-65°C
-72°C
-92°C
-98°C
u [°]
Fig. 2.75: Temperature dependence of PCS-NA, presented as far field
Up until some time ago this class of fibers was only available as a product from
the manufacturer Sumitomo ([Sum03]). Except for the gradients introduced this
fiber corresponds to conventional PCS. The index variation is attained by adding
germanium which is also usual for silica glass. Even with normal 50 μm GI fibers
the germanium share represents a considerable cost factor. The semi-GI PCS,
however, has a 16-fold cross-section. This type of fiber is still extremely expen-
sive. It is still open how far the price can drop when manufacturing greater
lengths. In the meantime, OFS has appeared as a second manufacturer
([Ziem06i]).
450 500 550 600 650 700 750 800 850 900 950 1000
10
100
8
80
6
60
4
40
20
30
spectral attenuation [dB/km]
Sumitomo
OFS
wavelength [nm]
Fig. 2.76: Spectral attenuation of the semi-GI-PCS
98 2.4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission
Figures 2.76 and 2.77 show the attenuation curve and the pulse response of the
semi-GI-PCS based on measurements made at the POF-AC. The following table
gives the parameters from the data sheet - the bending radius and the operating
temperature are not specified. The bandwidth and maximum data rate measure-
ments are dealt with in the corresponding sections.
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
opt. power [a.U.]
0 10 20 30
t [ns]
FWHM: 6.8 ns
~ 32 MHzkm
full mode launch
500 m PCS
Fig. 2.77: Pulse response of Semi-GI-PCS
Table 2.12: Parameters of Semi-GI-POF
Parameter Unit HG-series
Sumitomo
Semi-GI V2
OFS
core μm 200 200
core structure n. a. n. a. VAD/MCVD GI
NA - 0.40 0.36
GI-NA n. a. 0.275
o (820 nm) dB/km 6 8
bandwidth MHz km 100 48 (overfilled)
2.4.3 Glass Fiber Bundles
2.4.3.1 Quartz Glass Fiber Bundles
Glass fiber bundles are employed in the most diverse areas. Above all, it makes
sense to use them when a large light-guiding cross-section is to be combined with
high cable flexibility. In optical measurement techniques bundles of quartz glass
fibers are employed which permit a continuous high transmission rate in the range
between 380 nm and 2000 nm. If you lay out the fibers differently at both ends of
2.4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission 99
the cable, then they can also serve as cross-section converters, e.g. monochro-
mators. The end surfaces are usually prepared: the bundle is glued in the plug and
then polished. Figure 2.78 shows an example.
Fig. 2.78: Example for a quartz glass fiber bundle
The transmission of such a bundle is shown in Fig. 2.79 (acc. to [Ori01]). The
greatest part of the 100% missing share is determined by the only about 60% part
of the core surfaces and the Fresnel losses. The numerical aperture of the bundle
shown is 0.22, the length is about 1 m, and the single fiber diameter is 200 μm.
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
200 400 600 800 1,000 1,200 1,400 1,600 1,800 2,000
transmission
wavelength [nm]
Fig. 2.79: Transmission of a quartz glass fiber bundle [Ori01]
100 2.4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission
2.4.3.2 Glass Fiber Bundles
Pure quartz glass is many times more expensive than normal polymers but also as
conventional mineral optical glasses. Attenuations of some 100 dB/km is absolu-
tely acceptable for many applications, e.g. in lighting technology. Schott has been
producing bundles of thin glass-glass fibers for quite some time. The index diffe-
rence can be varied in diverse areas by choosing a particular glass composition.
The spectral attenuation of a typical glass fiber bundle compared with a PMMA
POF is shown in Fig. 2.80. The glass has higher losses in the blue areas whereby
the cable length is limited when guiding white light. The POF has greater losses in
the near infrared range.
100
1,000
200
500
50
500 550 600 650 700 750 800 850 500 550
ì [nm]
MC-GOF
POF
o [dB/km]
Fig. 2.80: Spectral attenuation of glass fiber bundles and POF
An entirely new application for such glass fiber bundles has come about with
the ever increasing use of optical networks in vehicles. The previous systems are
specified with 1 mm POF. Two parameters especially limit the use: the tempera-
ture range is limited to a maximum of +85º and the relatively large bending radius.
Both limitations can be reduced considerably with glass fiber bundles, whereby
the usual optical characteristics are for the most part retained so that the identical
active components can be used. Table 2.13 from [Lub04b] compares the parame-
ters of a glass fiber bundle (MC-GOF) with those of a POF for vehicle networks.
The construction of the plug is especially problematical. The usual method of
cementing and polishing takes too much time for mass production and results in
the core surface having too low a share with correspondingly high losses with the
plug connections.
Megomat TS AG, working together with Schott, has developed a new kind of
assembly procedure ([War03]). The actual fiber bundle has a diameter of 1.2 mm.
The plug has a metal ferrule with a corresponding opening. During production the
fiber bundle is heated to such an temperature that the glass can be compressed.
The fibers are pressed closely together when crimped so that the diameter of the
bundle is lowered to 1 mm.
2.4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission 101
Table 2.13: Comparison MC-GOF and POF
Parameter Unit MC-GOF MOST-POF
core diameter [μm] 53 1,000 ± 45
number of cores - approx. 400 1
n
core
/n
- 1.585 / 1.49 1.49 / 1.40
numerical aperture - 0.50 0.50
attenuation at 650 nm [dB/km] 250 160
bandwidth (full launch) [MHz·20 m] 150 >50 (200 typ.)
temperature [°C] -40 .. 125 -40 ..85
The core share of the plug end face then amounts to about 85%. After the
crimping the bundle is broken off and polished. Figure 2.81 shows a photo of the
plug end face.
Fig. 2.81: Photograph of a MC-GOF
The irregular arrangement of fibers in the bundle leads to different patterns
when pressed together. Neighboring fibers mostly form regular hexagonal struc-
tures which can, however, also have big gaps. Every once in a while linear struc-
tures with pentagonal fibers are formed. The individual fibers are deformed at the
edge of the bundle, something which happens quite irregularly.
102 2.4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission
Fig. 2.82: Details of MC-GOF connector end faces
Fig. 2.83: Details of MC-GOF connector end faces
Since the bundle consists of about 400 individual fibers this irregular defor-
mation of individual fibers does not play any role overall. Since the deformations
only arise over a few millimeters there is no significant additional attenuation.
In conclusion, Fig. 2.84 shows an x-ray photo of the bundle within the cable.
The individual fibers have to move freely within the cable. When there is a tight
bend the change in length is distributed on the inside and outside for a long stretch
so that the fibers are only subject to a slight load. That is why the bundle can take
bending radii of only a few mm.
Fig. 2.84: X-ray picture of a bundle
2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 103
2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers
In order to be able to determine the bandwidth of an optical fiber, several different
influencing factors need to be considered. Mode dispersion and chromatic disper-
sion are the most important factors involved in multimode fibers. Particularly in
the case of POF, mode dispersion depends on various parameters such as wave-
length, the light launching conditions, refractive index profile, fiber-laying condi-
tions as well as the homogeneity of the fiber's characteristics. In the following
sections we intend to show how the conclusions drawn from basic physical pro-
cesses can be used to explain values that are measured in reality.
2.5.1 Definition of Bandwidth
It is possible to define the term bandwidth in quite different ways. Essentially it
describes the frequency range of a system within which the transmission of signals
can be achieved with reasonable attenuation. In POF systems, the limiting factor is
usually the bandwidth of the fiber itself, which is created by modal dispersion. As
we will demonstrate later on, one can describe the SI-POF as being very close to a
Gaussian low pass filter. In this book we will use the following definition of band-
width:
f
3dB
: Frequency at which the amplitude of a sinus modulated monochromatic
signal has been reduced to ½ of the optical level (see Fig. 2.28).
Figure 2.85 schematically illustrates this definition.
frequency f
rel. opt. amplitude at
fiber output
0.0
0.5
1.0
bandwidth f
3dB
frequency response
Fig. 2.85: Definition of POF bandwidth
Nonetheless, knowledge of the bandwidth alone is not adequate for estimating
what the actual capacity of the complete link will be. In order to determine this
parameter, it is further necessary to know the actual transmission procedure as
well as the complete transmission function. For example, it is possible to transmit
signals of significantly broader bandwidth if an electrical compensation of the
frequency response takes place, as illustrated schematically in Fig. 2.86.
104 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers
P(f)
POF
0.0
0.5
1.0
0 1 2
P(f)
compensating filter
0 1 2
P(f)
resulting
0 1 2
f [a.U.]
f
f
Fig. 2.86: Compensation of the POF low pass characteristic
A high pass filter is used for compensation. In the case of low frequencies, the
signal is attenuated - in the case of higher frequencies the signal is passed through
without attenuation. The resulting function has a significantly higher bandwidth;
however, due to the overall existing level of attenuation, a higher level of signal is
necessary.
In addition, the type of signal involved (digital or analogue) is also of signifi-
cance and finally the required system reserves must be considered. The following
general relationship can be used as a rule of thumb for digital systems:
maximum bit rate [Mbit/s] = 2 × bandwidth [MHz].
We intend here to look at bandwidth as a function of fiber characteristics. For
this reason, the effect of chromatic dispersion will be initially neglected because it
is directly proportionally dependent on the spectral width of the source.
In this section we will show experimental investigations on the bandwidth of
SI-POF fibers. After explaining the measurement procedures, we will show to
what extent bandwidth is particularly dependent on the launching conditions.
2.5.2 Experimental Determination of Bandwidth
As a frequency response multimode fibers show an almost Gaussian-like behavior:
( )
2
0
2
f / f
0
e P ) f ( P =
As can be easily demonstrated, the amplitude of a Gaussian low pass filter
(P(f) = P
0
· exp (f²/f
0
²)) for f = 1.17741 · f
0
has dropped to half the value that
applies for f = 0. When using a spectrum analyzer to measure the frequency
response of a fiber link, it is necessary to determine the electrical 6 dB width
because the photodiode will convert the optical power proportionally into a
current. Therefore the following applies:
2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 105
2
opt el
P P =
Figure 2.87 shows an example for such a bandwidth measurement for a 30 m
standard NA-POF.
-18
-15
-12
-9
-6
-3
1 10 100 1,000
electr. power [dBm]
measured
Gaußian
approx.
15 m SI
650 nm
239 MHz
NA: 0.34
f [MHz]
Fig. 2.87: Bandwidth measurement at a SI-POF
Due to the limited dynamics of the measurement system, the frequency res-
ponse can be measured only up to a certain distance. In this case a measurement of
up to 200 MHz was easily possible. The 3 dB bandwidth is found simply by deter-
mining the point at which the electrically measured transmission function has
dropped by 6 dB, here approximately 150 MHz.
Apart from the values actually measured, an approximation with a Gaussian
low pass function has been entered into the figure. By determining the frequency
f
0
it is then possible to determine the bandwidth even when the measurement is not
possible because of the limited dynamics or bandwidth of the measuring system.
Figure 2.88 shows the measured transmission functions for a SI-POF and a
DSI-POF of 50 m length each. The optical 3 dB bandwidth for an SI-POF is
approximately 67 MHz, corresponding to a bandwidth-length product of
33 MHz · 100 m, with the NA of the fiber being 0.52. It follows that the measured
value is substantially greater than had been theoretically expected (approximately
14 MHz · 100 m, see Fig. 2.31). For DSI-POF (A
N
= 0.30) the measured value is
130 MHz, corresponding to 65 MHz · 100 m, with the theoretical value being
42 MHz · 100 m.
The measurement was carried out with a 520 nm LED. The LED had a wide
emission angle so that approximate equilibrium mode distribution can be assumed.
106 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers
-12
-9
-6
-3
0
1 10 100 1,000
rel. power [dB]
frequency [MHz]
50 m
St.-NA-POF
50 m
DSI-POF
Fig. 2.88: Bandwidth measurement for SI-POF and DSI-POF
When measuring bandwidth, a two to four ranging factor of deviation from the
theoretical value of an ideal SI fiber can be generally expected, even when wor-
king in an EMD condition. The reason for this is the combination of mode depen-
dent attenuation and mode coupling described in Chapter 1. As a result of the con-
tinuous energy exchange that takes place between the faster and slower modes, the
delay does not rise in proportion to the length. The increased attenuation of those
beams having a particularly large propagation angle - many reflections at the
Figure 2.89 shows the bandwidth measurement of a standard NA-POF for 3
different wavelengths for samples between 20 m and 100 m in length.
fiber length [m]
bandwidth [MHz]
10 100 50 20
650 nm
590 nm
525 nm
ACU 1000, Low-NA
10
100
1000
30
300
fiber length [m]
bandwidth [MHz]
650 nm
590 nm
525 nm
10 100 50 20
GH 4000, St.-NA
Fig. 2.89: Bandwidth of a SI-POF and a DSI-POF at different wavelengths
2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 107
Once again, the measurements in Fig. 2.89 were carried out with an LED
having an emission characteristic near to EMD (see [Gor98] and [Rit98]). The
figure reveals 2 significant items of information:
¾ The bandwidth of the POF does not decrease in proportion to the length
-1
; its
decrease is less than proportional.
¾ The bandwidth of the POF is nearly identical for the 3 attenuation windows.
2.5.3 Experimental Bandwidth Measurements
The section on experimental bandwidth measurements first summarizes the results
from earlier technical literature. As we shall see, determining the bandwidth is
among the most difficult metrological challenges with thick-core fibers. A series
of systematic measurements on the most diverse fibers is introduced as a supple-
ment to the first edition (Alexander Bachmann is responsible for the bandwidth
measurements at the POF-AC, cf. for example [Bun02a] and [Ziem04a]). Since
there are still no standards for the definition and measurement of bandwidth, the
following description will therefore not represent the definitive assessment.
2.5.3.1 Bandwidth of SI-POF
After presenting some examples of our own measurements in the previous section
we will now compare these with measurements carried out by other authors. Some
of the first efforts made to systematically investigate the bandwidth of SI-POF
were undertaken by [Tak91], [Tak93] and [Rit93]. As shown in Fig. 2.90, the
bandwidth was measured for SI-POF having lengths between 20 m and 100 m.
The fiber used was an EH4001 by Mitsubishi with an NA of 0.47. The bandwidth
was measured through the pulse broadening of a 660 nm laser pulse (150 ps).
Different launching devices were used to vary the NA between 0.10 and 0.65. The
detector used consisted of a wide area photo multiplier.
fiber length [m]
bandwidth [MHz]
A
N Launch
= 0.10
A
N Launch
= 0.65
launch
conditions
10
100 20 50
theory
10
100
1,000
20
50
200
500
2,000
Fig. 2.90: Bandwidth measurement according to [Tak91]
108 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers
The results allow three significant conclusions:
¾ The bandwidth of a SI-POF is always significantly higher than the theoretical
values for a SI-POF under theoretical UMD conditions, even with full laun-
ching in the acceptance area.
¾ The measured bandwidth is strongly dependent on the launching conditions.
¾ Although the bandwidth difference for measurements using different laun-
ching conditions decreases with the increasing length of fiber, it is still clearly
in evidence even after 100 m.
Figure 2.91 shows measurements of bandwidths for different detector NA, also
taken from [Tak91]. In principle, detection with a small NA means the same limi-
tation in mode number as launching light at a small angle so that it is not surpri-
sing to find that the value curves are similar.
fiber length [m]
A
N Det
= 0.22
A
N Det
> 0.65
angle range
10
100 20 50
theory
10
100
1,000
30
300
bandwidth [MHz]
Fig. 2.91: Bandwidth measurement according to [Tak91] with different receiver NA
Another measurement of bandwidth on standard NA-POF (1 mm) is presented
in [Tak93] (Fig. 2.92). Again, the measurement was carried out using the pulse
method at 650 nm. Apart from measuring the bandwidth, the half far field width
following the corresponding sample length was also determined.
The bandwidth was calculated from the far field width as follows:
const.) (C
t
C
z B : therefore and
c n 2
A
t
mod
2
FF N,
mod
=
A
=

= A
whereby t
mod
is the modal pulse propagation and B · z is the product of bandwidth
and length. Parameter C is a free selectable constant which depends on the coup-
ling conditions. The speed of light is c. In the formula A
N , FF
is not the fiber para-
meter indicated, but the value measured depending on length.
For a sample length of 10 m, the difference between the measured bandwidth
for launching the light with A
N
= 0.10 and A
N
= 0.65 is more than one order of
magnitude. For lengths up to 100 m this factor decreases to 2.
2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 109
fiber length [m]
bandwidth [MHz]
A
N Launch
= 0.10
A
N Launch
= 0.65
launching
conditions
10
100 20 50
theory based on
far field width
100
1,000
10,000
30
300
3,000
Fig. 2.92: Bandwidth according to [Tak93]
When launching light with a small NA, the bandwidth drops disproportionately,
from approximately 80 MHz km to approximately 16 MHz km. This suggests
an increasing filling out of modal field. By comparison, when launching with a
large NA, the bandwidth is reduced somewhat more slowly than the length, from
approx. 4 MHz km to approx. 5 MHz km. This is due to the effect of mode
coupling and mode related attenuation.
The bandwidth values determined by means of the far field width correlate very
well with the results of the bandwidth measurements made by pulse propagation.
This suggests that mode dependent attenuation and mode conversion are the deter-
mining processes because they affect the bandwidth by changing the mode distri-
bution. In contrast, if mode coupling were more pronounced, the bandwidth would
also change without affecting the far field. However, any estimated quantification
based on these measured results alone would be questionable. In [Rit93] measured
results for the bandwidth of standard NA-POF at launching conditions of
A
N
= 0.10 and A
N
= 0.65 (Fig. 2.93) are also shown.
launching
conditions
A
N Launch
= 0.10
A
N Launch
= 0.65
fiber length [m]
20
100
1,000
2,000
50
200
500
5,000
10 100 1,000 30 300
bandwidth [MHz]
Fig. 2.93: Measured bandwidth of a SI-POF according to [Rit93]
110 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers
Here too, the measured bandwidth for short lengths (20 m) differs by more than
an order of magnitude. For large lengths the difference is reduced corresponding-
ly. The authors calculate the bandwidth based on their own theory that follows the
concept of the diffusion model. Instead of investigating separate modes, this
model investigates modal groups that differ in their 2 angles of propagation (radial
and azimuthally).
The coupling between the modes is described by a diffusion constant that only
takes into account the energy transfer in neighboring mode groups. The model
also takes into account mode dependent attenuation.
In this work the remaining deviation between theory and measured values is
explained by means of the mechanism of mode coupling. In variance to the model,
this is a factor that is not independent of the angle. Simulations provide good
results if elongated scattering centers of 37 μm length and 2.5 μm diameter are
assumed in the fiber with random distribution and orientation along the axis of the
fiber (caused by the drawing process), as shown schematically in Fig. 2.94.
scattering centers
Fig. 2.94: Model for scattering centers in POF
An indication of a non-uniform inner structure of the PMMA fiber is the photo
(from |Fei00|) of the surface of a cut POF taken by a scanning electron micros-
cope and shown in Fig. 2.95. The fibril-like structures in the sub-um range can
clearly be seen.
Fig. 2.95: Microscopic structure of a PMMA POF cut ([Fei00])
2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 111
Figure 2.96 shows further experimental results for the bandwidth of polymer
optical fibers [Kar92]. In each case collimated light or light with an angle adapted
to the fiber's NA (UMD) was launched into the POF. As was the case in the results
previously shown, very large differences result for short lengths of fibers. The
parameter shown in the figure here is the product of bandwidth and length.
10 100 5 50 20 500 200
10
2
5
20
50
sample length [m]
bandwidth length product [MHzkm]
1.0 mm
0.5 mm
0.5 mm
1.0 mm
collimated
UMD
launching
conditions
Fig. 2.96: Measured POF bandwidth of a SI-POF according to [Kar92]
Apart from the effect of the launching NA, [Kar92] also investigates whether
the bandwidth depends on the size of the launched beam. In fact, for UMD laun-
ching, a larger bandwidth was found as well as a smaller light spot, compared with
complete illumination of the fiber cross-section; however, the differences are not
as pronounced as when the launch angle is changed. For collimated light the
relationship is reversed.
Because all processes described up to this point are only dependent on the
angle, it seems surprising to find that the size of the launching spot has an effect
on the measured bandwidth of SI fibers. However, when considering the fact that
mode conversion can cause deviations in location and deviations in angle after just
a short length of the specimen (see schematic in Fig. 2.97), the result becomes
understandable [Kar92].
deviation in location
bending
deviation in angle
Fig. 2.97: Conversion of spatial and angular distances
112 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers
In [Poi00] the results of [Kar92] are compared with current measurements on 2
standard NA-POF by Toray and Mitsubishi (Fig. 2.98). These measurements
qualitatively confirm the previous results. For very short lengths of samples the
differences between small and large launching angles are even greater.
30,000
10,000
3,000
1,000
300
100
30
1 10 100 3 30 300
bandwidth [MHz]
length [m]
theory
NA
Launch
:
Toray 0.09
Mitsubishi 0.09
[Kar92] collimated
Toray 0.64
Mitsubishi 0.64
[Kar92] UMD
Fig. 2.98: Measured bandwidth of different SI-POF according to [Poi00]
2.5.3.2 Bandwidth Measurements on SI-POF
This section as well as the following four sections deals with bandwidth measure-
ments conducted at the POF-AC Nürnberg. All measurements were carried out
under uniform measurement conditions.
Semiconductor diodes with a wavelength of 650 nm or 850 nm respectively
served as transmitters. Both lasers can be modulated analogously up to 2 GHz. A
singlemode glass fiber is mounted firmly to the laser diodes. Using a combination
of different microscope lenses and optical apertures the coupling angle in the area
A
N Launch
= 0.01 to 0.64 can be varied. The coupling spot is directly visible through
a beam splitter. With the aid of adjustment screws the size as well as the position
of the light spot can be changed. Figure 2.99 shows the complete setup of the
measurement device.
A commercial product on the basis of a 400 μm Si-PIN photodiode with an
integrated preamplifier and about 1.5 GHz bandwidth was used as a receiver. In
order to attain mode independence the receiver was connected to a 1 mm mixed
glass fiber bundle with a large NA.
2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 113
Fig. 2.99: Experimental setup of bandwidth measuring by POF-AC
The lengths and NA-dependent bandwidths were systematically measured for a
series of different step index profile fibers. An overview can be found in
[Bun02a]. The following Figs. 2.100 to 2.102 show the results for three types of
fiber:
¾ 1 mm standard PMMA POF with A
N
= 0.46
N
= 0.54
¾ 1 mm polycarbonate POF with A
N
= 0.75
10 100 5 50 20
100
1,000
50
200
500
2,000
5,000
20
B
3dB
[MHz]
length [m]
0.64
0.48
0.33
0.19
0.09
0.05
NA
launch
:
Fig. 2.100: Bandwidth measurement of a 1 mm SI-PMMA-POF
114 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers
For a 1 mm PMMA POF (Toray PFU CD1000, see also [Ziem04a]) 3 dB band-
widths for lengths between 5 m and 100 m were measured. The coupling angle
was changed for NA values between 0.05 and 0.65 with the unit described above.
For short fiber lengths the bandwidths measured differ by almost a magnitude
which demonstrates once again the importance of correct measurement conditions
for correctly indicating the bandwidth values. After a 100 m test length there still
is a factor of two between the values measured. The curves for under filled launch
(small NA) fall more steeply than with length caused by a predominance of mode
mixing. For overfilled launch (large NA) the curves run flatter. Here the mode-
dependent attenuation dominates. The next figure shows the results with a 1 mm
POF made of modified PMMA (Toray PHKS CD1001). The fiber is specified
with a NA of 0.54.
5 10 100 20 50
length [m]
B
3 dB
[MHz]
30
100
1,000
3,000
300
A
N
= 0.05
A
N
= 0.09
A
N
= 0.19
A
N
= 0.33
A
N
= 0.48
A
N
= 0.64
NA
launch
:
Fig. 2.101: Bandwidth measurement of a 1 mm SI-mod. PMMA-POF
Since the losses of this fiber lie at about 300 dB/km at 650 nm, test lengths of
only up to 50 m could be measured. Incidentally, the measurement results are
similar to a large degree to the results of the PMMA POF.
1 10 20 5 2
30
100
1.000
3.000
300
A
N
= 0,05
A
N
= 0,09
A
N
= 0,19
A
N
= 0,33
A
N
= 0,48
A
N
= 0,64
NA
launch
:
B
3 dB
[MHz]
length [m]
Fig. 2.102: Bandwidth measurement of a 1 mm SI-PC-POF
2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 115
The third fiber tested is the polycarbonate POF FH4001 from Mitsubishi. The
NA of the fiber lies at 0.75, the attenuation amounts to 650 nm at about
800 dB/km, whereby the maximum measurement length remains limited to 20 m.
Surprisingly, the bandwidth differences between the three types of fiber are
only very slight although there were clear differences in the NA. One explanation
for this could be the greater effects for mode mixing and above all for the mode-
dependent attenuation which occurred in the fibers made of modified PMMA and
polycarbonate. Figures 2.103 and 2.104 illustrate the far fields of the three fibers
in comparison (cf. [Bun02a]).
length [m]
B
3 dB
[MHz]
PC
PHKS
PMMA
100
1.000
30
300
3.000
10 100 2 20 5 50
NA
Launch
= 0.33
Fig. 2.103: Comparison of the bandwidths of different SI-POF
0
200
400
600
800
power [a.U.]
1000
-40 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 40
PMMA
PC
mod. PMMA
u [°]
Fig. 2.104: Comparison of the farfields of different SI-POF
The fibers of PMMA and PC - each after 10 m - have half-value widths of
about 27°. The fibers of modified PMMA have only 17°. Here the share of mode-
dependent attenuation predominates over the nominally larger NA.
116 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers
Fig. 2.105: Comparison of the far fields of different SI-POF (3-d representations)
As part of the European Project POF-ALL (www.ist-pof-all.org) other compre-
hensive measurements of both length and launch-dependent bandwidths of diffe-
rent fibers were carried out. The following Figures 2.106 and 2.107 show the
measurement results for a 1 mm standard POF (Luceat, high quality fiber) and for
a 500 μm standard POF.
B
3 dB
[MHz]
fiber length [m]
100
1,000
10,000
200
2,000
500
5,000
50
1 5 20 100 2 10 50
0.05
0.10
0.19
0.34
0.47
0.65
NA
Launch
Fig. 2.106: Bandwidth measurements of a 1 mm SI-POF (Luceat, HQ)
Both fibers essentially show comparable results. Since the fibers also have very
similar attenuation values they can be used in almost all the same applications.
The advantages of the thinner fibers are primarily the smaller space needed, an im-
portant point with multiple cables, and the smaller bending radius. The argument
that the fibers with a smaller core diameter would enable higher bit rates or better
receiver sensitivity because of the smaller photodiodes has for the most part since
been dropped because of technical developments.
2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 117
1 5 20 100 2 10 50
B
3 dB
[MHz]
fiber length [m]
100
1,000
10,000
200
2,000
500
5,000
50
0.05
0.10
0.19
0.34
0.47
0.65
NA
Launch
Fig. 2.107: Bandwidth measurements of a 0.5 mm SI-POF
2.5.3.3 Bandwidth Measurements on MC- and MSI-POF
Multicore and multistep index profile POFs allow significantly greater bandwidths
than conventional step index profile fibers. In the case of MC-POFs the diffe-
rences in propagation time between the different individual cores, in addition to
mode dispersion, have to be added. The pure length differences, however, should
hardly play a role. The pure path differences alone between the modes amount to
about 6% at a maximum propagation angle of 20° in the fiber. Since the fibers lie
well-ordered in the MC-POF the geometric differences in length lie at the most in
the thousandth range.
Of greater significance is the fact that the fibers in the MC-POF are deformed
in different ways. For example, differences among the fibers in the middle and at
the edge of the bundle can already be seen in the attenuation. These differences
are also formed for the mode selective processes resulting in different average
propagation speeds in the individual cores.
launching with magnified light spot:
- medium fibers obtain small angles only
- outer fibers obtain large angles
launching with mode field converter:
- all fibers obtain around the same
optical power and rays of all angles
Fig. 2.108: Optimal launching into multicore fibers
118 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers
In order to register these effects when making a measurement, a so-called mode
field converter (MFC) is used. The coupling unit shines into a short piece of SI
fiber with a large NA. The far field distribution remains intact as the light is distri-
buted over the fiber cross-section. This ensures that the individual fibers receive
approximately identical light intensity and comparable angle distributions. The
difference between this arrangement as opposed to a simple widening of the light
spot is depicted schematically in Fig. 2.108.
As indicated above, there are in the meantime different MC-POFs. Here we
wish to present the results of the bandwidth measurements of two 1 mm MC-POFs
with 37 cores (Fig. 2.109) and 217 cores (Fig. 2.110, see also [Ziem02a]).
100
1,000
200
500
2,000
20 100 30 40 60 80
B
3 dB
[MHz]
PMC 1000
37 cores
length [m]
A
N
= 0.09
A
N
= 0.19
A
N
= 0.33
A
N
= 0.48
A
N
= 0.64
launch NA:
Fig. 2.109: Bandwidth measurements of a 37-cores MC-POF (measured on single samples)
B
3 dB
[MHz]
length [m]
100
1,000
200
500
2,000
20 100 30 40 60 80
MCS 1000
217 cores
A
N
= 0.09
A
N
= 0.19
A
N
= 0.33
A
N
= 0.48
A
N
= 0.64
launch NA:
Fig. 2.110: Bandwidth measurements of a 217-core MC-POF (measured on single samples)
2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 119
Both fiber types show considerably greater bandwidth values compared to
standard SI-POF. The 37 core fiber above all shows hardly any drop in the band-
width over great lengths, especially since the dependence on the coupling condi-
tions is very small. The reason is the very great mode dependence of the attenu-
ation. This fiber possesses a double step index structure. Using a laser coupling it
has been possible to transmit 1 Gbit/s over this fiber for 100 m.
Systematic investigations of the bandwidth have been carried out at the
POF-AC on a 37 core POF sample with a relatively small diameter (400 μm). The
results for the two different NA are shown in Fig. 2.111. The bandwidth of this
fiber is almost independent of the launch conditions. The reason for this is the
strong mode-dependent attenuation which, as described above, occurs intensively
with very thin fibers and leads to a equilibrium mode distribution after very short
lengths.
1,000
10,000
200
2,000
500
5,000
0.1 1 10 100 0.3 3 30
B
3 dB
[MHz]
fiber length [m]
0.05
0.65
NA
Launch
Fig. 2.111: Bandwidth measurements of a MC-POF (measurements on a single fiber
sample, cut-back method)
Multi step index fibers have already been introduced by different manufac-
turers. However, they are not yet ready to go into mass production. The youngest
product so far is the ESKA MIU from Mitsubishi-Rayon, a fiber with three diffe-
rent layers. Using a sample length of 100 m of this fiber, a bandwidth of almost
300 MHz was ascertained. Figure 2.112 shows the frequency response.
120 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers
-24
-21
-18
-15
-12
-9
-6
-3
0
3
NA 0.10
NA 0.34
NA 0.64
rel. level [dB]
10 100 1000 20 200 50 500
frequency [MHz]
Fig. 2.112: Frequency responses of a 100 m MSI-POF
2.5.3.4 Bandwidth Measurements on GI-POF
The bandwidth measurements of graded index profile fibers are associated with a
series of particular difficulties. First of all, the attenuation is relatively high with
polymer fibers so that the sample lengths can not be very great because of the
limited dynamics of the measuring system. For PMMA POF the maximum
measuring lengths lie between 50 m to 100 m. For PF GI-POF lengths of some
100 m can be used. On the other hand, POFs have a relatively large core diameter.
The detector must be relatively large in order to record most all modes and thus
obtain a meaningful bandwidth measurement. Then again the size of the diode
limits the bandwidth of the detector. The only commercially available measuring
system that can be used for this special task is the optical oscilloscope from
Hamamatsu (described in the Chapter on measurement techniques). However,
only measurements in the time domain are possible.
The bandwidths of PMMA GI-POF and PF-GI-POF have been measured at the
POF-AC. The transmission functions for the PMMA GI-PF OM-Giga from Opti-
media (see also [Yoo04], [Rich04]) and a PF-GI-POF (Nexans, see [Gou04]) are
illustrated in Fig. 2.113 and 2.114.
The optical bandwidth of the fiber at 1.504 MHz was ascertained by adapting
the measuring curve to a Gaussian function. This value, however, can clearly
fluctuate with slightly altered launch conditions. The measuring conditions lie
close to the “worst case scenario”. When there is under-launching, e.g. with a
VCSEL transmitter, even greater values can be attained.
2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 121
-6
-5
-4
-3
-2
-1
0
10 20 50 100 200 500 1,000
rel. electr. level [dB]
frequency [MHz]
50 m OM-Giga
ì
LD
= 650 nm
AN
Launch
= 0.34
f
3 dB opt.
= 1,504 MHz
Fig. 2.113: Frequency response of 50 m OM-Giga (A
N
= 0.34; 650 nm)
In order also to be able to measure bandwidths of several GHz with thick core
fibers, an optical oscilloscope is a practicable device, whereby the widening of a
short laser pulse (about 120 ps) is measured. In [Lwin06] the results for the
OM-Giga are shown compared with the microstructured POF (with effective
100
150
200
250
300
350
15 25 35 45 55 65
length [m]
Optimedia 1,000 μm
MPOF: 500 μm
Abb 2.114: Pulse broadening measurement of a MPOF and GI-POF
A pulse width of about 340 ps corresponds approximately to an optical band-
width of 1.4 GHz. The value matches pretty much the measurements in the fre-
quency range when taking the various problems of measurement techniques with
such large frequencies into account.
122 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers
The next illustration shows the frequency response for a PF-GI-POF at the
wavelengths 650 nm and 850 nm together with the fitted Gaussian functions.
-6
-5
-4
-3
-2
-1
0
+1
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
rel. electr. level [dB]
frequency [MHz]
300 m PF-GI-POF
ì
LD
= 650 nm/850 nm
AN
Launch
= 0.10
measurement 850 nm
Gaussian fit 850 nm
measurement 650 nm
Gaussian fit 650 nm
Fig. 2.115: Frequency response of a PF-GI-POF
The 3 dB bandwidths are around 1,600 MHz for both fibers. The bandwidth-
length product is at about 500 MHz · km, somewhat in the range of conventional
multimode graded index glass fibers (cf. further results in [Bach01]).
2.5.3.5 Bandwidth Measurements on MC-GOF and PCS
The bandwidth measurement of multimode glass fibers proceeds according to the
same principles. First, the glass fiber bundles from the Schott manufacturing com-
pany are measured. The bundle consists of about 400 individual fibers each having
a diameter of 53 μm. The fibers have been hot pressed into the plug so that the
overall diameter is about 1 mm.
In Fig. 2.116 the frequency response for various coupling conditions are shown.
The NA of the fiber lies at 0.50. The fiber bandwidth does not recognizably
change when coupling in at great angles.
With full mode launch the measured bandwidth amounts to about
150 MHz · 20 m which is almost exactly the same value as for SI-POF with a
comparable NA. Consequently, this fiber type can be used alternatively to the
1 mm St.-NA POF when either high temperatures or very tight bending radii are
necessary ([Lub04b]).
2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 123
-16
-14
-12
-10
-8
-6
-4
-2
0
2
A
N
= 0.10
A
N
= 0.34
A
N
= 0.46
A
N
= 0.60
A
N
= 0.64
launch NA:
10 100 1000 20 200 50 500
rel. electr. level [dB]
f [MHz]
20 m fiber
at 650 nm
Fig. 2.116: Bandwidth measurement of 20 m MC-GOF
In another series of measurements the length dependence of the bandwidth of
MC-GOF was investigated. Fig. 2.117 shows the results for 3 different launch
conditions. The bandwidth decreases almost linearly with the length so that one
can assume that the influence of mode mixing is relatively small.
length [m]
B
3 dB
[MHz]
100
1,000
300
3,000
2 10 50 5 20
A
N
= 0.64
A
N
= 0.34
A
N
= 0.10
launch NA:
1 mm MC-GOF
375 cores
NA
fiber
: 0.50
ì = 650nm
Fig. 2.117: Length- and NA-dependent bandwidth of MC-GOF
Finally, the bandwidth for different lengths was determined using a 650 nm
laser. In order to be able to make measurements relatively independently of mode,
a 1 m long SI-POF was used as an adapter fiber at both the transmitter and the
receiver. Figure 2.118 shows the results.
124 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers
excitation by laser
NA
launch
~ 0.30
ì = 650 nm
length [m]
100
1000
500
200
10 20 30 40 50 60
B
3 dB, opt.
[MHz]
Fig. 2.118: Bandwidth of a MC-GOF excited by a laser source
This type of fiber is suitable for the transmission of data rates in the Gbit/s
range over lengths of 10 m to 20 m.
Another glass fiber version which has gained increasing attention is the PCS,
i.e. silica glass fibers with a polymer cladding. The typical NA lies around 0.37.
However, there are versions available with a NA up to 0.48. Accordingly, the
bandwidth of PCS should lie in the range of DSI-POF. At the POF-AC predo-
minantly fibers with a core diameter of 200 μm - the most commonly used value -
were measured. In Fig. 2.119 the length and launch-dependent results for a typical
PCS are represented. The fiber, 200/230 μm with a 500 μm primary coating, was
laid out for this measurement as a loose bundle with a diameter of about 30 cm
200 μm PCS
loose bundle
length [m]
100
1000
20
200
2000
50
500
10 100 20 200 50 500
B
3 dB
[MHz]
0.02
0.09
0.17
0.26
0.34
0.46
launch NA:
Fig. 2.119: Bandwidth of a 200 μm PCS
This fiber was specified with a bandwidth of 100 MHz · 100 m. This value can
be achieved for an under filled launch. For a full launch, however, you can only
attain about 60 MHz · 100 m. The differences between the different launch condi-
2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 125
tions hardly decreases with fiber lengths up to 250 m. Mode mixing hardly occurs
with this measurement. The measurement was repeated for the same type of fiber,
whereby the fiber was wound around a spool. The results are shown in Fig. 2.120.
100
1000
20
200
2000
50
500
10 100 20 200 50 500
200 μm PCS
fiber on a spool
length [m]
bandwidth [MHz]
0.02
0.09
0.17
0.26
0.34
0.46
launch NA:
Fig. 2.120: Bandwidth of a 200 μm PCS
The results pretty much agree for short fiber lengths. For longer lengths, how-
ever, the differences roughly disappear between the different launch conditions for
the rolled up PCS. This can only be explained by a recognizable increase in the
mode mixing. The bandwidths dependent on the coupling NA are compared for
250 m long samples in Fig. 2.121.
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
0.00 0.10 0.20 0.30 0.40 0.50
loose bundle
B
opt, 3 dB
[MHz]
fiber on a spool
250 m PCS
launch NA
Fig. 2.121: Bandwidth comparison of 250 m PCS
126 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers
Examinations of the different types of 200 μm SI-PCS confirm the measure-
ments mentioned above. The specified bandwidth-length products of 10 to
20 MHz · km could be attained for all fibers examined only with under filled
launch. Unfortunately, none of the currently active manufacturers provided any
data on measurement conditions for the bandwidths indicated. Even the corres-
ponding standards are completely missing. Should PCS seriously advance into
areas of application in which the available bandwidth is to be completely used,
then a lot of work still has to be done in this area. A comparison between the
launch-dependent bandwidths is represented in Fig. 2.122.
BL [MHz km]
0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5
10
20
40
30
4
8
6
launch NA
15
Fig. 2.122: Bandwidth dependence on launch conditions for 5 different PCS types
A number of publications, especially in regard to applications in the Gigabit-
Ethernet and 10Gigabit-Ethernet ranges, exist for a bandwidth of 50/125 μm GI
glass fibers. Articles providing an overview include [Oeh02] and [Bun03a].
With GI glass fibers, too, keeping the exact parabolic index profile as well as
the mode-selective coupling play the most important role in achieving large band-
widths.
Originally, two different types of fibers were specified:
¾ customary in the USA: 62.5/125 μm fiber (A
N
= 0.275 ± 0.015)
¾ customary worldwide: 50/125 μm fiber (A
N
= 0.200 ± 0.015)
The typical bandwidth-length product is 160 MHz · km to 200 MHz · km
(62.5 μm) when using an 850 nm LED as emitter. 500 MHz · km is attained with
1,300 nm laser emitters. The limiting factor is the refractive index dip in the
middle of the fiber which is caused by the production technology.
2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 127
For fast Ethernet (125 Mbit/s) the bandwidths entirely suffice to bridge distan-
ces of up to 1 km. The first range limitations (maximum of 275 m at 850 nmemit-
ters and 62.5 μm fiber) arise with Gigabit-Ethernet so that a new class of fibers
(OM2) has been defined which generally guarantees a transmission range of
550 m.
In the worst case a data rate of 10 Gbit/s could be transmitted on OM1 fibers
over about only 30 m. OM2 fibers are also limited to about 80 m. In order to be
able to transmit high data rates, three different procedures have been suggested:
¾ Splitting the data rate into 4 × 2.5 Gbit/s which are then transmitted by
WDM on a fiber.
¾ Emitter with so-called Restricted Mode Launch (RML) or Effective Laser
Launch (EL) respectively, whereby the power is coupled if possible within
the annulus with a diameter of between 4.5 μm and 19 μm. Moreover, the
NA of the emitter may not be too large.
¾ Use of the new OM3 fiber class which has been optimized for the employ-
ment of 850 nm VCSEL.
An overview of the specified characteristics of the different GI-GOFs is
presented in Table 2.14. Specific products can on occasion clearly surpass these
parameters.
Table 2.14: Properties of MM-GI glass fibers
Class Unit OM1 OM2 OM3
OM3
550m
typical applications
Fast
Ethernet
Gigabit
Ethernet
10Gbit
Ethernet
10Gbit
Ethernet
core-C [μm] 50/62.5 50/62.5 50 50
o at 850 nm [dB/km] 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.0
o at 1.300 nm [dB/km] 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.0
BW 850 nm (OFL) [MHzkm] 200 500 1,500 3,500
BW 1.300 nm (OFL) [MHzkm] 500 500 500 500
BW 850 nm (LD) [MHzkm] n.d. n.d. 2,000 4,700
(OFL: Overfilled Launch)
Other less customary fiber types are, for example, GI-GOF with a core dia-
meter of 100 μm and a cladding diameter of 140 μm. Fig. 2.123 shows the fre-
quency response of a 500 m long sample with three different launch conditions. At
200 MHz · km the results lie in the range of the fiber specifications.
The last fiber presented here is the semi-GI-PCS described above. The
measurement conditions become extremely more noticeable here so that the
measurement results shown may not be conclusively representative.
128 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers
-8
-7
-6
-5
-4
-3
-2
-1
0
1
1 10 100 1000
A
N
= 0.10
A
N
= 0.34
A
N
= 0.64
launch NA:
rel. electr. level [dB]
f [MHz]
500 m fiber
at 650 nm
Fig. 2.123: Frequency response of a 100 μm GI-GOF
Fig. 2.124 first shows the frequency response with a 500 m long sample for 6
different launch conditions measured at a wavelength of 650 nm.
-12
-10
-8
-6
-4
-2
0
rel. opt. power [dB]
frequency [MHz]
1 10 100 3 30 300
A
N Launch
=
0.03 .. 0.64
500 m
Semi-GI-PCS
Fig. 2.124: Bandwidth of a Semi-GI-PCS
The bandwidth-length product of the fiber was determined as having values
between 24 and 55 MHz · km which clearly lies above the specification of
100 MHz · km. Bandwidths with their length and launch dependence are also
determined for this type of fiber. Fig. 2.125 summarizes the results.
2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 129
length [m]
100
1000
B
3 dB
[MHz]
30
300
3000
10 100 1000 20 200 50 500
A
N
= 0.02
A
N
= 0.09
A
N
= 0.17
A
N
= 0.26
A
N
= 0.34
A
N
= 0.46
launch NA:
Fig. 2.125: Bandwidth measurement of Semi-GI-PCS
What is striking is the low dependence of the bandwidth on the launch con-
ditions with longer sample lengths. Evidently, there is a significant exchange of
energy between the SI and GI modes in the fiber. The specified bandwidth value
could only be determined in short fiber lengths with under filled launch.
[Aiba04] and [Aiba05], whereby a method was used in which a light pulse circu-
lates in a 100 m long ring and passes an acousto-optic modulator after every pass.
The numerical aperture of the coupling optics amounts to only 0.25 and SI modes
are for the most part suppressed. The results for the frequency response, deter-
mined by Fourier transformation, are shown in Fig. 2.126.
rel. opt. power [dB]
-10
-8
-6
-4
-2
0
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0
f [GHz]
1
st
circulation
10
th
circulation
Fig. 2.126: Frequency responses of a Semi-GI-PCS according to [Aiba04]
The bandwidths thus determined are shown in Fig. 2.127. The values lie higher
by a factor of ten than the values measured with full launch on long fibers. This
130 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers
reveals impressively how important correct specifications of the measurement
conditions are when indicating bandwidth values.
The succinct statement in the Sumitomo data sheet that “the bandwidth can
change under other measurement conditions” is of little help.
B
3 dB, opt.
[GHz]
semi-GI -PCS
length [m]
100 1000 600 400 200
0.3
0.6
1.0
2.0
0.4
0.8
1.5
Fig. 2.127: Bandwidth of a Semi-GI-PCS according to [Aiba04]
2.5.3.6 Comparison of Bandwidth Measurements and Calculations
The diverse measurements of fiber bandwidths show that the same principles are
essentially valid for thick glass and polymer fibers. Important effects are:
¾The bandwidth drops with the square of the numerical aperture by increasing
the differences in propagation time among the individual modes.
¾The diameter of the fiber does not play any role in regard to the bandwidth.
¾Strong mode-dependent attenuation increases the bandwidth of fibers, but it
also leads to a rise in transmission losses.
¾Multicore fibers and fiber bundles permit smaller NAs with the same bending
¾The bandwidth of fibers greatly depends on the launch and detection condi-
tions. The difference can be » 10 for short fiber lengths. When stating the
bandwidth in data sheets, measurements should always be made with UMD
(full launch) or EMD (equilibrium mode distribution).
¾Graded index profiles increase the bandwidth up to two magnitudes. How-
ever, the index profile must be as ideal as possible - it should be parabolic
when the chromatic dispersion is disregarded.
¾In the case of a non-ideal GI profile a large bandwidth can still be attained
through a selective launch.
¾In addition, the chromatic dispersion especially with glass GI fibers has to be
taken into account (this will be discussed in the next paragraph).
¾It is technically easier to produce a multi-stepped index profile, with which
the bandwidth can clearly be increased, than a GI profile.
2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 131
¾Semi-GI fibers have large bandwidths, above all over short lengths and when
coupling into small angles.
¾The bandwidth of individual fibers - not yet placed in cables - under labora-
tory conditions can depend to a great extent on the external conditions, depen-
ding on the degree of induced mode coupling.
A comparison between POF and PCS is particularly interesting since both can
be used alternatively in many applications. The length-dependent bandwidths of
both types of fiber with full launch are illustrated in Fig. 2.128.
length [m]
PCS, NA
Launch
= 0.48
POF, NA
Launch
= 0.64
100
300
1.000
30
3 10 30 100
B
3 dB, opt.
[MHz]
Fig. 2.128: Bandwidth comparison of POF (fiber-NA: 0.50) and PCS (NA: 0.37)
Theoretically, the PCS should show about 50% greater bandwidth because of
its smaller NA - which has just about been confirmed by measurements. Both
measurement curves run approximately parallel which suggests similar magni-
tudes in mode-dependent processes. The angle-dependent attenuation of a typical
PCS fiber is illustrated in Fig. 2.129.
-25 -20 -15 -10 -5 0 5 10 15 20 25
fiber length
50 m
100 m
200 m
excess loss [dB/km]
u[°]
0
50
100
150
200
25
75
125
175
225
Fig. 2.129: Mode dependent loss of a PCS (at 650 nm)
132 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers
-30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30
0
100
200
300
400
attenuation [dB/km]
u [°]
11 dB/km
100 m
50 m
Fig. 2.130: Mode dependent loss of a Semi-GI-PCS (at 650 nm)
PCS does indeed show very large mode-dependent attenuation, the intensity of
which is comparable to POF. This explains the similar behavior even if the core
material itself has a very much lower attenuation.
A schematic comparison of typical bandwidth values for the different multi-
mode fibers described above are illustrated in Fig. 2.131. The values, as already
mentioned several times, can clearly deviate for specific products or under diffe-
rent measurement conditions.
bandwidth [MHz·km]
1 10 100 1,000 10,000
MC-GOF
200 μm PCS
DSI-POF
SI-MC-POF
DSI-MC-POF
MSI-POF
OM-Giga
PF-GI-POF
PC-POF
St.-NA-POF
GI-GOF OM1
GI-GOF OM2
GI-GOF OM3
OM3 mit LD
Semi-GI-PCS
Ø: 1000 μm
Ø: 1000 μm
Ø: 1000 μm
Ø: 200 μm
Ø: 1000 μm
Ø: 1000 μm
Ø: 200 μm
Ø: 1000 μm
Ø: 750 μm
Ø: 900 μm
Ø: 62.5 μm
Ø: 50 μm
Ø: 120 μm
Ø: 50 μm
Ø: 50 μm
Fig. 2.131: Bandwidth comparison of different optical fibers (typical values)
2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 133
The bandwidths of the fibers presented vary over more than 3 magnitudes. If
singlemode fiber is used, however, then nowadays there is practically no longer
any bandwidth limit. Mode dispersion no longer arises. Chromatic and polariza-
tion mode dispersion can be compensated for as one likes. The significance of
chromatic dispersion will be discussed in the next section.
2.5.4 Chromatic Dispersion in Polymer Optical Fibers
In all optical media we can observe the effect that the speed of propagation of
light of different wavelengths differs. When we differentiate the propagation con-
stants according to wavelength, we obtain the so-called chromatic dispersion,
usually expressed in ps/nm·km. This constant indicates by how much a signal's
delay will vary with the wavelength. In the typical application range of optical
fibers this value is negative which means that with increasing wavelength the
delay becomes smaller (corresponding to greater speed). Figure 2.132 shows the
chromatic dispersion for silica glass, PMMA and a typical fluorinated polymer
(according to [Koi97a]).
-1,200
-1,000
-800
-600
-400
-200
0
200
400 1,000 500 600 700 800 900 1,200 1,400 1,600
dispersion [ps/(nmkm)]
wavelength [nm]
PMMA
silica glass
PF-Polymer
Fig. 2.132: Dispersion of different materials
Typical semiconductor sources feature certain spectral widths that range from
some 10 nm for LED up to a few MHz for lasers (corresponding to some 10
-5
nm).
In addition, there is the fact that when a light source is modulated there is always a
spectral broadening that cannot be less than a certain theoretical limit. This effect
only plays a role, however, with spectral singlemode lasers and with very high
data rates.
Figure 2.133 shows a schematic illustration of the effect of chromatic disper-
sion on a light pulse that has a given spectral width. A pulse with a certain spec-
134 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers
trum of the width Aì is launched into the fiber. After passing through the fiber
(length L) and experiencing a certain amount of dispersion D, the pulse has the
width At = D · L · Aì, whereby the shorter wave components arrive first. (cf.
Fig. 2.38 as well).
t t
ì
At = DLAì

spectral shape
of the source
input pulse
output pulse
POF
length L
Fig. 2.133: Influence of chromatic dispersion
For silica singlemode fibers, the value for chromatic dispersion at 17 ps/nm·km
lies within the range of the smallest fiber attenuation at 1,550 nm wavelength.
Today, DFB-laser diodes are predominantly used for long-distance systems, the
spectral width of which is a maximum of a few MHz. What matters here essen-
tially is the broadening effect that is brought about by the data itself. In this case,
1 nm corresponds to approximately 125 GHz of spectral width. This means that
for a data rate of 10 Gbit/s a spectrum in the range of one-tenth nm is generated.
Where the permissible bit broadening is 0.05 ns, the fiber link may have a length
of approximately 30 km. For 2.5 Gbit/s this value rapidly increases to approxima-
tely 500 km due to the narrower spectrum and the greater pulse broadening per-
mitted. Conventional 2.5 Gbit/s systems can operate without specific actions
against dispersion. However, all systems that have many inline fiber amplifiers or
higher bit rates require devices to counteract chromatic dispersion. The most
common method today is the use of dispersion compensating fibers with strong
negative dispersion. Since these fibers utilize waveguide dispersion they can only
be produced as singlemode fibers.
The situation is significantly different for POF. The chromatic dispersion of
PMMA-POF with over 300 ps/nm·km at 650 nm wavelength is over 20 times lar-
ger than of silica fibers at 1,550 nm wavelength. For POF it is also usual to use
LED with a typical spectral width of 20 nm to 40 nm and not lasers that have just
a few tenths of a nanometer of spectral width. On the other hand, there are the
typically short distances of POF systems and the moderate bit rates. Table 2.15
lists some examples for the effect of chromatic dispersion in POF systems.
2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 135
Table 2.15: Influence of chromatic dispersion in POF systems
Example Bit Rate/
POF-Length
Wavelength/
Spectr. Width
rel. to the Bit Length
SI-POF 50 Mbit/s /
50 m
650 nm LED
20 nm FWHM
0.375 ns
2 % of the bit time
ATMF
DSI-POF
155 Mbit/s /
50 m
650 nm LED
40 nm FWHM
0.75 ns
12 % of the bit time
ATMF
DSI-POF
155 Mbit/s /
100 m
525 nm LED
40 nm FWHM
2.8 ns
43 % of the bit time
IEEE1394
MC-POF
500 Mbit/s /
70 m
525 nm LED
40 nm FWHM
1.96 ns
98 % of the bit time
STM16
PF-GI-POF
2,500 Mbit/s /
200 m
650 nm LD
2 nm FWHM
0.05 ns
12 % of the bit time
The first three examples are based on LED for transmitting data rates up to
155 Mbit/s over a maximum length of 100 m. Even in the unfavorable case of
using green LED, pulse broadening is less than one ½ the bit length so that there is
only a small effect on the system. In the fourth example, the intention is to trans-
mit an IEEE1394 S400 data stream (with 500 Mbit/s physical data rate) over a
distance of 70 m using a green LED. Here pulse broadening is nearly in the same
range as the bit length. When this deteriorating effect due to mode dispersion is
added, one can see that this system can only work with considerable additional
efforts. It may, for example, be possible to partially provide electrical compen-
sation, whereby higher optical receiving power is required. When using data rates
from ½ Gbit/s to 1 Gbit/s, the use of spectrally narrower sources becomes neces-
sary. These primarily include RC-LED and VCSEL (see Chapter 4), and for even
higher requirements DFB laser diodes. In most cases this selection is required
anyway due to the limited modulation bandwidth of LED.
Fluorinated graded index profile polymer fibers feature significantly reduced
chromatic dispersion compared with PMMA-POF. These fibers are designed for
use in Gbit/s systems operating at spectral ranges between 800 nm and 1,300 nm.
It is for these demands only that laser diodes can be considered, not least due to
the smaller core diameters, the spectral width of which is a few nanometers at
most. The last row shows that in such a case chromatic dispersion can be neglec-
ted even for a transmission length of a few 100 m.
2.5.5 Methods for Increasing Bandwidth
Generally, the theoretical bandwidth of polymer fibers is calculated on the basis of
two essential assumptions. One assumption is that the launch of light at the fiber
entrance takes place in uniform mode distribution and that the detector will re-
ceive all modes. The second assumption is that the attenuation of all modes is
nearly constant. However, in practice polymer fibers, and in particular step index
fibers, show completely different behavior. In the first place, it is relatively diffi-
cult to illuminate all modes uniform at the entrance of the fiber. In many cases
136 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers
laser diodes are used where the emitting angle is significantly smaller than the
angle of acceptance of a SI-POF. The use of solid-state lasers or gas lasers, the
exact wavelength of which is often required for measuring purposes, is even more
problematical. These lasers emit collimated light so that only a small proportion of
the POF modes can be excited. When using glow lamps or discharge lamps, opti-
cal devices are used to collimate the light to the fiber. For this reason it is difficult
to find lenses that actually work with consistent efficiency in the given acceptance
range. All this has the effect in a concrete experiment of increasing the deviations
of the actual bandwidth in comparison with the theoretical limit value. This is a
very undesirable effect when attempting to define characteristics by making
measurements of this kind, as shown in Chapter 7. However, for high bit-rate data
transmission this situation can in practice also be beneficially exploited as shown
by the following examples.
Figure 2.134 demonstrates the most important methods for increasing the
bandwidth of a POF.
launch with
small angle
fiber without
connectors, bends
and splices
IN
OUT
high pass filter for
dispersion
precompensation
high pass filter for
dispersion
postcompensation
detection with
small angles
Fig. 2.134: Methods for increasing bandwidth (cf. p. 441 as well)
Launching light at a small angle as well as detecting just a selected angle range
has the effect of restricting the modes involved in signal transmission and thus
reducing pulse broadening. It is possible to electrically compensate for the resul-
ting low pass behavior, both before as well as after the POF link. To date the most
significant increases in bandwidth for a POF system have been described in
¾ Launch with a small A
N
= 0.11, thereby exciting only a few modes with only
small differences in delay.
¾ Pre-distortion of the LD excitation signal (peaking); high pass (33 pF [[ȱ51 O).
¾ Detection with low NA (modes with large delay differences are blanked out).
¾ Dispersion compensation behind the receiver; high pass (8 pF [[ȱ200 O).
It was possible to transmit at more than 500 Mbit/s across a distance of 100 m
of standard NA-POF (see also chapter 6). However, all these measures are usually
at the expense of a reduced power budget, as summarized in Table 2.16.
2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 137
Table 2.16: Consequences of different bandwidth increasing methods
Method Penalty for the Power Budget due to:
peaking lowering of source modulation depth
low NA launch decreasing POF coupled optical power for sources with
low NA detection loss of light with high propagation angle at the fiber output
post compensation amplified noise at higher frequencies
It follows that the use of such methods is of particular interest in systems that
have adequate power reserves. POF attenuation across very short distances is
hardly of importance; on the other hand, the use of high data rates is of interest in
various applications. Chapter 6 will describe experiments for transmitting Gbit/s
over distances of 10 m to 100 m conducted by T-Nova GmbH, the University of
Ulm, Daimler Chrysler, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits Nuremberg
and the POF-AC Nürnberg.
Figure 2.25 shows theoretical considerations with respect to the POF bandwidth
at different launching angles (Gaussian shaped far field with 3 dB width calculated
relative to fiber NA) according to [Bun99a]. With short lengths and small launch
NAs the light remains concentrated in areas with small propagation angles. The
small differences in propagation time result in large bandwidths. After approx.
100 m of fiber equilibrium mode distribution is just about reached through mode
mixing, and the influence of the launch conditions gradually disappears. This be-
havior corresponds to a great degree to the measurement results described above.
length [m]
B
3 dB
[MHz]
10 100 500 50 20 200
10
100
1,000
20
50
200
500
0.5
0.7
1.0
1.2
1.5
1.7
2.0
rel. launch NA
(NA
fiber
= 1)
Fig. 2.135: Theoretical bandwidth with different launching conditions ([Bun99a])
The principle of peaking is demonstrated in Fig. 2.136 and 2.137 ([Zam00b],
[Ziem00a] and [Ziem00c]). A high pass filter which dampens lower frequencies
and lets high frequencies pass through without losses is switched between the
modulation input and the laser. We begin with an illustration of the electrical spec-
trum of the emitting signal at the laser with and without peaking (1.2 Gbit/s, NRZ,
pseudo-random bit sequence).
138 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers
-80
-70
-60
-50
-40
-30
-20
-10
0
rel. power [dB]
frequency [GHz]
without peaking
with peaking
1.5 0.5 1.0 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 0.0
Fig. 2.136: Modulation spectrum with and without peaking
In the experiment, the data rate was 1,200 Mbit/s with NRZ coding. The twin-
stage pre-distortion filter dampens the signal by 12 dB in the low frequency range
so that the higher frequencies can create a stronger modulation. For the pulses this
means steeper edges and overshoot at the beginning and end, hence the term
peaking, as shown in Fig. 2.137.
0 10 20 30 40 50
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
relative amplitude
time [ns]
with peaking
without peaking
60
Fig. 2.137: Laser modulation signal with/without peaking
The disadvantage of peaking can be clearly recognized in the diagram. The
peaks at the beginning and the end of the pulse must lie within the admissible ope-
rating range of the laser, i.e. between the threshold current and the maximum cur-
rent. This reduces the actual power per pulse compared with rectangular pulses.
Figure 2.138 summarizes the bit rates and transmitted distances of different
high-rate transmission systems using SI-POF ([Scha00], [Ziem00a], [Kich99] and
[Yas93], [Vin04a], [Vin04b] and [Ziem03g]). Chapter 6 contains detailed expla-
2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 139
nations of the different systems. The diagram also shows the theoretical limits for
the bandwidth of standard NA-POF and DSI-POF (assuming NRZ coding and bit
rate = 2 × 3-dB bandwidth).
100
1,000
3,000
200
500
10 100 200 20 50
bit rate [Mbit/s]
POF-length [m]
A AT TM M 1 15 55 5
1 10 00 0B Ba as se eF FX X
B Ba at te es s ´ ´9 93 3
I IE EE EE E 1 13 39 94 4
B Ba at te es s ´ ´9 92 2
K Ka ai is se er r ´ ´9 92 2
U UN NI I U Ul lm m
D Da ai im ml le er r
C Ch hr ry ys sl le er r
T T- -N No ov va a
P PO OF F- -A AC C
P PO OF F- -A AC C
P PO OF F- -A AC C
system with St.-NA
system with DSI-POF
system with MC-POF
UMD-limit St.-NA
UMD-limit DSI-POF
P PO OF F- -A AC C
Fig. 2.138: Bit rates of different POF systems (status 2003)
It is easily discernible that a number of systems with standard NA-POF are sig-
nificantly above the theoretical limits. Particularly for greater lengths the potential
for exceeding the limit is considerable. As shown in the next section, the practical
application presents some problems such as the bending behavior. It is generally
true that extreme dispersion compensation must be adaptive in its execution. That
means that above all the limit frequencies of the high passes must be adapted very
precisely to the frequency response of the link. If the frequency response changes,
the result will be too much or too little compensation so that the pulses become
distorted. Such a change may, for example, occur as a result of different lengths of
cable; however even a bend in the fiber may have the same effect. In commercial
systems it is desirable to avoid having to use automatic adaptations, such as is
necessary, for example, in 1000BaseT-systems, or having to provide specific
receivers for different cable lengths. One practical solution is to adjust the com-
pensation in such a way that there is just-tolerable over-compensation for short
lengths of fiber; based on this level of compensation, the next step is to select the
maximum fiber length for which this compensation is still just sufficient. A sche-
matic illustration is shown in Fig. 2.139.
140 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers
increasing transmission distance
f
frequency response of the POF link (dispersion limited)
f f f
f
compensation filter
(fixed)
f
resulting frequency response
f f f
overcompen-
sation
optimized
compensation
undercompen-
sation
Fig. 2.139: Compensation of dispersion for various transmission distances
A proposal for increasing the bandwidth by direct interference with the optical
path is described in [Kal99]. By using a mode filter immediately after the trans-
mitter, the light angle range in the fiber is reduced as shown schematically in
Fig. 2.140. With this method it was possible to achieve an improvement in band-
width by 53% and 89% respectively for two standard NA-POF provided by
Mitsubishi and Toray. The losses of the mode mixer are approximately 2.5 dB
which is perfectly acceptable in many applications.
source
mode filter
POF
A
N
~ 0.43 A
N
~ 0.29
Fig. 2.140: Increased bandwidth with a mode filter ([Kal99])
Basically, this method is equivalent to the method of light launching using a
smaller NA, though probably much easier to implement because no optical com-
ponents are required and only a simple mechanical clamp needs to be placed on
the fiber. If required, this can be repeated in the middle of the link or before the
2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 141
2.5.6 Bit Rates and Penalty
In general, optical transmission systems are set up in such a way that the system
bandwidth amounts to at least 50% of the bit rate with NRZ transmission. Thus,
500 MHz are needed to transmit 1000 Mbit/s. This means that the eye is complete-
ly open with ideally adapted filtering. In other words, the transition from the zero
symbol to the one symbol and vice versa takes place within the bit duration. If the
system bandwidth is smaller than half of the bit rate, then the symbol transition
needs more time resulting in a reduction of the vertical eye opening. This effect
must either be compensated for through adapted filtering or the reduced eye
opening is compensated for by a correspondingly higher receiving level. The
deterioration of the signal-to-noise ratio at the receiver through the bandwidth
limitation is called penalty (measured in dB). The relationship between signal-to-
noise ratio, receiving level and penalty is shown in Fig. 2.141.
system without noise and with
sufficiend bandwidth - the eye
open completely
t
U
t
U
U
1
U
2
system without noise and with
limited bandwidth - the eye in
closed partially
penalty: 20·log(U
2
/U
1
)
system with noise and with
sufficient bandwidth - the
eye is open completely
SNR = 20·log(U
S
/U
N
)
system with noise and with
limited bandwidth - the
eye is more closed
SNR is decreased by penalty
t
U
t
U
U
S
U
N
Fig. 2.141: Definition of penalty
142 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers
When describing the sensitivity of a receiver, measurements are always made at
the maximum bit rate. A possible penalty is always included. If there is sufficient-
ly large bandwidth, then only the noise should limit the sensitivity. The large
diode capacitance produces as a rule a relatively dramatic low-pass effect when
using large photodiodes, which are necessary for POF or PCS. The noise rises in
proportion to the signal with decreasing receiver impedance, i.e. one will accept
some penalty and work with as large an input resistance as possible.
Under laboratory conditions data communication can also be carried out with
high penalty. Modern bit error analyzers can transmit error free as long as the eye
opening amounts to some 10 mV. A typical eye diagram with high penalty is
shown in Fig. 2.142. Subsequently, the connection between system bandwidth and
Fig. 2.142: Data transmission with large penalty
In the example shown 820 Mbit/s were transmitted over 100 m of DSI-POF.
Although the eye was almost completely closed, an error free transmission was
possible. In a real system, however, certain detection would be relatively difficult
since the sampling moment and the decision threshold have to be re-adjusted very
exactly. Furthermore, there are no margin whatsoever for fluctuations in the laser
power or bending losses.
bandwidth/bit rate [MHz/Mbit/s]
0
5
10
15
20
25
simulated
with fiber
penalty [dB]
0.10 1.00 0.20 0.30 0.40 0.60 0.80
Fig. 2.143: Effect of system bandwidth on the penalty
2.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers 143
The simulated values were determined by calculating the penalties with the aid
of PSpice analyses. A Gaussian-shaped filter was used as a low-pass system. The
measuring points were determined on a 20 m long standard POF with different bit
rates. The penalty was estimated from the eye diagram. The measured values
tallied greatly with the simulation down to 25% of the system bandwidth, e.g. a
transmission of 1 Gbit/s with a system bandwidth of 250 MHz. With higher bit
rates the penalty increases more quickly than in the simulation. One main reason is
that the frequency response only corresponds to a certain degree to idealized
Gaussian behavior. It hardly makes sense to use practical systems with more than
a 10 dB penalty.
The results show that an exact relationship does not have to necessarily exist
between the maximum bit rate and the fiber bandwidth. Furthermore, even with
bandwidth-limited systems relatively high data rates can be achieved under labora-
tory conditions if enough emitting power is available.
2.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers
The sensitivity of optical fibers to bending is of special significance. In practical
applications installed links are never completely straight. Often they are fitted
around corners where 90º bends are a common occurrence. Even along a link in a
straight cable duct there are many small bends, for example, in places where
cables are hold with cable ties.
When being assembled, the fiber must also be able to withstand mechanically
tight bends. In many applications there is continuous bending during operation, for
example in drag chains or with a data cable in a car door. That is why one diffe-
¾Static bending: involves the assessment of how much light is loss in bends.
These losses are to be taken into account in the power budget of the system.
The bending loss is measured in dependence of the bending radius.
¾Minimum bending radius during assembly: only characterizes what bends the
fiber can tolerate for a short time without being mechanically destroyed.
¾Repeated bending: in certain applications fibers must be able to tolerate 10
5
to
some 10
6
bends without being mechanically destroyed.
¾Reel change bending: arises in particular in drag chains (see also Chapter 9).
The following results have either been taken from data sheets or come from
measurements made at the Deutsche Telekom and as of 2000 at the POF-AC
Nürnberg. Now as before no standards exist for measurements of bending attenu-
ation. We mostly used a long fiber sample stimulated with as large a NA as pos-
sible and all modes were detected with the aid of an integrating sphere. On the
other hand many manufacturers measure with a small NA whereby much better
values automatically come about because the outer modes are more strongly
144 2.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers
Nevertheless, the series of measurements cannot always be compared exactly.
In addition to the wavelength the bending attenuation can also depend to a great
extent on the primary coating material and on the lateral forces within the bend.
The coupling and detection conditions are also always included with short samp-
ling lengths.
2.6.1 Bending Losses in SI-POF
The essential parameters which determine the bending sensitivity of a fiber are the
diameter and the numerical aperture. The larger the NA, the narrower the permis-
sible bending radii may be in relation to the fiber diameter. Figures 2.144 and
2.145 show the losses for bends of different commercially available fibers accor-
ding to information in the data sheets ([Tor96a] and [Asa97]).
The Fig. 2.144 shows the bending losses of two different SI-POFs with some-
what different NAs. You can clearly see that larger NAs reduce the bending
losses.
0,0
1.0
2.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
bend losses [dB]
fiber
PFU-CD-1001
A
N
= 0.46
PGU-CD-1001
A
N
= 0.50
Fig. 2.144: Loss for 360° bend according to [Tor96a]
Figure 2.145 shows losses resulting from bends in a standard NA-POF, a low-
NA-POF and a multi-core fiber (see Chapter 2.3).
The low-NA-POF shows significantly larger losses compared to a standard
NA-POF. Due to the smaller individual core diameters, the bending sensitivity of
the multi-core fiber is comparable with that of the standard NA-POF despite the
smaller NA.
If many bends directly follow each other, attenuation does not increase propor-
tionally with the number of bends because there is less and less energy present in
the higher mode groups. Figure 2.146 shows a measurement of the bending losses
for different POF according [Hen99].
2.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers 145
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
bend losses [dB]
fiber
TC 1000 (A
N
= 0.485)
NC 1000 (A
N
= 0.25)
NCM 1000 (A
N
= 0.25)
Fig. 2.145: Loss for a 360° bend according to [Asa97]
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
loss [dB]
NC 1000 (Low-NA)
no longer available at
the market
AC 1000 (DSI)
PFU 1000 (St.-NA)
MH 4000 (DSI-POF)
0.10
1.00
10.0
0.02
0.05
0.20
0.50
2.00
5.00
number of turns
Fig. 2.146: Bending loss depending on number of turns ([Hen99])
The measurements were taken at 650 nm with LED-launch and a mode mixer.
The bending radius was 32 mm and the bends were located at the beginning of a
50 m sample length.
PFU 1000 is a standard NA-POF, while MH 4000 and AC 1000 are double-step
index POF. Their losses are approximately identical and up to 10 windings are
significantly below 1.0 dB. By comparison, the low-NA-POF NC 1000 is in the
range of 10 dB, which is too much for deployment in practical applications. The
the attenuation was already above the range of measurement. Meanwhile, DSI-
POF offer significantly improved bending characteristics at comparable NA.
Figures 2.147 and 2.148 demonstrate the losses over the inverse bending radius
and the number of windings for a (genuine) low-NA-POF (NC 1000) and a stan-
dard NA-POF [Hen99].
146 2.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers
39 mm
26 mm
32 mm
15 mm
21 mm
12 mm
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
0.02 0.03 0.04 0.05 0.06 0.07 0.08 0.09
-1
]
loss [dB]
2 turns
4 turns
6 turns
8 turns
10 turns
Fig. 2.147: Bending loss of a PFU-CD-1000 ([Hen99])
Under UMD conditions, the bending losses should increase proportionally to
the inverse bending radius. In practice, however, this only takes place below a
bending radius of around 20 mm. It appears that the real equilibrium mode distri-
bution reduces the losses above a certain radius. The reason for this is the smaller
weighting of modes that have a large propagation angle, which, as already men-
tioned, are particularly sensitive to losses at bends.
Basically the low-NA-POF in Fig. 2.148 shows the same behavior, albeit for
significantly greater radii and due to the smaller NA.
-1
]
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
0.020 0.022 0.024 0.026 0.028 0.03 0.032 0.034 0.036
loss [dB]
50 mm
32 mm
39 mm
28 mm
2 turns
4 turns
6 turns
8 turns
10 turns
Fig. 2.148: Bending loss of a NC-1000 ([Hen99])
2.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers 147
2.6.2 Bending Losses in GI Fibers
For graded index POF slightly different conditions apply for bending sensitivity
compared with step index profile fibers. Here it is not the total reflection at the
core-cladding interface but the continuous bending in the index profile that is res-
ponsible for light guiding. In addition, there is a fundamentally different distri-
bution in the near and far field. Figure 2.149 shows a measurement for GI-POF
according to [Ish95].
0.2
1
10
20
0.5
5
2
0 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55
GI-POF, doped by:
MMA/DPS, A
N
= 0.29
MMA/BBP, A
N
= 0.21
bend losses [dB]
Fig. 2.149: Loss of two GI-POF ([Ish95]) for a 90° bend
Due to the different dopants used, the two samples with a core diameter of
0.5 mm each have a different NA, which has a very significant effect on the ben-
ding losses. Despite the smaller core diameter the losses for a 25 mm bend are still
significantly higher than the values for a SI-POF or a DSI-POF. Here, too, a
reduction in the core diameters leads to lower bending losses.
[Aru05] describes how the bending losses in PMMA GI POF can be signifi-
cantly reduced. In addition to an optimized index profile an additional PVDF layer
(polyvinylidenfluoride) was applied to the core with parabolic profile resulting in
a semi-GI-POF which combines high bandwidth with low bending losses. The
losses of a 90° bend are shown later in Fig. 2.205 compared with a conventional
PMMA GI-POF. (The sample length was 100 m.) Even with a bending radius of
5 mm there was no measurable increase in attenuation. The different methods for
reducing bending losses in PMMA GI-POF and PF-GI-POF are described in
greater detail in Section 2.8 on fiber production. Examples of measurements are
also shown.
2.6.3 Change of Bandwidth by Bends
However, bends do not only contribute to additional losses, but also have an effect
on bandwidth because certain mode groups are selectively attenuated. This effect
is exploited in mode filters and mixers.
148 2.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers
Figure 2.150 (according to [Rit93]) shows what the effect of a 720º bend at the
beginning of a 50 m long POF link has on the measured bandwidth. In this case
the light is launched with A
N
= 0.10.
60
80
100
120
140
160
0.00 0.04 0.06 0.08 0.10 0.12
bandwidth [MHz]
Ø
POF
:
250 μm
500 μm
750 μm
1000 μm
POF
-1
]
0.02
Fig. 2.150: Change of bandwidth by bending the fiber according to [Rit93]
Due to the low launch NA, the bandwidth is relatively large (80 MHz · 100 m).
In the case of tight bending radii at the beginning of the fiber there is mode mixing
so that the bandwidth is significantly reduced sometimes. This effect is naturally
more pronounced for smaller diameters. In the illustration selected here above the
inverse relative bending radius, relative to the core diameter, the effect of the core
diameter should disappear. It seams to be, that the effect described above of the
larger bandwidth for thinner fibers is already dominant here due to the more mode
dependent processes.
Comprehensive investigations of the effect of bends on the bandwidth of POF
links were presented in [Mar00]. The test fiber consisted of a 100 m long standard
NA-POF; 360º bends were inserted at the beginning of the link, after 25 m, after
50 m, after 75 m or at the end of the link. The source consisted of a 655 nm laser
diode, the NA of which could be adapted through different optics from 0.10 to
0.65. The bandwidth and the attenuation of the overall link were measured without
bends and with bending radii of 6.4 mm, 11.1 mm and 13.8 mm. The results are
shown in Fig. 2.151.
When light is launched into the fiber using a large NA, the original bandwidth
of approximately 33 MHz can be increased significantly. However, large improve-
ments with small bending radii occur at the expense of large additional losses. The
biggest gain in bandwidth is obtained with a bend in the middle because this
means that many modes of the first 50 m are filtered out and EMD is not com-
pletely regained in the remaining 50 m. The changes in attenuation are largely
independent of the length since the mode field is well filled out everywhere.
2.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers 149
0 25 50 75 100
bandwidth over 100 m [MHz]
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
-5
-4
-3
-2
-1
loss
[dB]
bend position [m]
0 25 50 75 100
bend position [m]
launch NA: A
N
= 0.65 launch NA: A
N
= 0.10
bandwidth without bendings
Fig. 2.151: Influence of a bend to bandwidth and attenuation ([Mar00])
When light is launched into the fiber using smaller NA, the relative gain in
bandwidth compared to the original - approximately - 60 MHz is not as big.
Therefore the optimum position for the bend is clearly nearer to the end since the
mode field must first be filled. Again, tight radii have more effect. The additional
attenuation increases significantly when the bends are moved to the end, since at
the beginning of the fiber there are hardly any higher mode families in existence.
These results also confirm clearly for the existing assumptions with respect to
mode propagation in a coupling length of some 10 m.
2.6.4 Bends on PCS, Multicore Fibers and thin POF
A very simple method to decrease bending radii is to reduce the core diameter
while otherwise retaining identical parameters. If you wish to maintain the
possibility of fiber bundles or multicore fibers respectively.
Fig. 2.152 and 2.153 show the measured bending losses, each with a bend of
360° in the middle of the sample, with UMD launch and measured with an inte-
grating sphere. A 10 m long fiber was used for the MC-GOF. The range of the
bending radii lay between 2 mm and 100 mm. The bending attenuation measured
lies below 0.1 dB.
150 2.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers
0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6
0.06
0.05
0.04
0.03
0.02
0.01
0.00
bending loss [dB]
one bend
by 360°
-1
]
Fig. 2.152: Bending losses of MC-GOF, Schott
The bending losses of the MC-POF were measured on a 100 m long sample in
order to guarantee as much mode equilibrium as possible. The bend (360°) was
made in the middle of the fiber length. Due to the different relations between
mode coupling and absorption the EMD conditions for 520 nm and 650 nm only
differ slightly. That is the reason for the somewhat different bending losses.
0.01
0.10
1.00
0 5 10 15 20 25 30
bending loss [dB]
at 520 nm
at 650 nm
100 m fiber length
Fig. 2.153: Bending losses of MC-POF, 37 cores, 1 mm total diameter
In many areas the 200 μm PCS is used because it permits smaller bending radii.
Fig. 2.154 illustrates quite graphically that the same physical characteristics are
also valid for these fibers. Here the bending losses are given versus the relative
bending radius in relation to the fiber diameter. The numbers in brackets indicate
the bending radius in millimeters for the PCS. Both fibers thus have in relative
terms an identical bending sensitivity.
2.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers 151
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
3.0
2.5
2.0
1.5
1.0
0.5
0.0
4.0
3.5
Kern
]
200 μm PCS
1 mm POF
bending loss [dB]
(0) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)
Fig. 2.154: Bending losses of PCS and POF in comparison
Thin POF could be used as an alternative to PCS in many areas when tight
bending radii are indeed required, but the attenuation and the temperature range of
the POF are satisfactory. A comparison between a 250 μm SI-POF and a 200 μm
PCS, measured at 650 nm with full launch for 5 m long samples, is illustrated in
Fig. 2.155.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
0.01
0.1
1.0
10.0
0.03
0.3
3.0
bending loss [dB]
250 μm POF
200 μm PCS
Fig. 2.155: Bending losses of small diameter POF and PCS in comparison
The somewhat thicker POF also has somewhat higher bending losses. A tenth
of a dB is attained for the POF at a bending radius of 8 mm and 6 mm for PCS.
The bending losses of three different SI-POFs with different NAs are compared
in Fig. 2.156. The lowest losses are shown by the 300 μm thick POF with a high
152 2.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers
NA. The 250 μm and 500 μm thick POFs have almost identical bending attenu-
ations. It is thus indicative that the NA is by far the most important factor for the
bending losses. Consequently, you should always choose fibers with the largest
possible NA for particularly tight radii, unless you decide to go back to multicore
fibers. In addition, the latter have the advantage of offering an even greater
bandwidth.
0.001
0.01
0.10
1.00
10.00
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
bending losses [dB]
250 μm POF (A
N
= 0.63)
500 μm POF (A
N
= 0.50)
300 μm POF (A
N
= 0.63)
Fig. 2.156: Comparison of bending losses of various SI-POF (different NA)
More recent measurements of bending losses of four different SI fibers, each
with cladding and made available from Toray Germany, are shown in Fig. 2.157.
Fibers with a large NA (0.63) were used for this measurement. They allow
considerably smaller bending radii without remarkably decreasing the attenuation
and bandwidth.
o [dB]
0.01
0.1
1.0
0.03
0.3
3.0
1.0 10.0 0.3 3.0 30.0
C 250 μm
C 500 μm
C 750 μm
C 1000 μm
7.5 × r
7.5 × r
7.3 × r
8.0 × r
r [mm]
Fig. 2.157: Comparison of bending losses of various SI-POF
2.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers 153
Bending radii are drawn in the picture with which a bend (360°) results in
exactly 1 dB additional attenuation. With the four fibers with their 250 μm to
1000 μm core diameters this is the case each with a seven-fold to eight-fold fiber
radius, i.e. a bending radius between 0.9 mm and 4 mm. As a comparison, the
bending losses of a 125 μm SI-POF ([Witt04]) are shown in Fig. 2.158.
bending losses [dB]
0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2.0
0.1
1.0
0.2
2.0
0.5
Fig. 2.158: Bend losses of a 125 μm SI-POF ([Witt04])
Optimedia has made available samples of a thinner PMMA GI-POF. The ben-
ding losses of this fiber with overfilled launch (LED) and a launch with a laser
(A
N
= 0.10) are shown in Fig. 2.159. Both measurements were carried out at
650 nm with a 5 m long fiber.
0 20 40 60 80 100
bending losses [dB]
OM-Giga
500 μm/750 μm
360°-bends
ì = 650 nm
5 m fiber
0.1
1.0
0.2
2.0
0.5
5.0
laser launch
overfilled (LED)
Fig. 2.159: Bending losses of a 500 μm PMMA GI-POF
A bending radius of 15 mm is still not a problem for collimated light whereas a
high bending attenuation arises below a bending radius of 30 mm with an LED
launch. You could argue, of course, that laser sources should always be used for
GI fibers in order to utilize the high bandwidth. Nevertheless, it is imperative that
manufacturers reduce the bending losses.
154 2.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers
Finally, some results from a project work [Bau06] are shown. First, Fig. 2.160
compares the bending losses of three Toray fibers with different core diameters:
500 μm, 750 μm and 1,000 μm. The NA of the three fibers is the same. As expec-
ted, the bending radius for a given attenuation is reduced nearly proportional to the
fiber diameter. Only with very thin fibers does the effect of stronger mode-depen-
dent attenuation make itself noticeable.
0.001
0.01
0.1
1
10
0 10 20 30 40 50
bending losses [dB]
fiber type: Toray PFU
AN = 0.47
measured with 650 nm LED
1 bend 360°, 10 m fiber
750 μm
1,000 μm
500 μm
Fig. 2.160: Bending losses of various standard-NA-POF
The bending losses of 1 mm POF from three manufacturers are compared in
Fig. 2.161. Since the NAs of the fibers are not exactly equal, the bending attenu-
ations differ somewhat. In practice, however, these small deviations should hardly
play a role.
0 10 20 30 40 50
0.01
0.1
1
10
bending losses [dB] fiber type: St.-NA
measured with 650 nm LED
1 bend 360°, 10 m fiber
Fig. 2.161: Bending losses of various standard-NA-POF
2.7 Materials for POF 155
2.7 Materials used for POF
2.7.1 PMMA
The material most frequently used for polymer fibers is the thermoplastics PMMA
(Polymethylmethacrylate), better known as Plexiglas
®
. Figure 2.162 shows the
structure of the monomer and its polymer chain.
O
C
O
C
C
C
MMA
OCH
3
C
O
C
CH
3
CH
2
PMMA
OCH
3
C
O
C
CH
3
CH
2
OCH
3
C
O
C
CH
3
CH
2
OCH
3
C
O
C
CH
3
CH
2
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
C
Fig. 2.162: Molecular structure of PMMA
PMMA is produced from ethylene, hydrocyanic acid and methyl alcohol. It is
resistant to water, lyes, diluted acids, petrol, mineral oil and turpentine oil. PMMA
is an organic compound forming long chains with typical molecule weights
around 10
5
. Essential from the point of view of optical transparency of the
material is the amorphous structure of the polymerized material. The density of
PMMA is 1.18 g/cm
3
. Its tensile strength is approximately 7-8 kN/cm
2
([SNS52]).
The refractive index of PMMA is 1.492 and the glass transition temperature T
g
lies between +95°C and +125°C. At room temperature and 50% relative humidity
the material can absorb up to 1.5% water, which also affects the attenuation
characteristics.
Table 2.17 presents further properties of PMMA:
Table 2.17: Properties of PMMA (typical values)
Parameter Unit Value
refractive index - 1.492
glass transition temperature T
g
°C 115
density g/cm³ 1.18
absorption of water up to saturation % 0.5
thermal conductivity: W/mK 0.17
thermal heat expansion coefficient: mm/mK 0.07
Rockwell hardness (M),
Shore hardness (D)
- 95
70
tensile strength N/mm² 76
resistivity Ohmcm 10
15
breakdown strength kV/mm 20 - 25
spontaneous combustion temperature °C approx. 430
156 2.7 Materials for POF
As can be seen in the illustration, each MMA monomer has a total of eight C-H
bonds. The vibrations of this compound, or more precisely its harmonic waves are
a main cause for the losses encountered in PMMA polymer fibers. The attenuation
resulting from absorption at the respective wavelength is shown in [Mur96] and
[Koi96c] (see Fig. 2.163 and table 2.18). In particular the harmonic waves at
627 nm (6
th
harmonic wave) and 736 nm (5
th
harmonic wave) essentially deter-
mine the level of attenuation within the application range of PMMA-POF because
these are not narrow absorption lines but relatively wide bands. Further causes for
attenuation will be discussed in the chapter titled Characteristics.
10
-8
10
-6
10
-4
10
-2
10
0
10
2
10
4
10
6
10
8
500 1000 1500 2000
attenuation [dB/km]
wavelength [nm]
C - H
C - D
C - F
C - Cl
molecule
Fig. 2.163: Absorption lines of C-X-bounds according to [Gra99] and [Mur96]
Quite early in the history of this technology, the idea came up to reduce the ab-
sorption losses of polymer fibers by using different materials in which less or no
C-H bonds were present. However, it is not easy to eliminate these; instead, the
hydrogen atoms are replaced by other atoms of the 7
th
main group. A heavier core
will result in a lower vibration frequency, thus moving the attenuation bands to a
larger wavelength. The illustration shows the attenuation bands for deuterium
(heavy hydrogen with the atomic weight 2), fluorine (atomic weight 19) and
chlorine (atomic weight 35 or 37, see also [Bau94]). Generally, the materials for
polymer fibers can be divided into three groups:
¾compounds containing hydrogen
¾compounds with partial substitution of hydrogen
¾compounds with complete substitution of hydrogen
2.7 Materials for POF 157
Table 2.18: Absorption bands position of carbon bonds ([Gra99])
Oscillation C-H
ì [nm]
C-D
ì [nm]
C-F
ì [nm]
C-Cl
ì [nm]
C=0
ì [nm]
O-H
ì [nm]
v
0
3,390 4,484 8,000 12,987 5,417 2,818
v
1
1,729 2,276 4,016 6,533 2,727 1,438
v
2
1,176 1,541 2,688 4,318 1,830 979
v
3
901 1,174 2,024 3,306 1,382 750
v
4
736 954 1,626 2,661 1,113 613
v
5
627 808 1,361 2,231 934 523
v
6
549 704 1,171 1,924 806
v
7
626 1,029 1,694 710
v
8
566 919 1,515 635
v
9
830 1,372
2.7.2 POF for Higher Temperatures
Fibers with high resistance to heat are especially needed for use in certain areas of
automotive engineering (engine compartment) and automation technology. In the
passenger compartment of a vehicle a maximum of +85°C will arise. PMMA-POF
can easily be used with such temperatures. In the area near the center console or
under the roof temperatures can also go up to over +100°C and near the engine to
+125°C. Summaries of the data published so far and of comprehensive investi-
gations at the POF-AC Nürnberg can also be found in [Poi03a] and [Poi03b]. On
the whole the following methods for increasing the resistance to heat of polymer
fibers have been presented:
generated by chemical effects or by UV irradiation which results in a rise of
T
g
. At the same time, however, the scattering and the mechanical charac-
teristics become worse.
¾Polycarbonate: PC has a considerably greater T
g
compared with PMMA and
is likewise transparent. Fibers made of this material have been produced on a
large scale. PC fibers, however, age relatively quickly in combination with
humidity.
¾Elastomers: fibers made of this material could be used up to +170°C and
show very low attenuation. So far, they have only been produced as labora-
tory samples.
¾Alternative polymers: a series of other polymers such as cyclical polyolefins
have T
g
up to +200°C.
When determining the thermal stability, a maximum increase in the kilometric
attenuation is established over a maximum period of aging. In case the aging pro-
cedures are thermally activated, then the permissible operating period decreases
almost logarithmically to the temperature. An example of the behavior of a stan-
158 2.7 Materials for POF
dard PMMA-POF can be seen in Fig. 2.164 (measurements were made at the
POF-AC). The increase in losses is represented here vs. the temperature. With an
approx. 10 K increase in temperature the speed of ageing increases about one
order of magnitude.
1
10
100
1000
70 75 80 85 90 95
520 nm
590 nm
650 nm
increase of
attenuation
coefficient
dB/(km1000 h)
temperature [°C]
Fig. 2.164: PMMA-POF ageing
One of the most obvious methods for more heat-resistant POFs is the use of cross-
linked PMMA, generally referred to as modified PMMA. The attenuation curves
of such fibers are summarized in Fig. 2.165. The fibers of the PHK Series are sold
by Toray ([Tor96a] and [LC00a]). Important parameters are:
¾Diameter. 0.5 mm, 0.75 mm. 1.0 mm and 1.5 mm
¾NA/aperture angle: 0.54/65°
¾Lowest attenuation at 650 nm (for 1 mm): <300 dB/km
¾Operating temperature: -40°C to +115°C
¾Available as single fiber and bundle with 18 fibers à 0.5 mm
The attenuation measurement at the POF-AC is shown in the figure. A first
version of the Toray fiber has already been presented [Tan94a]. Another fiber
manufacturer active in this field is Asahi Chemical. A first sample was introduced
in 2003 under the designation H-POF and the measurement results were presented
in [Poi03a]. The manufacturer provides the following data:
¾Primary coating: ETFE (black Tefzel
®
)
¾Numerical aperture (after 2 m): 0.65
¾Core diameter: 1.0 mm
¾Primary coating: 1.51 mm/2.3 mm (MOST specification)
2.7 Materials for POF 159
¾Attenuation: 540 dB/km (measured at 657 nm)
¾Bandwidth: 30 MHz · 100 m
¾Operating temperature: -40°C to +130°C
Samples of PMMA-POF with different degrees of cross-linking were produced
in 2002 to 2004 by the RPC Institute in Tver near Moscow. The measurement
results of a sample are shown in the picture. The maximum application tempe-
rature lies at +130°C with an attenuation of about 800 dB/km at 650 nm.
attenuation [dB/km]
400 500 600 700 800
100
1.000
200
2.000
500
4.000
wavelength [nm]
H-POF
[Tan94a]
PHKS
Tver-POF1
Fig. 2.165: Attenuation of cross-linked PMMA-POF
On the whole it is true for this type of fiber that a higher degree of cross-linking
leads to higher application temperatures, whereby the scattering is also greater so
that the losses increase. A short piece of a Tver fiber sample exposed to red light
is shown in Fig. 2.166. The high degree of scattering leads to a clearly visible
lateral emission.
Fig. 2.166: Cross-linked PMMA-POF (sample from Tver)
160 2.7 Materials for POF
2.7.2.2 Polycarbonate POF
The first polymer fibers on the basis of polycarbonate were introduced in 1986 by
Fujitsu ([Ish92b] and [Koi95]). The attenuation lay at 800 dB/km at 660 nm and
450 dB/km at 770 nm respectively. The maximum operating temperature was
given at +130°C. Similar data were published in [Min94] - see also Fig. 2.167.
In 1992 [Tesh92], Asahi introduced another PC-POF called Luminous H. With
an application temperature of +125°C the attenuation was 600 dB/km at 660 nm.
The fiber NA was 0.78 and the bandwidth 17 MHz · 100 m. The relatively large
NA of most PC-POFs can be explained by the high refractive index of PC which
amounts to about 1.59. If PMMA is used with n = 1.49 as cladding material, the
result is then A
N
= 0.55.
Mitsubishi sells a type of fiber, the ESKA FH4001-TM, with a temperature
capability up to +125°C. The specific parameters for this type are:
¾Application temperature range: -55°C to +125°C
¾Application temperature at high humidity: +85°C
¾Maximum attenuation at 770 nm: 800 dB/km
¾Numerical aperture: 0.75 ± 0.01
¾Core/ cladding diameter: 910 ± 50 μm / 1000 ± 60 μm
¾Primary coating: 2.2 mm polyolefin elastomer
Laser Components GmbH offered another PC fiber. The last PC-POF shown in
Fig. 2.167 was introduced by Furukawa ([Hatt98], [Nish98] and [Irie94]),
whereby a material was used in which hydrogen atoms were partially replaced by
fluorine.
400 500 600 700 800 900
1,000
10,000
2,000
500
5,000
Minami 1994
Laser Comp.
Mitsubishi
Furukawa
wavelength [nm]
attenuation [dB/km]
Fig. 2.167: Various PC-POF
2.7 Materials for POF 161
The fibers produced by Furukawa with a core diameter of 0.5 mm had a NA of
0.35 and 0.53 (elastomer as cladding material). The low-NA version attains a
bandwidth of 200 MHz 100 m. A data rate of 156 Mbit/s could be transmitted
over 80 m of fiber (200 Mbit/s over 70 m).
No change in length could be ascertained in ageing tests over 10 days at tempe-
ratures of +100°C to +155°C (Fig. 2.168) which corresponds to an improvement
by 20 K over conventional PC-POF.
10
8
6
4
2
0
105 115 125 135 145 155
length variation [%]
temperature [°C]
PC-A
PC(AF)
Fig. 2.168: Temperature resistance of PC ([Hatt98])
The different PC-POF from Furukawa are summarized once again in
Fig. 2.169. Unfortunately, we do not know of any other work carried out by this
company.
PC(AF)
[Hatt98]
D-POF
[Irie94]
PC-POF
[Irie94]
400 500 600 700 800 900
300
1,000
2,000
500
5,000
attenuation [dB/km]
wavelength [nm]
Fig. 2.169: Data by Furukawa 1994-1998 (Polycarbonate)
The greatest disadvantage of PC-POF is its poor stability in regard to humid
heat. BAM tests on the aging of different POFs are summarized in Fig. 2.170.
What is surprising here is that PC-POF broke down before standard PMMA-POF.
162 2.7 Materials for POF
120%
100%
80%
60%
40%
20%
0%
0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000 3,500
at 92°C / 95 % RH
wavelength: 650 nm;
sample length: 10 m
relative transmission
SI-PMMA
SI-mod. PMMA
SI-PC
ageing time [h]
Fig. 2.170: Ageing behavior of various POF ([Daum03c])
2.7.2.3 Elastomer POF
Possibly the most suitable material group for heat-resistant POF are elastomers. A
number of institutes have already produced samples, but real product development
is still missing.
450 500 550 600 650 700 750 800 850 900
400
1,000
10,000
2,000
5,000
attenuation [dB/km]
HPOF-S
HPOF-Sb
[Ish92]
[Suk94]
[Zei03]
wavelength [nm]
Fig. 2.171: Attenuation of various EOF
The attenuation curves of different EOFs (elastomer optical fiber) are compared
in Fig. 2.171. Particulars of the following fibers are compared:
2.7 Materials for POF 163
¾Elastomer POF, produced by G. Zeidler (see [Zei03])
¾HPOF-S (Hitachi), data sheet information
¾HPOF-Sb (Hitachi), POF-AC measurements (1.5 mm core diameter)
¾2 mm silicone elastomer POF, A
N
= 0.54 [Ish92b]
TM
, cyclical olefin, [Suk94]
You can clearly see that the attenuation spectra are quite similar to those of PC
fibers. The lowest losses lie in the range around 500 dB/km which is entirely
acceptable for use in vehicle networks or for parallel connections.
Typical representative fibers for both EOF and PC POF are compared in
Fig. 2.172. The similar functional groups lead to only slight differences in the loss
spectra.
attenuation [dB/km]
500 550 600 650 700 750 800 850
500
1000
2000
3000
wavelength [nm]
PC-POF
silicone-POF
Fig. 2.172: PC-POF in comparison with silicone-POF
The most recent development by Asahi is particularly interesting. The HPOF-S
possesses the following specified parameters (see [Poi03b]).
¾Primary coating: ETFE (black Tefzel®)
¾Numerical aperture (after 2 m): 0.65
¾Core/cladding diameter: 1.00 mm / 1.50 mm
¾Primary coating: 2.3 mm
¾Attenuation: 800 dB/km (measured at 660 nm)
¾Bandwidth: 250 MHz · 100 m
¾Operating temperature: -40°C to +150°C
Since the cladding could not be extruded directly, it was produced as a tube. At
250 μm it is relatively thick. Practical technical production methods for such
fibers are undoubtedly possible.
When aged under high temperatures, the attenuation of this fiber even dropped
to values around 300 dB/km. Whether this was due to the possible drying of the
fiber or by improving the adhesion of the cladding on the core could not be
determined. The material system thus shows some enormous potential.
164 2.7 Materials for POF
2.7.2.4 Cyclic Polyolefines
A theoretically useful group of materials for POF are also the polyolefins.
Figure 2.173 shows a possible structure. These materials can also be produced
transparent. Low losses are theoretically possible because of their amorphous
structures.
C
R H
H
C
H
x
C
H
C
H
R’ R’
y
Fig. 2.173: Molecule structure COC
Some principal characteristics of such materials are:
¾Low water absorption
¾Theoretically more transparent than PMMA
¾Refractive index n = 1.56, makes another range of NA possible as well as the
production of different index profiles
¾T
g
typically > 150°C
Manufacturers of such polymers are among others Ticona and JSR. It is not
foreseeable when test fibers made from this very promising material system will
be produced again.
2.7.2.5 Comparison of High-Temperature POF
So far the following temperature-resistant fibers have been summarily described:
¾Polycarbonate (115°C)
¾Partially fluorinated polycarbonate (145°C)
¾Silicone elastomers (>150°C)
¾Thermoplastic resins (145°C)
¾ARTON
TM
(Fujitsu) (170°C)
The data of these different fibers have been compiled in Tables 2.19 to 2.21.
*)
temporary data sheet, the fiber is not presently available
**)
modified PC - partially fluorinated according to the authors’ information
***)
different data on materials, but with identical attenuation curves
2.7 Materials for POF 165
Table 2.19: Polycarbonate-POF
Parameter Mitsubishi
FH 4001-
TM
Producer
B
*)
Furukawa
[Irie94]
[Hatt98]
Furukawa
**)
[Hatt98]
[Nish98]
Laser
Comp.
core diameter 910±50 μm 940±20 μm 910 μm 500 μm 1 mm
cladding thickness 40-50 μm 30 μm n. a. n. a. n. a.
NA 0.75 0.54 n. a. 0.30 0.61
x dB/km @ y nm 800@770 2000@633
1500@780
400@660
700@760
460@650
300@780
800@770
bandwidth n. a. n. a. n. a. 200MHz100m n. a.
max. temperature +125°C +125°C +125°C +145°C n. a.
core material n = 1.582 n = 1.586 PC(A)
D-POF, PC-AF
***)
PC
cladding material n = 1.392 n = 1.491 n. a. n. a. n. a.
Table 2.20: Properties of modified PMMA-POF
Parameter Toray
PHKS-
CD1001-22
Hitachi
H-POF
Tver-POF
(Sample
2002)
Toray
[Tan94a]
principle mod. PMMA cross linked PMMA Copolymer Copolymer
core diameter n. a. 1 mm 1 mm 1 mm
cladding thickness n. a. 250 μm 30 μm n. a.
NA 0.54 0.65 >0.50 n. a.
x dB/km @ y nm 300@650 540@660 800@660 250@650
bandwidth n. a. 30 MHz100m n. a. n. a.
max. temperature +115°C +130°C +130°C T
g
= 135°C
core material PMMA PMMA PMMA Copolymer
cladding material n. a. P-FEP n. a. n. a.
jacket PP ETFE n. a. n. a.
Table 2.21: Properties of different high temperature-POF
Parameter Hitachi
HPOF-S
Hitachi
[Sas88]
Bridgestone
[Ish92b]
Zeidler
[Zei03]
Fujitsu
[Suk94]
principle silicone resin silicone elastomer elastomer
core diameter 1.0 mm 1 mm n. a. 1 mm 1 mm
0.25 mm 0.5 mm n. a. n. a. n. a.
NA 0.65 0.62 0.54 0.44/0.25 n. a.
x dB/km@y nm 800@660 660@650
900@780
700@660
450@770
800@770 800@680
bandwidth 25 MHzkm n. a. n. a. n. a. n. a.
max. temp. n. a. >150°C +150°C +150°C Tg = 171°C
core material n. a.
ester based
thermosetting resin
silicone elastomer ARTON
material
P-FEP
ethylen tetrafluoride -
propylene hexafluo-
ride copolymer
n. a. elastomer
fluorcopol.
n. a.
jacket Tefzel (ETFE) n. a. n. a. without n. a.
166 2.7 Materials for POF
Fig. 2.174 shows an aging experiment at +130°C with different fibers described
above. The most suitable ones at these temperatures were evidently the EOF and
the PC-POF.
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700
100
1,000
10,000
200
2,000
500
5,000
attenuation [dB/km]
measuring time [hours]
T = +130°C
FH 4001
PHKS
HPOF-S
TVER 2002
Fig. 2.174: Ageing of various POF at high temperatures
The PC-POF from Mitsubishi (FH4001) only shows a moderate increase while
the two POFs made of cross-linked PMMA aged more quickly. The EOF even
gets better during the measurement period. Particularly noticeable is the clear drop
in attenuation after 15 hours. This was the point at which the temperature was
raised in the climate test chamber. It was noticeable that the bandwidth of the EOF
had dramatically diminished after this treatment. The combination of both events
provides the explanation that the adhesion of the cladding onto the core was
clearly improved by the high temperature so that even higher modes can now be
guided.
2.7.3 Polystyrene-Polymer Fibers
Another candidate for the production of polymer optical fibers is polystyrene (PS),
the molecular structure of which is shown in Fig. 2.175 ([Ram99]).
C
H
H
C
C
H
C
C
H
H
H
H
C
C
C
H
C
H
H
C
C
H
C
C
H
H
H
H
C
C
C
H
n
Fig. 2.175: Molecule structure of PS
2.7 Materials for POF 167
Theoretically, the attenuation of PS is partly below that of PMMA, as the
following theoretical estimate of losses in [Kai89] shows - without taking into
account propagation effects and the effects of claddings (see table 2.22).
Table 2.22: Theoretical attenuation of different polymers according to [Kai89]
Material Wavelength Rayleigh-
Scattering
UV-Ab-
sorption
C-H-
Absorption
Sum Total
520 nm 28 dB/km 0 dB/km 1 dB/km 29 dB/km
570 nm 20 dB/km 0 dB/km 7 dB/km 27 dB/km
PMMA
650 nm 12 dB/km 0 dB/km 88 dB/km 100 dB/km
552 nm 95 dB/km 22 dB/km 0 dB/km 117 dB/km
580 nm 78 dB/km 11 dB/km 4 dB/km 93 dB/km
624 nm 58 dB/km 4 dB/km 22 dB/km 84 dB/km
PS
672 nm 43 dB/km 2 dB/km 24 dB/km 69 dB/km
680 nm 10 dB/km 0 dB/km 0 dB/km 10 dB/km
780 nm 6 dB/km 0 dB/km 9 dB/km 15 dB/km
PMMA-
d8
850 nm 4 dB/km 0 dB/km 36 dB/km 40 dB/km
To date, PS-POF have been manufactured e.g. by Toray (first PS-POF 1972),
NTT (1982) and CIS in Tver (1993). The initial fibers had an attenuation of over
1,000 dB/km; later on it was possible to reduce this to 114 dB/km at 670 nm
([Koi95]). The NA of these fibers which can be used at temperatures up to 70°C is
0.56, i.e. a little higher than that for the standard PMMA-POF. Figure 2.216 shows
the attenuation behavior of a PS-POF ([Ram99], red curve and [Zub001b]).
500 550 600 650 700 750 800 850
attenuation [dB/km]
100
1000
800
400
600
200
wavelength [nm]
[Zub01b]
Fig. 2.176: Attenuation spectrum of PS-POF acc. to [Ram99] and [Zub01b]
168 2.7 Materials for POF
The refractive index of PS is n = 1.59 so that it is possible to use PMMA for the
optical cladding (n = 1.49), as is possible for PC (n = 1.58). The glass transition
temperature of PS is approx. 100°C and therefore approx. 5 K lower than that of
PMMA. Hitherto there has been no reason to replace the PMMA-POF by PS so
that this material is not of any practical significance.
2.7.4 Deuterated Polymers
As has been illustrated in Fig. 2.163, a significant reduction in the absorption
losses of polymers can only be achieved by substituting the hydrogen with heavy
atoms. This would seem to be achieved most simply by replacing it with deu-
terium. This isotope has twice the atomic mass compared to hydrogen. In nature,
approximately 0.0156% of all hydrogen atoms are deuterium (1 atom in every
6,400). Chemically, deuterium behaves the same way as hydrogen so that it
simply makes sense to use so-called heavy water (D
2
O) as a base material for this
synthesis. Table 2.23 shows data of different POF based on deuterated polymers.
Table 2.23: Data of deuterated materials
Ref. Year Producer Attenuation
dB/km
at:
nm
Remarks
[Koi95] 1977 Du Pont 180 790 first deuterated SI-POF
[Koi96c] 1982 NTT 20 680 SI-POF
[Lev93] 1993 CIS 120
180
650
850
core: 200-1000 μm,
A
N
= 0.48, to 70°C
[Koi92]
[Khoe94]
1993 Keio Univ. 56
94
688
780
core: 500 μm, MMA-BBP-d8,
2.000 MHz km
[Kon02] 2002 Keio Univ. 58
109
127
650
780
580
g = 3.4; 511 MHz 300 m
T
g
= 105°C
[Kon03] 2003 Keio Univ. 58 650 g = 2.0; 1020 MHz 250 m
[Kon04] 2004 Keio Univ. 80 650 g = 2.3; 1200 MHz 300 m
According to [Koi95], the first deuterated SI-POF was produced by DuPont in
1977. In 1982, NTT ([Koi96c]) produced a SI-POF in deuterated material with a
minimum attenuation of 20 dB/km at 680 nm. It was not until the year 2000 that
this attenuation value was improved with the introduction of Lucina
TM
-POF.
Figure 2.177 shows further attenuation curves for POF made with deuterated poly-
mers; all examples are GI fibers.
Using POF made with deuterated polymers would offer a number of advan-
tages. Chemically these materials behave identically to the substances made from
"normal" hydrogen. The attenuation is approximately one order of magnitude less
than the values achieved for PMMA fibers. The behavior over temperature and the
options for index profile design should be the same as those of PMMA-POF.
However, the decisive disadvantage is that there is always water vapor present in
the atmosphere which will be absorbed by the fibers. This will lead to a situation,
2.7 Materials for POF 169
where which protons (normal hydrogen nuclei) slowly replace the deuterium so
that the absorption losses will increase again.
Although it is possible to solve the problem with a watertight coating of the
fiber (including all connections), this would defeat the object of obtaining a parti-
cularly low priced cable system.
500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400
[Koi95]
[Ish92a]
[Koi96b]
[Koi96d]
[Mur96]
10
100
1,000
10,000
20
50
200
500
2,000
5,000
wavelength [nm]
attenuation [dB/km]
Fig. 2.177: Loss spectra of GI-POF (deuterated, 1996)
In the past few years work has once again been conducted in Japan on the
production of deuterated POF. GI fibers exclusively have been investigated - see
[Kon02], [Kon03] and [Kon04]. The attenuation of these fibers from [Kon04] is
compared in Fig. 2.178 with the values from 1995 and those of a PMMA-POF.
0
500
1000
1500
450 550 650 750 850
wavelength [nm]
d8-PMMA
PMMA
attenuation [dB/km]
2002
1995
Fig. 2.178: Loss spectra of GI-POF ([Kon02])
170 2.7 Materials for POF
Different production versions are compared in [Kon02]. The effect of an
compared with a pure PMMA-POF are shown in Fig. 2.179. With about 60 dB/km
and 650 nm the attenuation ranges approximately between pure PMMA and PF-GI
fibers. On the other hand, the attenuation of the PMMA POF at 520 nm also does
not lie much higher.
500 550 600 650 700 750 800
10
100
1.000
10.000
20
50
200
500
2.000
5.000
wavelength [nm]
attenuation [dB/km]
PMMA
PMMA
d8-POF
Fig. 2.179: Attenuation of deuterated POF ([Kon04])
Since 2003, Fujifilm has been announcing the development of a new fiber
“Lumistar” in the versions I, V and X. According to their own statements this is:
“the first POF with a large diameter which is able to transmit over 1 Gbit/s”. This
is somewhat exaggerated, of course, since PMMA GI-POF and MC-POF have
been able to do this for many years.
power [dB]
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0
-6.0
-5.0
-4.0
-3.0
-2.0
-1.0
0.0
frequency [GHz]
1.9 GHz100 m
3 dB-bandwidth
Fig. 2.180: Frequency response of the Lumistar GI-POF ([Nak05b])
2.7 Materials for POF 171
Details of a fiber with a core diameter of 500 μm and a cladding diameter of
750 μm are described in [Nak05b]. The bandwidth of the fiber is 1.9 GHz over
100 m. Figure 2.180 shows the frequency response.
Furthermore, the work shows that the index profile produced by gel poly-
merization technology also remains stable after 2000 hours of aging at +90°C
(Fig. 2.181) which is very astonishing.
Fig. 2.181: Refractive index profile of the Lumistar GI-POF after ageing (+90°C)
Parameters for the Lumistar fibers are mentioned in different sources. Accor-
ding to this information a particularly low-attenuation polymer is used. Since the
company works closely with Keio University, where until 2004 there were reports
on the development of deuterated fibers with very similar parameters, we must
assume that we are dealing here with d8 PMMA-POF.
Table 2.24: Data of the d8-POF Lumistar
Lumistar-I Lumistar-V Lumistar-X
core material n. a. n. a. n. a.
core diameter 500 μm 300 μm 120 μm
cladding diameter 750 μm 316 μm 500 μm
attenuation 160 dB/km
(650 nm)
180 dB/km
(650 nm)
<100 dB/km
(850 nm)
bandwidth
1 GHz 50 m 3 GHz 50 m 10 GHz 50 m
According to [Kon05] the fiber is drawn from a 22 mm thick preform (60%
core). By means of a two-stage polymerization process the bandwidth is improved
(Fig. 2.182 shows the losses of two current versions). The optimal NA lies bet-
ween 0.2 and 0.3. The goal is the transmission of at least 3 Gbit/s over 200 m.
172 2.7 Materials for POF
500 550 600 650 700 750 800
50
100
1000
200
500
attenuation [dB/km]
wavelength [nm]
PMMA-d8 core
PMMA-d8
complete
Fig. 2.182: d8-POF variants according to [Kon05]
- conventional gel-polymerization with all-PMMA-d8 (79.8 dB/km at 650 nm)
- two level gel-polymerization with PMMA-d8 core and PMMA-cladding (red)
The bandwidth of the fibers was determined through pulse broadening in the
time domain, a SI-POF was used as a mode mixer. The fiber with the PMMA d8
core and the PMMA cladding attains 1.2 GHz · 300 m (overfilled launch). This
version does indeed have a somewhat higher attenuation, but also has a higher
bandwidth due to the index dip at the core-cladding interface.
In October 2004, Fujifilm introduced a DVI transmission system on the basis of
the Lumistar fiber. Using a 850 nm VCSEL a data rate of 10.3 Gbit/s over 40 m
could be transmitted (eye diagram in Fig. 2.183).
Fig. 2.183: 10.3 Gbit/s-data transmission over 40 m PMMA-d8-GI-POF
To what extent this fiber is actually available on the market cannot yet be
assessed since there are no channels of distribution yet in Europe. Even the actual
production costs are still unknown.
The use of fluorine instead of deuterium is indeed more complicated, but does
promise even lower attenuation values and above all long-life fibers. The
following section describes the development of these fibers.
2.7 Materials for POF 173
2.7.5 Fluorinated Polymers
The atomic mass of fluorine is many times greater than that of hydrogen so that
the absorption bands are moved significantly further into the infra-red zone. The
theoretical minimum values are less than 0.2 dB/km ([Mur96]), i.e. comparable to
silica fibers in the wavelength range of about 1,500 nm. Figure 2.184 compares
the attenuation values theoretically possible for fluorinated polymers with those
achieved for singlemode glass fibers.
0.1
1
10
100
400 600 800 1,000 1,200 1,400 1,600
wavelength [nm]
attenuation [dB/km]
silica glass
PF-polymer
Fig. 2.184: Theoretical comparison of PF polymer and silica
However, practical experience shows that these impressive theoretical values
are in fact difficult to achieve. The most important question is whether it will be
possible to find a fluorinated polymer that can be processed into a fiber in its
amorphous state. For example, Teflon materials tend to crystallize. Due to scatte-
ring losses, this will significantly reduce the transparency of the material. Even
this very first problem proved to be quite difficult to solve. The second question
relates to the production of the optical waveguide itself. For a step index fiber one
needs a cable material with a slightly smaller refractive index (An ~ 0.02 - 0.05).
However, fluorinated polymers already have the lowest refractive index of all
existing transparent plastics (n = 1.340 at 650 nm, or n = 1.336 at 1,300 nm),
which is why they are the preferred material for claddings. The reason why no
PF-SI-POF have been produced to date is simply the fact that there are no suitable
cladding materials available for this purpose.
In principle, graded index POF do not require an optical cladding. On the other
hand, it is necessary to find a way to continually increase the refractive index
towards the axis. Essentially this can be achieved through doping and co-poly-
merization. In the case of silica glass, the index variation can be easily achieved
by replacing the silicon atoms with germanium because these two substances be-
have identically within the glass structure. However, the components used for po-
lymer optical fibers do not allow such a simple replacement of individual atoms.
174 2.7 Materials for POF
The process of doping involves inserting small molecules between the long
chains of the actual core material which increases the refractive index. What is
important is that the dopants do not diffuse out of the polymer material too easily
and do not show too strong absorption in the desired wavelength range. The
doping process always lowers the glass transition temperature. It is therefore
desirable to insert a molecule that accomplishes the required change in the refrac-
tive index even at small concentrations (a few percent).
In co-polymerization one uses chains composed of different monomers. The
ratio of monomers determines the refractive index. In this case it is important that
the sequence should be irregular - no long chains of one monomer are formed -
since otherwise the losses due to scattering increase considerably. This means that
the bonding force of monomers amongst each other must not be greater than the
bonding force to the respective other monomer. Of course, both monomers must
have sufficient transparency. Figures 2.185 and 2.186 show a schematic illustra-
tion of the principles.
monomer
dopant
Fig. 2.185: Index variation by dopants
monomer A
monomer B
Fig. 2.186: Index variation by copolymerization
2.7 Materials for POF 175
Some fluorine polymers are listed, for example by [Mur96].
¾HFIP 2-FA hexafluoroisopropyl 2-fluoroacrylate
¾PTFE polytetrafluoroethylene
¾FEP tetrafluoroethylene-hexafluoropropylene
¾PFA tetrafluoroethylene-perfluoroalkylvinyl-ether
To date the best results in producing low attenuation POF have been achieved
with the material CYTOP
®
(cyclic transparent optical polymer), developed at
Asahi Glass in Japan. This material no longer contains hydrogen. Its molecular
structure is shown in Figs. 2.187 and 2.188.
CYTOP
®
CF
2
=CF-O-CF
2
-CF
2
-CF=CF
2
CF
O
CF
2
CF
CF
2
CF
2
CF
2
CF
O
CF
2
CF
CF
2
CF
2
CF
2
CF
O
CF
2
CF
CF
2
CF
2
CF
2
momomer polymer
Fig. 2.187: Fluoropolymer CYTOP
®
from Asahi Glass
Fig. 2.188: CYTOP
®
molecule structure
It was possible to reduce the attenuation of fibers step by step from initially
over 50 dB/km to 30 dB/km and finally to less than 10 dB/km at a wavelength of
1,300 nm, as shown in the data for different PF-GI-POF in Table 2.25.
Different attenuation spectra of GI-POF are compared in Fig. 2.189. The years
indicate the history of the development of this technology. Estimates in [Mur96]
suggest that attenuation for CYTOP will be less than 1 dB/km, bearing in mind
that the need for a GI profile will have a negative effect on this value.
176 2.7 Materials for POF
Table 2.25: Data of different PF-GI-POF
Ref. Year Producer Ø
core
μm
dB/km at nm Remarks
[Koi96c] 1995 Keio Univ. n. a. 50 1300
[Mur96] 1996 Asahi
Glass Co.
300-
500
140
56
850
1300
n=1.34 (589 nm, T
g
=108°C,
An = 0.115, o = 2.4
[Koi96c] 1996 Keio Univ. n. a. n. a. n. a. 10 GHz100 m | 660 nm
[Yos97] 1997 Asahi
Glass Co.
125-
300
56 1300 A
N
= 0.2, o = 2.4,
n
Kern
= 1.34, 600 MHzkm
[Koi98] 1998 n. a. 40 1300
[Oni98] 1998 Asahi
Glass Co.
210 41
45
850
1300
10,000 h/70°C, A
N
= 0.18
[Khoe99] 1998 n. a. 120
56
850
1300
[Khoe99] 1998 130 110
43.6
31
650
840
1310
[Koi00]
[Kog00]
2000 Asahi
Glass Co.
120 15 1300 9 ps/nmkm dispersion
509 MHzkm@1300 nm
522 MHzkm@850 nm
[Wat03] 2003 Asahi
Glass Co
120 15
8
1300
1070
till now lowest POF-
attenuation
[Gou04] 2003 Nexans 120 40 850 1500 MHz100 m
[Whi04b] 2004 Chromis 120 25 850 400 MHzkm
[DuT07] 2007 Chromis 120
50
40 800-
1300
800 MHzkm
continuously drawn
500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600
wavelength [nm]
attenuation [dB/km]
10
100
1,000
200
500
20
50
1996
1995
1998
2000
Fig. 2.189: Development of the attenuation for PF-GI-POF
2.7 Materials for POF 177
Values below 20 dB/km allow transmission ranges of up to 1,000 m. This
covers not only the field of application for copper data cables but also for glass
multimode fibers. Likewise, deployment in access networks would become
possible.
The best values so far are shown in Fig. 2.190 from [Whi02] and [Wat03],
whereby OFS - in the meantime under the company name of Chromis Fiberoptics
- has used a continuous production process for the first time (more information
below).
600 700 800 900 1,000 1,100 1,200 1,300 1,400
AGC
OFS
10
100
60
20
40
6
wavelength [nm]
attenuation [dB/km]
Fig. 2.190: Current attenuation values for PF-GI-POF
2.7.6 Overview over Polymers for POF Jackets
Apart from the materials used in the fiber core, the material used for the jacket is
also important. It has a significant contributing effect on thermal resistance. In
addition, the jacket determines the mechanical properties of the cable such as re-
sistance to compressive load and tensile strength as well as flexibility. Tables 2.26
through 2.30 list different possible materials with some of their characteristics.
The use of PVC, PE or PA as typical jacket materials for applications within
buildings allows for maximum temperatures ranging from 70°C up to 90°C. The
materials in the last two rows (trade names are Teflon FEP or Teflon PTFE) can
be used at significantly higher temperatures.
178 2.7 Materials for POF
Table 2.26: Materials for POF jackets (thermal properties)
Short
Name
Material VDE-
label
Allowed Conti-
nuous Operation
Temperature
Thermal Over-
240 h 20 h
PVC polyvinylchloride Y 70°C 80°C 100°C
PVC 90° polyvinylchloride 90°C Y 90°C 100°C 120°C
PVCflame ret. polyvinylchloride flame retardant Y 70°C 80°C 100°C
PE LD; MD polyethylene (low, medium density) 2Y 70°C 100°C 100°C
PE flame ret.
polyethylene flame retardant /with halogen
2Y 70°C 100°C 100°C
PE HD polyethylene (high density) 2Y 80°C 110°C 120°C
PP polypropylene 9Y 90°C 110°C 130°C
PA-6 polyamide - 6 4Y 80-90°C 120°C 150°C
PUR polyurethane (thermoplastic) 11Y 90-100°C 120°C 140°C
VPE cross linked polyethylene 2X 90°C 140°C 160°C
EVA ethylene-vinylacetate-copolymere 4G 120°C 160°C 180°C
FEP perfluorethylenpropylene 6Y 180°C 230°C 240°C
PTFE polytetrafluorethylene 5Y 260°C 300°C 310°C
Table 2.27: Materials for POF jackets (thermal/mechanical properties)
Short
Name
Proces-
sing *)
Flame
Resistant
Oxygen
Index LOI
Thermal
Value Ho
MJ·kg
-1
Thermal
Conductivity
W·K
-1
·m
-1
Linear
Expansion-
Coefficient K
-1
PVC E partly 23-28% O
2
17 - 25 0.17 10 - 20·10
-5
PVC 90° E partly 23-28% O
2
17 - 25 0.17 10 - 20·10
-5
PVCflame red. E yes 30-40% O
2
15 - 20 0.17 10 - 20·10
-5
PE LD; MD E and S no s 22 % O
2
42 - 44 0.30 20 - 50·10
-5
PE flame red. E and S partly 24-27% O
2
35 - 40 0.30 20 - 50·10
-5
PE HD E and S no s 22 % O
2
42 - 44 0.40 40 - 45·10
-5
PP E and S no s 22 % O
2
42 - 44 0.19 15·10
-5
PA-6 E and S no s 22 % O
2
29 - 30 0.23 7 - 10·10
-5
PUR E and S no 20-25% O
2
23 - 27 0.25 15 - 20·10
-5
VPE E ÷ V no s 22 % O
2
42 - 44 0.30 20 - 30·10
-5
EVA E ÷ V no s 22 % O
2
19 - 23 n. a. n. a.
FEP E yes >95 % O
2
5 0.26 8 - 11·10
-5
PTFE W (E) yes >95 % O
2
5 0.26 6 - 15·10
-5
*) E: extrusion, S: injection molding, V: vulcanization, W: wrap technology
Table 2.28: Materials for POF jackets (physical/chemical properties)
Short Name Melting
Temperature
Low Tempe-
rature Limit
Density
g·m
-3
Corrosive Harmfull
Agents in the Flue Gas
¸-Rays
Resistance
PVC from 130°C -10°C 1.20-1.50 yes s 10 Mrad
PVC 90° from 130°C -10°C 1.20-1.50 yes s 10 Mrad
PVCflame ret. from 130°C -10°C 1.30-1.60 yes s 10 Mrad
PE LD; MD 90-110°C -50°C 0.87 no s 100 Mrad
2.7 Materials for POF 179
PE flame ret. from 110°C -50°C 0.98 yes s 50 Mrad
PE HD 125-135°C -50°C 0.95-0.98 no s 100 Mrad
PP from 145°C -20°C 0.91 no s 10 Mrad
PA-6 from 175°C -50°C 1.10-1.15 ? s 10 Mrad
PUR from 150°C -50°C 1.15-1.20 no s 500 Mrad
VPE - -50°C 0.92 no s 100 Mrad
EVA - -50°C 1.30-1.50 no s 100 Mrad
FEP 255-275°C -65°C 2.00-2.30 yes s 0.1 Mrad
PTFE 325-330°C -65°C 2.00-2.30 yes s 0.1 Mrad
Table 2.29: Materials for POF jackets (physical/chemical properties)
Short
Name
Oil and fuel
resistance
Weather
Resistance
Shore-Hardness
1)
= A;
2)
= D
Tensile
Strength
Extension
Break
PVC middling good 70-95
1)
10-20 N·mm
-2
150-350 %
PVC 90° middling good 70-95
1)
10-20 N·mm
-2
150-350 %
PVCflame ret. middling good 80-90
1)
10-20 N·mm
-2
150-250 %
PE LD; MD bad medium 43-50
2)
15-20 N·mm
-2
300 %
PE flame ret. bad medium 50
2)
15-20 N·mm
-2
300 %
PE HD middling medium 60-62
2)
15-25 N·mm
-2
300 %
PP middling medium 40-60
2)
30-50 N·mm
-2
300 %
PA-6 middling good 40-75 70-120 N·mm
-2
50-200 %
PUR good excellent 75-100
1)
35-45 N·mm
-2
300 %
VPE middl. /good good 40-50
2)
12-20 N·mm
-2
300 %
1)
5-15 N·mm
-2
300 %
FEP very good excellent 55-60
2)
15-25 N·mm
-2
250 %
PTFE very good excellent 55-65
2)
80 N·mm
-2
50 %
Table 2.30: Materials for POF jackets (electrical properties)
Short
Name
Loss Factor tano at
20°C and 800 Hz
Permittivity at 20°C
and 800 Hz
Resistivity
at 20°C
PVC 20 - 100·10
-3
4 - 6 10
13
O·cm
PVC 90° 50 - 100·10
-3
4 - 6 10
13
O·cm
PVCflame ret. 70 - 150·10
-3
5 - 7 10
13
O·cm
PE LD; MD 0.2; 0.4·10
-3
2.3 10
16
O·cm
PE flame ret. 1.1·10
-3
3 10
16
O·cm
PE HD 0.3·10
-3
2.3 10
16
O·cm
PP 0.5·10
-3
2.3 - 2.5 10
16
O·cm
PA-6 30 - 50·10
-3
3 - 7 10
14
O·cm
PUR 30·10
-3
8 10
12
O·cm
VPE 0.5·10
-3
2.4 - 3.8 10
16
O·cm
EVA 20 - 30·10
-3
4 - 6 10
12
O·cm
FEP 0.0003·10
-3
2.1 10
16
O·cm
PTFE 0.0003·10
-3
2.1 10
17
O·cm
180 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production
2.8 Fiber and Cable Production
The processes for producing POF have been continuously improved in the last few
years. The fundamental methods have indeed always remained the same, but vari-
ous details have been improved. A very comprehensive treatment of POF produc-
tion and its history can be found in [Nal04]. Many fine points concerning the
materials can also be found in [Har99].
As opposed to the production of glass fibers there is a number of unusual
features with POF. First of all, the polymer chemistry involved, in part very com-
plicated and with its occasional safety aspects, has to be mastered. On the other
hand the process temperatures are very much lower - almost always below
+200°C.
The demands on POF production can be sub-divided into four areas:
¾The core material must be produced uniformly without any impurities, air
bubbles, etc. and with a correct distribution of the molecular masses.
¾The fiber must be drawn or extruded exactly.
¾For SI fibers a suitable cladding material with low refractive index and an
attenuation not too high must be found and applied. In doing so, one must
guarantee that the interface is sufficiently smooth and that the cladding has a
good wringing fit.
¾For graded index fibers a copolymer or a dopant must be found in order to be
able to vary - usually increase - the refractive index. A suitable process is
needed in order to distribute this material over the core cross-section so that
you have a parabolic refractive index profile.
There are other steps, of course, such as the application of additional protective
layers, the production of duplex or ribbon cables and quality control.
2.8.1 Production Processes for POF
Today glass fibers are produced in two different ways. The typically 125 μm thin
fibers for telecommunication applications are produced - up to more than 1000 km
- from a preform. Light guiding fibers are drawn directly from molten glass.
Even with polymer fibers one differentiates between continuous methods,
spinning or extruding, and the drawing out of the preform.
In the preform method a cylinder is produced that already has the index profile
of core and cladding while having a much larger diameter. During the drawing
process, the diameter is reduced until the desired size has been reached
(Fig. 2.191, see e.g. [Wei98]).
Ideally, the index profile should be maintained during this process but at a
proportionally reduced scale. The length of the fiber per preform is determined as
follows:
Length of fiber = preform length · (preform diameter/fiber diameter)
2
2.8 Fiber and Cable Production 181
This method is applied generally for glass fibers. Automated processes are then
applied to make several 100 km of fiber out of each preform, as the following
example shows:
Length of glass fiber = 2 m preform (5 cm preform diameter/125μm)
2
= 320 km
It is easy to see that the large core diameter of common POF is not favorable
for this process since only a few km of fiber can be produced from each preform,
for example:
Length of POF = 1 m preform · (5 cm preform diameter/1 mm)
2
= 2.5 km
Drawing speeds for glass fibers today can attain 10 m/s; with POF about 0.2 to
0.5 m/s.
mounting with feed
mechanism
preform
oven
take up drum
diameter control
unit
Fig. 2.191: Production of POF from a preform
In addition to being able to draw the complete fiber out of the preform there is
also the possibility of producing the core as a polymer cylinder and then applying
the cladding by extrusion or enameling. The advantage here is that the polymeri-
zation of the core material can proceed under very much better controlled
conditions.
This process is used with PCS. A silica glass core is drawn out to 200 μm - or
to other thicknesses as well - and is then surrounded by a polymer cladding,
typically 15 μm thick. Understandably, the glass and the polymer have to be pro-
cessed using different procedures.
Other versions are discontinuous production in which polymerization first takes
place in the reactor and then the resulting block is extruded at low temperature, a
so-called batch extrusion.
182 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production
monomer initiator
polymerization
controller
N
2
vacuum-
pump
reactor
mixer
heater
cooler
polymer
Fig. 2.192: Batch-extrusion according to [Hess04]
The monomer, the initior and the polymerization controller are first distilled by
a vacuum pump. After the polymerization is finished, nitrogen pushes the poly-
mers through the nozzle and the cladding is then immediately applied.
In addition, Mitsubishi has developed a method with which the polymerization,
described in [Nal04], can take place photochemically.
Figure 2.193 from [Hess04] shows such a method. The core and cladding
materials are pushed through a nozzle by a pump and a mixer. The cross-linking
then takes place with a UV lamp. This process could prove to be quite suitable,
especially for heat-resistant POF.
material
core
material
mixture
take up
drum
spinning
UV-light for
nozzle
2.8 Fiber and Cable Production 183
When extrusion techniques are applied, the POF is produced in a continuous
process directly from monomers. For SI-POF this process is very simple.
Figure 2.194 shows such an arrangement (e.g. [Ram99], [Wei98]).
POLYMER
filler
conveyor
pump
heated
vessel
core
extruder
fiber
extruder
diameter
control
Fig. 2.194: Production of SI-POF through extrusion
Such a system is also described in [Hac01]. According to the author the
cladding materials used are Poly(3FMA) with n = 1.40 and PVF with n = 1.42.
The polymerization takes place at about 150°C. With the drop in pressure when
leaving the reactor the remaining monomer is vaporized and can be returned. The
cladding is extruded at about +200°C. This temperature lies far above the glass
transition temperature for PMMA. Thus is a critical step in the process in which
the quick cooling of the fiber must be guaranteed. On the other hand, the cladding
is only about 10 μm thick so that the thermal load is limited.
reactor
heating
monomer, initiator,
polymerization controller
pump
extruder
fiber
take up drum
Fig. 2.195: Extrusion of a POF according to [Hac01]
184 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production
This process is also discussed in [Hess04]. The monomer is polymerized to
about 80% in the reactor. The advantage of this standard process for SI-POF lies
in the very slight contamination of the polymers caused by the process.
A modification of the process is presented in [Poi06d]. The new components in
the process are:
¾The core material is PMMA granulate which is crushed before extrusion and
effectively cleaned.
¾The extrusion head is to be kept free of metal and any impurities whatsoever
if possible.
¾The turbo pump used makes a particularly even transport possible.
In addition, two further processes are mentioned in [Wei98]. In the thrust extru-
sion technique, polymerization is carried out in a closed heated container from
which the fiber is subsequently expelled through a nozzle at high pressure. The
cladding is applied directly within the nozzle. This is a non-continuous process
just like the preform technique.
In the spin-melt process, a volume of ready-to-use polymer pellets is melted
and pressed through a spin head that incorporates many holes. The holes serve to
form the core and apply the cladding. This process is very efficient but also very
expensive.
2.8.2 Production of Graded Index Profiles
In order to guarantee the optimal functioning of graded index and multi-step index
fibers, the best index profile possible should be realized. The developmental goal
of the past few years has been to attain as much as possible with minimum effort
and to continuously produce GI fibers.
A number of different processes for the manufacture of graded profiles are
described in the technical literature:
¾Interfacial gel polymerization technique
¾Centrifuging
¾Photo-chemical reactions
¾Extrusion of many layers
In most of these techniques the principle is to initially create a preform of up to
50 mm diameter and then to subsequently draw this preform down to the desired
fiber size. Some of these methods are described below.
2.8.2.1 Interfacial Gel Polymerization Technique
This method was developed by Prof. Koike of the Keio University (for an example
see [Koi92]). In this process a tube is initially manufactured with PMMA. This
tube is then filled with a mixture of two different monomers M
1
(high refractive
index and large molecules) and M
2
(smaller refractive index and smaller mole-
cules). Initially the inner wall of the PMMA tube is slightly liquefied in an oven
2.8 Fiber and Cable Production 185
that has been typically heated to 80°C. This results in a layer of gel and accele-
rates polymerization. The smaller molecule M
1
can more easily diffuse into this
layer of gel so that the concentration of M
2
increases more and more towards the
middle. The index profile is thus formed in accordance with the resulting concen-
tration gradient. For manufacturing a PMMA-GI-POF, [Koi92] proposes that
MMA (M
1
) be supplemented with monomers VB, VPAc, BzA, PhMA and BzMA.
The material that was finally used is BzA because its reactivity is comparable with
that of MMA. The 15 mm - 22 mm thick preform is then drawn at temperatures
between 190°C and 280°C to produce fibers ranging from of 0.2 mm - 1.5 mm in
PMMA tube
filled with a
MMA/BzA mix
80°C
melting of the PMMA tube
formation of a gel layer

the gel layer moves to the center
concentration of M
2
increases from outer to the the center
Fig. 2.196: GI profile formation by gel polymerization technique
[Koi95] describes this method in more detail. The PMMA tube is produced by
rotating a glass reactor at 3,000 min
-1
at 70°C that is partially filled with MMA.
The polymerization process for the core takes place at a speed of 50 min
-1
and a
temperature of 95°C and requires approximately 24 hours to complete. [Ish95]
describes the production of a PMMA GI-POF with DPS as dopants. For traditional
materials such as BB or BBP, one obtains fibers with a NA of 0.17 - 0.21, whereas
with DPS a NA of 0.29 is possible. The greater NA improves the bending charac-
teristics and makes the launching of light easier.
186 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production
2.8.2.2 Creating the Index Profiles by Centrifuging
Several publications ([Dui96], [Dui98] and [Chen00]) propose utilizing the den-
sity difference of the different monomers to create the index profile through cen-
trifugal force in a fast centrifugal process. [Chen00] compares the density and
refractive index of different materials for this purpose (Table 2.31).
Table 2.31: Refractive index and density of different polymers ([Chen00])
Molecule Density n Molecule Density n
MMA 0.936 g/cm
-3
1.490 BB 1.120 g/cm
-3
1.568
DOP 0.981 g/cm
-3
1.486 PMMA 1.190 g/cm
-3
1.490
BIE 0.982 g/cm
-3
1.564 TFPMA 1.254 g/cm
-3
1.373
BzMA 1.040 g/cm
-3
1.568 PTFPMA 1.496 g/cm
-3
1.422
VB 1.070 g/cm
-3
1.578 DBME 2.180 g/cm
-3
1.538
The production of the preform is carried out in two steps. Once the monomer
mixture has been filled into a tube, the GI profile is formed at room temperature.
Then the temperature is increased so that polymerization takes place. Rotation
continues during this process. Then the fiber is drawn from this preform.
In this process the rotation speeds must be up to 50,000 min
-1
. Even for a pre-
form with 10 mm diameter the centrifugal acceleration (a = m
2
14,000 times the acceleration due to gravity. At the University of Eindhoven an
ultra centrifuge operating at 50,000 min
-1
has been constructed for preforms up to
50 mm in diameter which produce a centrifugal acceleration of 70,000 g. In the
first trials, GI cylinders were produced from PTFPMA and MMA. The process for
forming the GI profile took 24 hours. This was followed by a period of 12 hours
during which the polymerization process was carried out at 60°C to 80°C. The
refractive index difference achieved was approximately 0.009. No research reports
have as yet been published on the production of fibers from such preforms.
2.8.2.3 Combined Diffusion and Rotation
The combination of diffusion and rotation for producing PMMA-GI preforms is
described in [Park01]. The monomer is filled into a cylindrical glass reactor in the
middle of which a rod made of a material with a high refractive index is located.
This material diffuses slowly into the surrounding medium. Both parts can rotate
at different speeds: the reactor at 500 to 1000 RPM and the rod at 6 to 60 RPM.
The idea for different rotation speeds comes from determining the average of
concentration fluctuations so that an ideal rotation-symmetrical profile comes
about. After a few hours the preform is thermally polymerized. Figure 2.197
shows the principle and an index profile.
A fiber with a 1 mm core diameter was produced through thermal drawing from
the preform described above. The bandwidth-length product amounts to 1.2
GHz · 100 m, measured with a 650 nm InGaAsP laser on a 50 m long fiber.
2.8 Fiber and Cable Production 187
rotating reactor with
monomer, initiator
and polymerization
controller
solid copolymer with
higher refractive index
phase 1
room
tempe-
rature
laminar
mix of the
phases
n
copolymer is
diffused into the
monomer mix
phase 2
heated
poly-
meri-
zation
n n
final
GI-preform
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
concentration
after 5
hours
Fig. 2.197: Fabrication of GI-POF-preforms according [Park01]
2.8.2.4 Photochemical Generation of the Index Profile
According to [Nal04] the first GI-POFs were also produced by photo-copoly-
merization, introduced in 1981 by Koike. A thin glass tube is filled with a mixture
of MMA, vinylbenzoate (VB as dopant) and benzoyl peroxide (as initiator). The
glass tube rotates during the UV irradiation. Since the UV radiation is higher at
the edge a gel phase forms here through faster polymerization. The VB concentra-
tion will be greater in the center since MMA has a faster reaction speed. The tube
is irradiated from bottom to top and then polymerized out at high temperatures.
This procedure did not result in any usable fibers.
[Miy99] proposes a method for the production of index profiles by means of a
photo-chemical reaction. In this process, PMMA is doped with DMAPN ((4-N,N-
dimethylaminophenyl)-N’-phenylnitrone). During exposure to ultra violet radia-
tion (380 nm) the refractive index is reduced by up to 0.028, sufficient for
GI-POF. In the experiment, thin films of a few micrometer thickness were used.
Fibers have not yet been produced. It is likely that a problem would be the depth
of penetration of the radiation which is significantly less than the intended fiber
radius. Nevertheless, this process is of great interest since it works fast and makes
continuous fiber production possible.
2.8.2.5 Extrusion of Many Layers
This multi-step index POF has hitherto been produced at two institutes (Research-
Production Center, RPC Tver) and Mitsubishi Rayon.
The process corresponds to the production of SI-POF or DSI-POF except that
several extruders must be combined with one another. Figure 2.198 shows the
index profile of an MSI-POF according to [Lev99]. The curve drawn corresponds
to that of an ideal parabola. In the core area the deviations of the real structure are
relatively small.
188 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
0 100 200 300 400 500
distance to the fiber axis [μm]
refractive index [a.u.]
Fig. 2.198: Index profile of a MSI-POF ([Lev99])
2.8.2.6 Production of Semi-GI-PCS
The production of the preform for semi-GI-PCS does not in effect differ from the
manufacturing methods for normal glass fibers. The usual process is MCVD (mo-
dified chemical vapor deposition). A mixture of SiCl
4
and O
2
are introduced into a
heated quartz glass tube and SiO
2
is formed by the chemical reaction. By adding
chlorine, boron, germanium or phosphorus, you can continuously change the re-
fractive index (Fig. 2.199). After cooling off, the tube with the inner layer will be
collapsed, i.e. the hole disappears, and is drawn into a fiber. As opposed to classic
glass fibers the PCS has an optical cladding made of polymers, not of glass, thus
making a considerably greater refractive index jump possible.
gas mixing
GeCl
4
controller
rail
burner
porous preform
ceramic or
graphite rod
SiCl
4
O
2
Fig. 2.199: Fabrication of glass fiber preforms (by OVD)
2.8 Fiber and Cable Production 189
2.8.2.7 Polymerization in a Centrifuge
A new method for producing PMMA GI-POF ready for production has been deve-
loped over the past few years by the South Korean company Optimedia under the
direction of Prof. C. W. Park.
The production principle is based on copolymerization. As opposed to doping
there is the advantage of the glass transition temperature not dropping as much.
The polymer mixture is filled into a rotating tube and polymerized thermally or by
UV irradiation. The polymer composition can be changed in steps or continuously.
The rotation here does not serve the purpose of separating the materials, but only
for achieving rotational symmetry. There are correspondingly fewer demands on
the rotation speed. Figure 2.200 shows the set-up. A detailed description can be
found in [Park06a].
Fig. 2.200: Rotating cylinder for GI-preform fabrication ([Park06a])
You can see quite well under a microscope that the fiber is built up of many
layers. Nevertheless, the index profile is almost ideally parabolic and does not
show any steps - see Fig. 2.201 acc. to [Park06a]. An attenuation spectrum of the
OM-Giga, 1 mm GI-POF (data provided by the distributor Fiberfin) is shown in
Fig. 2.202. At 650 nm the losses are below 200 dB/km.
0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5
1.490
1.495
1.500
1.505
1.510
1.515
1.520
1.525
refractive index
A
N
: 0.30
Fig. 2.201: Refractive index profile of a PMMA-GI-POF made by Optimedia ([Park06a])
190 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production
400 500 600 700 800 900
100
1000
5000
2000
200
500
attenuation [dB/km]
wavelength [nm]
Fig. 2.202: Attenuation spectrum of a PMMA GI-POF made by Optimedia (Fiberfin)
2.8.2.8 Continuous Production at Chromis Fiberoptics
While there are continuous production processes for SI-POF, PF-GI-POF could
only be produced until just recently from preforms. Chromis Fiberoptics - pre-
viously Lucent, OFS - has developed a process for the continuous production of
such fibers ([Rat03], [Whi03], [Whi04a], [Whi05], [Park05b] and [Pol06a]). First
a SI fiber of CYTOP material with a doped core is produced in a double extruder.
The fiber is wound around a heated cylinder. Here the dopant diffuses outwardly
resulting in the GI profile. The 500 μm PMMA protective layer is then applied
and the fiber can be wound up. The fibers almost attain the parameters of POF
from Asahi Glass which has had about 10 years of experience in the field.
protective
layer
extruder
diameter
control
to the take up drum
extruder
(CYTOP)
core extruder
(CYTOP + dopant)
coextrusion
heated tube
coextru-
capstan
step-
index
profile
dopant
diffusion
GI-POF indexprofil
-100 -50 0 50 100
index
difference
Fig. 2.203: Continuous PF-GI-POF fabrication ([Pol06a])
2.8 Fiber and Cable Production 191
The insert shows the final index profile with an approximately parabolic curve.
The manufacturer indicates the bandwidth-length product of the fiber as being
400 MHz · km.
As already indicated above, a reduction in the bending losses plays a great role
with polymer fibers. For SI fibers a considerable improvement could be achieved
by means of a second cladding. Extremely small bending radii can be attained
through fiber bundles or multi-core fibers respectively.
refractive index evidently offers clear advantages in regard to the bending beha-
vior without dramatically reducing the bandwidth. A PF-GI-POF with an addi-
tional 6 μm thick cladding layer is introduced in [Oni04] and [Sato05].
Figure 2.204 shows the measured bending losses for three different fibers with
different index jumps between the edge of the core and the additional cladding
(around ¨n = 0.002, ¨n = 0.005 and ¨n = 0.014). Even with an index jump of
0.005 a bending radius of 10 mm with an attenuation below 0.1 dB can be
attained. The bandwidth-length product of the fiber lies between 1,800 MHz · km
and 2,700 MHz · km. The fiber attenuation amounts to 30 dB/km at 850 nm,
measured with ODTR.
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
1.2
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
180°-bending loss [dB]
1.325
1.330
1.335
1.340
1.345
1.350
1.355
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200
x [μm]
n
Fig. 2.204: Reduction of the bending losses due to a Semi-GI profile ([Sato05])
This method can also be employed for PMMA-GI fibers. The results for a
1 mm thick fiber are presented in [Aru05]. The attainable bending radius drops to
n = 1.42). The bandwidth-length product of the fiber is 1,500 MHz · 100 m and re-
mains quite constant up to 10 mm. It only drops under full launch and with a
5 mm bending radius to 500 MHz · 100 m. The attenuation at a 90° bend is com-
pared to a conventional PMMA GI-POF in Fig. 2.205.
192 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production
-0.5
0.0
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
0 10 20 30 40 50 ·
bend loss [dB]
NA of the GI core region = 0.17
PMMA based GI-POF
NA of the GI core = 0.21
Fig. 2.205: Bend losses in Semi-GI-POF according to [Aru05]
In addition to the extra cladding layer a so-called W-profile for GI fibers has
also been developed. Here the goal is to improve the attainable bandwidth.
Measurements on PMMA GI-POF with this W-profile and different index expo-
nents are presented in [Tak05b]. The W-profile is characterized by a very steep
index drop directly at the core-cladding interface. Figure 2.206 shows the index
curve.
Fig. 2.206: W-profile for PMMA-GI fibers ([Tak05b])
Furthermore, fibers with a NA of 0.20 and a ȡ-parameter (index exponent of the
rise outside the core-cladding interface layer) have been produced with index
exponents between 1.9 and 5.2. Figure 2.207 shows the theoretically calculated
and measured bandwidths.
2.8 Fiber and Cable Production 193
1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0 5.5
0.2
1.0
0.5
5.0
2.0
0.3
3.0
3 dB bandwidth [GHz100 m]
calculated for GI-POF
W-shaped POF
GI-POF
profile index exponent g
Fig. 2.207: Bandwidths of PMMA-GI-POF, improvement by W-profile [Tak05b]
PF-GI-POF with optimized index profiles are presented in [Ebi05]. Their band-
width attain that of MM-GOF and in the short-wave range even surpasses it (Table
2.32). The high bandwidth is attained through the approximately ideal index
coefficients of 2.05, i.e. in combination with the low chromatic dispersion of the
material.
Table 2.32: Bandwidths comparison of GI-GOF and POF according to [Ebi05]
Bandwidth
wavelength 650 nm 780 nm 850 nm
PF GI-POF 8.39 GHz 8.50 GHz 9.54 GHz
SiO
2
-GI-GOF 5.27 GHz 7.34 GHz 9.31 GHz
Figure 2.208 shows the best attenuation values over time for some of the fibers
listed above. PMMA fibers (SI and GI) reached their theoretically maximum
possibilities in the mid-80s. Since then, other index profiles (MSI, MC, DSI) have
also reached this order of magnitude (approx. 130 dB/km at 650 nm and 80 dB/km
at 570 nm). Any differences in measured values and specifications are more likely
to result from different measuring conditions than from differences in quality.
The PF fibers have been continually improved, at least as far as the laboratory
results are concerned. The best values were attained in 2003 with about 8 dB,
almost one magnitude still above the theoretical limits. In the past three years no
further progress has been made with the attenuation. On the other hand, there has
been some success in attaining a high launch-independent bandwidth with opti-
mized refractive index profiles and in reducing the bending sensitivity.
194 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production
year
attenuation [dB/km]
SI-PMMA at 650 nm
SI-PMMA at 570 nm
PF-GI at 1.300 nm
d8-GI at 688 nm
SI-d8 at 680 nm
1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005
GI-PMMA
10
100
1,000
200
500
20
50
5
Fig. 2.208: Development of POF attenuation until the year 2005
2.8.3 Cable Manufacturing
This chapter discusses the structure and properties of various cable structures with
POF wires. Different applications place different demands on the mechanical
shielding of the polymer optical fiber. SI-POF (Step Index Polymer Optical Fiber)
is a promising medium for relatively short transmission distances of 100 m. Poly-
mer plastics such as polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) or polycarbonate (PC) are
used as the primary core material for manufacturing these fibers. Fluorinated poly-
mers, silicone or fluorinated PMMA materials are used as cladding material with a
reduced refractive index of n
~ 1.42 as compared with the core material
n
core
> 1.48 (Fig. 2.209).
Due to the large refractive index difference, numerical apertures of up to 0.50
are attained. Various manufacturer versions of optical fibers are shown in
Fig. 2.210, in which glass or plastic are combined for the core and cladding mate-
rial. The relatively thin glass fibers are mechanically fragile and must therefore be
protected by a multilayer cable construction. The POF is so flexible that a simple
jacketing of the optical cladding suffices as a cable construction.
2.8 Fiber and Cable Production 195
0.98 mm d
1.00 mm D
1.492 n
core
1.416 n
0.47 NA
n
r
n
core
n
D
d
core material: Polymethylmethacrylat (PMMA)
Fig. 2.209: Typical SI-POF parameters
Glass fibers with polymer optical cladding represent an intermediate step. They
also have a relatively simple construction (two-layer plastic coating around the
optical cladding). The large core diameter allows only step-index profiles.
10/ 125/ 250 μm
50/ 125/ 250 μm
singlemode glass fiber
multimode glass fiber
980/ 1000 μm
200/ 230 μm
polymer fiber
0 mm
0.5 mm
1.0 mm
optical core
primary coating
secondary coating
strength member
outer jacket
Fig. 2.210: Comparison of different kinds of optical fibers
196 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production
Until recently, step-index profile fibers were manufactured almost exclusively
from polymer plastics having a typical outer diameter of 1 mm. These SI-POF
exhibit significant transmission ranges with a minimum of attenuation for wave-
lengths between 400 nm and 900 nm (Fig. 2.211).
The effective spectral loss windows are at 520 nm, 570 nm, 650 nm, and
760 nm. With improved purity, homogeneity and deuterated or fluorinated poly-
mers, it is possible to reduce attenuation to 10 dB/km, as has already been des-
cribed in Chapter 2.7.5.
50
100
1,000
10,000
200
500
2,000
5,000
450 500 550 600 650 700 750 800 850
wavelength [nm]
attenuation [dB/km]
PMMA
PC
attenuation
minimum
Fig. 2.211: Attenuation spectrum of different POF made from PMMA or PC
Polymer optical fibers that are flexible and break-resistant can be produced
with a relatively large diameter (up to 1.5 mm or even more) and are thus easy to
handle and to install. The large core diameters in combination with the numerical
aperture make simple connection fittings and equipment possible with low de-
mands on precision.
2.8.3.1 Cable Construction with SI-POF Elements
SI-POF cables or lines must always be flexible when laid/installed at the end user
place. SI-POF must also be flexible for mobile applications.
The flexibility of a line or cable depends on the number and dimensions of the
stranding units with the number of the layer changes of the individual stranding
elements. The shorter the pitch length is and the larger the number of layer chan-
ges, the larger the flexibility of the stranding unit. The pitch length of the indivi-
dual POF wires or the stranding elements with the proper diameter has a major
influence on the flexibility of the stranding elements. The shorter the pitch length,
the more flexible the stranding unit will be (Fig. 2.212).
2.8 Fiber and Cable Production 197
flexibility
length of lay
Fig. 2.212: Schematic diagram of the relationship between the pitch length and the flexi-
bility of the stranding construction
2.8.3.2 Non-Stranded SI-POF Cables
SI-POF Simplex Cable
When processed into a cable with the respective strain relief, the SI-POF can be
coated with a diffusion lock made from metal over the first cladding, if required.
An absolute diffusion lock can be attained exclusively with a closed tube, for
example with laser-welded metal tubing. The metal strip material for laser welding
can be made of aluminum, copper or high-grade steel. The foil thickness is typi-
cally between 50 μm and 150 μm for welding. For overlapping with or without
gluing, the metal foils have a sandwich layer construction, i.e., 9 μm / 20 μm /
9 μm = metal / plastic carrier strip/ metal.
A jacked is extruded onto the traction elements in combination with the metal
diffusion locks. This layer is practically always flexible and sturdy; polyurethane
or polyethylene are the preferred materials. The next illustration (Fig. 2.213)
shows two typical SI-POF simplex cable constructions.
outer sheath
metal band
inner coating
fiber core
2.2 mm 2.3 mm
Fig. 2.213: Structure of optical fibers with internal cladding
198 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production
SI-POF Duplex Cable
The simplest form of a duplex cable is the combination of two parallel POF wires
that are protected by shielding and equipped with traction elements. Various con-
struction options for a duplex cable or duplex line are possible. Two very well
known cable constructions are shown in Fig. 2.214.
foil tape lapping
POF-element
inner coating
outer sheath
strain relief element/
rip cord
5 mm
2.5 mm
5 mm
Fig. 2.214: SI-POF duplex cable in a round cable and flat cable form
With these duplex cable constructions, care must be taken to ensure that the
strain-relief elements in the plugs or on the connectors are included in processing.
This is necessary because the temperature influence on the SI-POF wires is con-
structed in such a way that optimum temperature characteristics are ensured in the
temperature range from -40°C through +80°C.
SI-POF and GI-POF Ribbon Cable
A ribbon cable with n SI-POF elements can be constructed as an extension to a
duplex cable. The SI-POF elements are lined up in parallel as a comb and com-
bined in either groups of 5 or 10 elements. A thin protective coating is extruded
over this ribbon cable with the respective traction and support elements in one
work cycle. Various SI-POF ribbon cable constructions with a modular design are
illustrated in Fig. 2.215.
2.3 2.3
5.2
outer sheath
strain relief element
POF
inner coating
26 mm
13 mm
twin group 5 cables group
10 cables group
Fig. 2.215: SI-POF ribbon cable with traction and support elements
2.8 Fiber and Cable Production 199
The cross-sections of two POF ribbon cables from [Boc04] are shown in
Fig. 2.216. The individual fibers have each been extruded in a joint acrylic
Fig. 2.216: Ribbon with four 500 μm SI-POF (above) und eight 120 μm/500 μm GI-POF
(below, [Boc04])
For the OVAL project (see Chap. 6) of the POF-AC Nürnberg Nexans had pro-
duced 8-strand ribbon cables made of SI- and GI-POF each with a 500 μm dia-
meter. The cross-section of a prototype with PMMA-GI-POF (Optimedia) is
shown in Fig. 2.217.
Fig. 2.217: POF-ribbon cable with eight 500 μm OM-Giga-fibers (dimensioning in μm)
The spacing between the individual fibers deviates only slightly from 500 μm.
Only in a vertical position great deviations do arise which can easily be avoided
by better guiding of the individual fibers in the extrusion tool.
In order to investigate the influence of the ribbon cable production on the
optical parameters, the spectral attenuation and the bandwidth were determined on
the SI-POF ribbon cables. The results are shown in Fig. 2.218 and 2.219.
200 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production
450 500 550 600 650 700 750 800
100
1000
200
600
400
300
800
attenuation [dB/km]
wavelength [nm]
fiber 1 fiber 2
fiber 3 fiber 4
fiber 5 fiber 6
fiber 7 fiber 8
Fig. 2.218: Single fiber attenuation in the ribbon cable
The attenuations of the 8 fibers agreed within the usual measurement error of
±0.5 dB. There were also no significant deviations in the frequency response in
Fig. 2.219.
-35
-30
-25
-20
-15
-10
-5
0
+5
rel. level [dB]
frequency [MHz]
1 10 100 1000 3 30 300
Fig. 2.219: Frequency response of the fibers in the ribbon cable
In one last experiment we investigated whether the ribbon cable production
increased the mode mixture in the fibers. We determined the far field width of the
individual fibers and ribbon cables with under filled launch for different lengths.
The experiment on the ribbon cables was repeated after annealing (120 min. at
+90°C) and aging (200 hours). As can be seen in Fig. 2.220, it took practically the
same length of time in all four cases to achieve equilibrium mode distribution. In
other words, the ribbon cables did not influence the mode mixing processes.
2.8 Fiber and Cable Production 201
12
16
20
24
28
32
36
fiber
ribbon cable
annealed
aged
FWHM
eff
[°]
l
POF
[m]
high NA-fiber
NA
launch
= 0.10
0.1 1.0 10.0 100.0 0.3 3.0 30.0
Fig. 2.220: Effect of mode mixing in fiber ribbons ([Har06])
SI-POF Hybrid Cable
Hybrid cables are characterized by the fact that they are constructed from a combi-
nation of SI-POF elements with cooper-insulated wires that can be joined together
individually or in pairs.
Furthermore, there are hybrid cable combinations in a coaxial construction with
a metallic tube, the so-called POF-CMT element (CMT = Corrugated Micro
Tube). The illustrations shown in Fig. 2.221 point out possible combinations with
SI-POF copper elements or SI-POF aluminum elements in a coaxial construction.
POF CMT
isolation
triax duplex single
basic element hybrid-cable
3 ... 4 mm 2 ... 3 mm 7 ... 9 mm 4 ... 5 mm
Fig. 2.221: New design for POF with CMT as electrical conductor
The advantage of such hybrid cable constructions is the possibility of supplying
current directly to the transmitter and/or receiver of the individual SI-POF ele-
ments ([Ziem99a], [Ziem99b]). The connector combination for hybrid cable con-
structions are well known and are used in the automotive field.
Apart from the coaxial hybrid solution, the layer-stranded hybrid solution is
also well known (Fig. 2.222 and 2.223).
202 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production
6.5 mm
copper wire
foil
POF
980/
1000 μm
inner coating
outer sheath
7.5 mm
copper wire
support element
POF
980/1000 μm
inner coating
outer sheath
strain element
Fig. 2.222: Layer-stranded POF-Cu cables (principle)
In these cases, insulated copper wires and POF wires are processed either into a
group of four or as stranded layers with several stranding elements. The copper
wires are used with diameters of 0.5 mm to 1.5 mm. Thicker copper wires are pro-
cessed as braided wires, because the flexibility of the cable usually does not meet
customers’ requirements.
Fig. 2.223: Hybrid POF-Copper cable
2.8.3.3 Stranded SI-POF Cables
Introduction
SI-POF cables or SI-POF lines are products that must bend easily when they are
used and when they are processed. This requirement must be met for the manu-
2.8 Fiber and Cable Production 203
facturing process or for transport purposes or for winding the cables or lines on
production-machine reels or shipping reels or when sold in rings. The individual
SI-POF elements are twisted in a screw-like fashion around an imaginary center-
line. Twisting is necessary in order for the manufactured products to be flexible
and portable.
The advantage of twisting is that the stranding element is stretched and com-
pressed alternatively on the inner and outer side of a curved section (Fig. 2.224). If
the section in which a SI-POF stranding element is wrapped 360° around a twist
axis that is considerably smaller than the curved section, the strain and pressure in
a stranded construction are constant and it is possible to bend this SI-POF cable
without deformation.
Fig. 2.224: Comparison of cable constructions with short or long lay lengths in terms of the
bending characteristics
The flexibility of an SI-POF cable or SI-POF line is a function of the geometric
dimension of the stranding elements and of the change in layers present in a cable
construction. For example, a large number of layer changes results in a greater
flexibility of the SI-POF cable construction.
The SI-POF stranding elements are wrapped spirally around the twist axis in
various machine configurations. The foundation for these various machine designs
is always the result of a rotary motion with a linear motion. This can be seen
schematically in Fig. 2.225.
204 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production
n
1
s
1
2 3
4
5
d
D
A
n
2
1. rotor
2. stranding elements
3. stranding unit
4. capstan gear
5. stranding axis
s: pitch length
n
1
: rotational speed of
D
A
: diameter of the
d: diameter of the
stranding unit
n
2
: rotational direction
and speed of the
capstan gear
Fig. 2.225: Schematic diagram of the spiral-shaped strands
The option of being able to twist SI-POF elements together is determined by
the following parameters.
¾Pitch length
¾Lay direction
¾Multiplication factor
¾Number of strands
2.8.3.4 Principles of Stranding
Pitch Length
The pitch length is the distance between two points on the twist axis. Within these
two points, the SI-POF element has been rotated 360° around the twist axis. The
lay length is calculated from the following variables:
1
m
1
2
A
n
1000 v
s [mm]
n
n D
s

=
t
=
where D
A
: Diameter of the capstan gear
n
1
: Rotational speed of the stranded basket
n
2
: Rotational speed of the capstan gear
v
m
: The machine’s pull-off speed
During the manufacture of twisted SI-POF cables or SI-POF lines, the lay
length s must be determined very exactly because of the precise geometry in-
volved. This means that for stranding machines for SI-POF elements that are
twisted via a capstan gear or caterpillar, the diameter of the stranding elements
must be taken into account. In practice, a deviating diameter for the SI-POF stran-
2.8 Fiber and Cable Production 205
ding construction is the result and increases the pitch length manufactured. The
geometric assignment is easy to see in the enclosed illustration (Fig. 2.226); the
manufacturing pitch length S
H
is calculated from it.
2
3
1
D
A
d
1: capstan gear
2: fiber loop
3: POF
Fig. 2.226: Diagram for explaining the concept of 'manufacturing pitch length'
The manufacturing pitch length is calculated from the following parameters:
A
A
H
D
d D
s s
+
=
s
H
: Manufactured pitch length
s: Pitch length in machines
D
A
: Diameter of the capstan gear
d: Diameter of the stranded unit
Lay Direction
The rotational direction of the stranding basket determines the lay direction. The
following distinction is made depending on the sense of direction of the helix:
¾S-lay means a left-handed thread (Fig. 2.227)
Fig. 2.227: Schematic explanation of the lay direction
206 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production
The following diagram (Fig. 2.228) illustrates how an SZ stranding is to be
interpreted. It can be seen that, after a number of rotations, the lay direction is
changed. In contrast to classic basket stranding, SZ stranding has the advantage of
having a pull-off speed that is 5-20 times faster.
S Z S Z S
Fig. 2.228: Explanation of the lay direction schematically
Economic and engineering stranded cable products are manufactured exclu-
sively using the SZ stranding method, i.e. also for POF applications.
In classic production, SI-POF stranding elements constructed from several
stranding layers are given alternatively a Z and an S direction. This cable con-
struction element - the SZ-stranding method - for SI-POF results in a very com-
pact geometric shape of the stranding construction, which allows it to cushion well
both traverse and longitudinal forces. The stranding element is to ensure that the
optical transmission values are retained during the manufacturing process of the
cable product and to ensure that there are no changes after laying the cables and in
subsequent operation.
Multiplication Factor
The helical SI-POF stranding element (Fig. 2.228) is longer in the stranded unit.
The stranding method always leads to an increase in material consumption. The
ratio of the laid length L of the SI-POF stranding element to the lay length of the
stranded unit results in the well-known multiplication factor f = L/s. The multi-
plication factor f is determined from the pitch length and the average diameter D
m
in the stranding layer.
The multiplication factor can be easily derived from the triangle shown in
Fig. 2.229.
2 2
m
s ) D ( L + t = and 1
s
D
s
s ) D (
s
L
f
2
m
2 2
m
+ |
.
|

\
| t
=
+ t
= =
with L: Laid length L = s/cos e
f: Multiplication factor
D
m
: Average diameter of the stranded layer
s: Pitch length of each stranded layer
For relatively large pitch lengths (D
m
« s), the calculation can be simplified as
follows:
( ) /2 s / D 1 f
2
m
t + ~
2.8 Fiber and Cable Production 207
D
m
s
d
D
L
s
e
tD
m
Fig. 2.229: Graphical representation of the SI-POF stranding element
Number of Strands
To characterize the bending properties of an SI-POF stranding element v, the
number of strands is formed from the quotient of the pitch length and the average
diameter D
m
(v = s/D
m
).
s: Pitch length of each stranded layer
D
m
: average diameter of this stranded layer
v: Number of strands
Production developments in stranded cable constructions or SI-POF cable con-
structions have lead to the number of strands being v > 8. By using the number of
strands v, the multiplication factor f can be easily calculated.
²/2v² 1
v
v
1
v
f
2 2
2
t + ~
+ t
= + |
.
|

\
| t
=
Layer Structure
Standard SI-POF elements have a simple geometric shape but have an exact dia-
meter. This makes it easy to calculate SI-POF cables or SI-POF lines. An SI-POF
cable in its classic form, i.e. with a core element, has the same diameter as the SI-
POF element; it can be constructed in a circular fashion with 6 SI-POF elements in
the same layer. The cladding lines are in contact with each other. Two different
core layers have been adopted schematically in Fig. 2.230. The other layers are
calculated and shown. In Table 2.33 and Table 2.34, the number of elements and
the diameters have been compiled for a general case and for the case with
d = 2.3 mm respectively, whereby the variables have the following meaning:
n: Layer number
z: Number of elements per position
Ez: Total number of the elements to the layer n
d: Diameter of the cable unit
D
m
: average diameter of the unit
D: Diameter of the layer
208 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production
D
2
D
3
D
m3
D
m2
d = 2.3mm
D
2
D
3
D
m3
D
m2
D
1
D
m1
Fig. 2.230: SI-POF cable (layer structure)
Table 2.33: Dimensions of layer-stranded POF cables in general
n z D
m
D Ez n z D
m
D Ez
1. 1 - 1 · d 1 1. 2 1 · d 2 · d 2
2. 6 2 · d 3 · d 7 2. 8 3 · d 4 · d 10
3. 12 4 · d 5 · d 19 3. 14 5 · d 6 · d 24
4. 18 6 · d 7 · d 37 4. 20 7 · d 8 · d 44
5. 24 8 · d 9 · d 61 5. 26 9 · d 10 · d 70
6. 30 10 · d 11 · d 91 6. 32 11 · d 12 · d 102
Table 2.34: Dimensions of layer-stranded POF cables with d = 2.3 mm
n z D
m
D Ez n z D
m
D Ez
1. 1 - 2.3 mm 1 1. 2 2.3 mm 4.6 mm 2
2. 6 4.6 mm 6.9 mm 7 2. 8 6.9 mm 9.2 mm 10
3. 12 9.2 mm 11.5 mm 19 3. 14 11.5 mm 13.8 mm 24
4. 18 13.8 mm 16.1 mm 37 4. 20 16.1 mm 18.4 mm 44
5. 24 18.4 mm 20.7 mm 61 5. 26 20.7 mm 23.0 mm 70
6. 30 23.0 mm 25.3 mm 91 6. 32 25.3 mm 27.6 mm 102
Cable Materials
The specification profile for SI-POF cable or SI-POF lines in various fields of
applications such as in industry, in office environments or in the automotive field
place the highest demands on the material components.
Thermoplastic materials (polymers) are preferred that have been mounted to the
cable using an extrusion process. Excellent mechanical properties are needed so
that the values listed below are ensured when SI-POF cable or SI-POF lines are
installed.
2.8 Fiber and Cable Production 209
¾Abrasion
¾Repeating bending characteristics
¾Torsion
¾Acceleration
¾Hammer blow
Especially in the automotive field, the material must be highly resistant to the
following properties:
¾Resistance to oil
¾Cooling lubricant resistance
¾Steam
¾Hot gases
The demand for materials that are temperature resistant comes from users.
These customers are in the automotive field, in industry or in the cable-installation
field for buildings. Special halogen-free material properties are desired in order to
provide on-site safety to customers and consumers alike.
Today’s selection of modern plastic insulation and cladding mixtures, which in
part can be improved through various methods of crosslinking, should and must
protect the SI-POF cables or SI-POF lines in all types of applications.
In case of an accident, special plastic optical fiber cables are to have emergency
running properties. SI-POF hybrid cable constructions ensure this reliability to a
very high degree.
The mechanical properties of thermoplastic materials such as
¾Hardness
¾Density
¾Tensile strength
¾Elongation at break
¾Tensile stress value
¾Compression strain
¾Impact resistance
¾Electrical properties
can be found in the relevant data specifications of the standardized norms or the
data specifications of the chemical industry. Preferred plastic materials are:
¾Polyethylene
¾Polypropylene
¾Polyurethane
The properties that have been improved by cross-linking are those of thermal
resistance and higher mechanical strength. In addition, the resistance to solvents
has also been increased, which can be seen by the fact that less swelling and
cracking occur for polymers with residual tensile stress.
210 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production
The essential physical properties of some of the important materials are listed
in section 3.3.6.
A very good alternative is a combination of plastic and metal, for example, with
the corrugated micro tube. Metal in the most varied constructions, whether as a
steel alloy, in aluminum or in copper keeps the SI-POF in an expanded tempera-
ture range protected against mechanical and thermal strain.
2.8.3.5 Corrugated Micro Tube Cables
Corrugated micro tubes have been used to protect cables for quite some time.
Nexans was the first company to encase polymer optical fiber wires for manufac-
turing resistant cables. Because of the small diameter of the POF, special corruga-
ted micro tubes (CMT) were needed. More detailed descriptions of the mechanical
and thermal properties are found in [Schei98], [Zam99], [Ziem99a], [Ziem99b]
and [Zam00a]. Figure 2.231 illustrates a POF wire with aluminum corrugated
tube.
Fig. 2.231: POF wires with corrugated micro tubes
Possible applications for CMT cables will be discussed later in Chapter 8.1.1.7.
The manufacturing process for corrugated tubes is described below.
Corrugated Tube Process
The UNIWEMA (Universal Corrugated Tube Machine) has become a standard
piece of equipment for cable plants worldwide. The origins of the corrugated tube
process go back to the 1940’s.
The corrugated tube process as practiced today is a butt-welding process for
small dimensions (for example POF wires). A thin metal strip is formed around a
cable core and formed into a small metal tube. The strip edges that form a butt
joint are welded into a tube cladding by a laser beam under protective gas (argon
and/or helium) and then corrugated in a spiral-shaped way or as rings (Fig. 2.232).
2.8 Fiber and Cable Production 211
Fig. 2.232: Corrugated tube for POF
The UNIWEMA is used to weld copper, aluminum and steel strips or steel
alloys or alternative materials. The machine creates smooth and corrugated metal
tubing in an economical manner.
The tube welding process is continuous and fast. All weldable metals such as
copper, aluminum, steel and their alloys can be processed. The process can be
used for manufacturing small metal tubes for core diameters ranging from 1 mm
to 500 mm. Strip thickness’ of 0.05 mm to 4.0 mm are welded with a laser using
the WIG process. Neither burrs nor bulges are produced at the welding seam
(Fig. 2.233).
Fig. 2.233: Welding seams in laser welding
212 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production
Due to the concentrated thermal effect of the welding source, the welding zone
is limited on the metal edges. The heat is quickly dissipated over the tube. Since
the welding zone is covered by a protective gas shield, the formation of an oxide
layer is prevented.
Corrugated Tube for POF Applications
Metal tubes manufacture in compliance with the UNIWEMA procedure
(Fig. 2.234) can be used for all POF cables. This applies to metal tubes of steel
and welded special steel alloys as well as smooth or corrugated copper or alumi-
num tubes that have been welded lengthwise. Corrugated copper tubes are used
wherever a particularly high conductivity or large dissipation of heat is required.
Due to its comparably small weight when used with thin metal strips, corrugated
cable tubes can be easily transported and installed. The corrugated tubing is easy
to bend and particularly resistant to external deformation in the radial direction. It
is absolutely hermetic. This makes it possible to operate corrugated cable tubes,
and POF elements under pressure and in a vacuum.
Fig. 2.234: Laser welding device ([LZH01])
Laser Welding
The laser beam is monochromatic and coherent and can be easily focused. As a
result, a high power density can be achieved at the processing point - the V-seam
between the strip edges (Fig. 2.235).
2.8 Fiber and Cable Production 213
Fig. 2.235: Welding seam with laser beam ([LZH01])
By applying the auxiliary gases argon and/or helium in such a way that the
beam power is absorbed in the capillaries, the coupling properties of the plasma
can be controlled. The actual welding joint is produced by the melt converging
behind the capillaries (Fig. 2.236).
welding zone
(solid)
welding zone
(fluid)
laser beam
vapour
(plasma)
channel
laser induced
plasma
metal vapour
laser beam
welding zone
(solid)
welding zone
(fluid)
direction of welding
keyhole welding conduction limited welding
Fig. 2.236: Principle of laser welding
214 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production
Keyhole welding causes the process heat to be uniformly distributed at mini-
mum levels over the entire welding zone (Fig. 2.237). Typical welding joints are
butt-welded or overlapping welding seams, weldable materials steel, special steel,
brass, copper, aluminum and special metal alloys. Thin clad metal foils made of
aluminum/plastic/aluminum can be used for laser welding. Fluted steel sheets can
be welded overlapping or butt-jointed with a YAG laser or a diode laser.
ND:YAG-laser
beam source
laser
control
device
data
acquisation
process computer
controller
quotient
pyrometer
partially
transparent optic
O reflects
Nd:YAG
O transmits heat
detected heat
laser beam
workpiece
laser fiber
laser optics
beam-material
interaction zone
modified track
feed direction
Fig. 2.237: Structure of a laser welding system
2.9 Microstructured Fibers 215
2.9 Microstructured Fibers
In addition to classic optical fibers which consist of a core and cladding there are
also microstructured fibers in which the wave guiding does not rely on a refractive
index profile, but on holes along the entire length of the fiber. Normally, wave
guiding in optical fibers is based on the effect of total reflection in the general
sense of the term. The core consists of a material with a higher refractive index
than the surrounding cladding material. In this fiber configuration special field dis-
tributions, so-called modes or eigenmodes, can be guided within the fiber. These
modes experience an effective refractive index of the fiber, which lies between the
maximum refractive index of the core and that of the cladding material.
In 1996, J. Knight et. al. demonstrated a new kind of optical fiber, the wave
guide characteristics of which were no longer based on a rotation-symmetrical re-
fractive index. This created a variety of completely new possibilities and novel
functions ([Kni96] and [Kni97]). These fibers now only consist of one material,
usually silica glass, and have a structure of the cross-section with air holes. The
holes in this structure are as a rule considerably smaller than the wavelength of
light so that they do not act like objects on which light is reflected or scattered.
Instead they change the refraction characteristics of the material.
The material is changed in such a way that it acquires new kinds of charac-
teristics. Relatively simple and specific characteristics can be created with these
fibers, e.g. for dispersion, dispersion slope, modal field radius and others.
For some years now microstructured fibers have also been made of polymer.
These fibers with low temperature processes can be produced on the basis of the
low melting point of polymers and other characteristics, thus resulting in possibi-
lities for new kinds of fiber geometries and also potentially new applications.
In the following section we would like to deal with the fundamental wave
guiding mechanisms. The different types of fibers and their specific characteristics
will be introduced and the methods for producing these different types of fibers
will then be shown. We would particularly like to take a close look at the diffe-
rences between microstructured fibers made of glass and polymers. Applications
which are possible with these fibers and are presently the subject of research will
then be introduced. Some of these applications can even be obtained commercially
now. Finally, the present state of development will be discussed and we will ven-
ture a prognosis as to where the limits for such fibers may lie in the future.
2.9.1 Kinds of Wave Guiding
Wave guiding in microstructured fibers is determined by the structure of the cross-
section along the entire fiber. Holes which locally vary the refractive index very
strongly are normally put into the fiber along its entire length. These areas with
noticeably different refractive indices are very small in relation to the wavelength
so that they cannot be resolved by light and only have an indirect influence on the
propagation characteristics of the light.
216 2.9 Microstructured Fibers
There are two fundamental mechanisms which exercise this influence: holes
either act as a kind of doping by changing the effective refractive index of the
material in average ([Gho99]) or they are put into a regular, grid-shaped arrange-
ment so that they act like a kind of meta-material ([Cre99]. Other materials which
have a greatly differing refractive index from that of the core material can also be
used). Such fibers can exhibit effects with a great degree of wavelength depen-
dence since such arrangements have similar characteristics as e.g. Bragg gratings,
in which the light at certain wavelengths can be constructive or destructive over-
lapped. The two-dimensional pendant to such a Bragg grating are the Bragg fibers
in which concentric areas with greatly differing refractive indices alternate at
regular intervals ([Yeh78]). Constructive overlapping waves can come about at
certain wavelengths thus resulting in wave guiding. At other wavelengths light is
not guided. One can therefore surmise that such fibers are capable of having
strong wavelength-dependent characteristics.
A new kind of wave guiding occurs in such fibers with regular structures. This
wave guiding is possible in cores made of air as opposed to those fibers based on
total internal reflection. For wave guiding with total internal reflection it is essen-
tial that the core material has an effective refractive index which is higher than
that of the cladding. This is not necessary with fibers having a “photonic band
gap”. Because of the regular structure within the fiber band structures are formed
analogous to electrical semiconductors in which certain energy states of light
waves are allowed and others are rejected resulting in light waves which can
remain within the material and others which cannot. When there are light waves
which have permissible energy states within the core area, but not in the cladding,
then the light must stay in the core and is guided through this band gap since they
2.9.1.1 Effective Refractive Index
Fibers based on the effect of an effective refractive index can intuitively be under-
stood most easily. They are doped with the material by introducing air or other
materials. The holes made must be very small in relation to the wavelength and
should be as randomly arranged as possible. The effective refractive index then
results from the volume ratio of the two materials (e.g. one talks about air frac-
tion). The greater the proportion of air, the smaller is the effective refractive index
of the material. Fibers based on an effective refractive index should have holes
relatively small in relation to the wavelength of the light so that the holes as such
can no longer be resolved. Also, these holes should be introduced into the material
in an irregular manner as possible so that the geometry and arrangement of the
holes do not have any influence on the characteristics of the material (see
Fig. 2.228).
Such fibers are basically not different from traditional fibers in which the core
has a higher refractive index than the cladding. Consequently, there is a form of
total reflection. Since the effective refractive index can fundamentally only be
reduced by doping with air, the cladding area in such fibers is normally structured
with holes. The core is mostly undoped glass. Such fibers can be described as
2.9 Microstructured Fibers 217
being similar to normal step index glass fibers, whereby the fiber parameter de-
pends on the wavelength of the light ([Mor03a ] and [Mor05b]). The reason for
this is that the influence of the holes varies greatly depending on the wavelength
of the light which also depends on the relationship between the hole diameter and
the wavelength and whether light can resolve the holes.
Fig. 2.238: MPOF with effective refractive index according to [Lar02a]
2.9.1.2 Photonic Band Gaps
In addition to the fibers whose refractive index profile arises from the effective
refractive index resulting from the holes there is also wave guiding on the basis of
a photonic band gap ([Cre99]). Fibers based on the principle of a photonic band
gap behave fundamentally differently from the fibers with an effective refractive
index just discussed.
These fibers must have holes introduced in a specific periodic arrangement so
that a kind of meta-crystal comes about. According to the Bloch theorem the
neighboring holes act like elementary cells which are repeated regularly in several
dimensions resulting in new kinds of characteristics for the meta-crystal. Just as
with semiconductors, energy bands can be formed which originate from the perio-
dic structure of the material. In semiconductors these are the periodically arranged
atoms of the semiconductor material; in fibers with a photonic band gap it is the
periodically arranged holes.
In such fibers the light guiding comes about when the light of a certain wave-
length, and thus photons with a specific energy, possess allowed energy states in
the core area while the same energy states are not permitted in the cladding area.
Thus, the photons in this energy state can only stay in the core area of the fiber
(see Fig. 2.239).
218 2.9 Microstructured Fibers
e
f
f
e
c
t
i
v
e

i
n
d
e
x

n
e
f
f
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
normalized frequency A/ì
n
SiO
2
n
air
PBGF-mode
1.0
1.2
1.4
1.1
1.3
Fig. 2.239: Distribution of intensity in a large-mode-area-laser fiber according to [Lim03]
(left). Effective refractive index of the radiation modes of the cladding (grey)
with position of the bound defect mode in the band gap (center) and the mag-
netic field strength of the linear polarized fundamental mode for ȁ = 2.27 μm,
d = 1.993 μm, D = 4.54 μm at Ȝ = 1,55 μm with n
eff
= 0.977 (right).
The form of the energy bands, i.e. the energy areas, which correspond to the
permissible energy states is greatly dependent on the arrangement of the indivi-
dual holes. Even small deviations can lead to great changes in the energy bands so
that with this kind of fiber only slight tolerances are allowed in the arrangement of
the holes. Nevertheless, these fibers permit greater possibilities for structuring
([Arg06]). As a consequence, propagation characteristics such as dispersion, dis-
persion slope, effective area, etc. can have relatively large dimensions. Especially
for very narrow-band applications, e.g. sharp-edged filters, fibers with photonic
band gaps can be employed quite well. This is also true for high-performance
applications in which the linear characteristics of the hole core are used ([Lim03],
[Mat05b] and [Nie06]).
Fig. 2.240: Air-hole - MPOF with 220 μm outer diameter/5 μm hole distance, [Eij03a]
2.9 Microstructured Fibers 219
2.9.1.3 Bragg Fibers
Bragg fibers consist of concentric rings with different refractive indices. These
rings act like a Bragg grating in radius direction so that they reflect certain wave-
lengths which are adapted to the spacing between the rings while letting other
wavelengths through. This results in wave guiding in only those wavelengths
which the Bragg rings reflect. With all other wavelengths no wave guiding takes
place. The fibers thus act like a filter and only let light through with very specific
wavelengths ([Yeh78]).
Fig. 2.241: Cross section of a Bragg-fiber according to [Arg06]
The rings can be produced in a variety of different ways. Refractive index pro-
files can be produced which have higher or lower refractive indices with specific
radii. Microstructured fibers, however, are also possible where the rings with dif-
ferent refractive indices are realized by hole structures. In this case rings with
holes are arranged at regular distances from the fiber axis which, because of the
effective index of this layer, acts like a layer with reduced refractive index.
Bragg fibers behave similarly to fibers with photonic band gap. They are also
based on the exact arrangement of the holes or the layers with different refractive
indices respectively. If the geometry is followed exactly very sharp-edged filters
can be produced or fibers which are very selective in regard to the wavelength.
2.9.1.4 Hole-Assisted Fibers
In addition to these new kinds of fibers whose waveguide characteristics are based
solely on the structures introduced, hybrid fibers have also been introduced which
represent a cross between conventional fibers with refractive index profiles and
microstructured fibers ([Has01]). These fibers have the same wave guiding as with
conventional fibers. However, the additional holes change the propagation cha-
racteristics so that you get other degrees of freedom in fiber design. In particular
220 2.9 Microstructured Fibers
ring-shaped hole structures are arranged around the core in order to reduce the
bending sensitivity of the fibers ([Guan04] and [Nak03b]). The outer structure acts
like an additional step in the refractive index profile which should hold part of the
output emitted in the bend in the cladding area. This measure is supposed to
increase the wave guidance without having to make compromises concerning the
propagation characteristics of the fiber.
Fig. 2.242: Cross section of a hole-assisted fiber according to [Guan04]
2.9.2 Production Methods
Microstructured fibers can be produced in very different ways. Various production
methods are possible with glass and polymer fibers.
2.9.2.1 Microstructured Glass Fibers
The first microstructured fibers were made of glass ([Kni96] and [Kni97]). Since
glass has a very high melting point the production possibilities are limited. The
fibers are mostly produced using the so-called stack-and-draw technique in which
small glass tubes with different diameters - the number depends on the desired
hole diameter - are put together in a bundle. Depending on the type of fiber, either
a filled glass rod (effective index) or another small glass tube (photonic band gap)
is used for the core. These small tubes combined then form the preform. They are
melted and drawn into a fiber. A fiber cladding is generally drawn over the entire
preform which then forms the outer area of the fiber. This only serves the purpose
of stabilizing the fiber.
The fact that the small round glass tubes are combined into a preform generally
only allows a few arrangements: rectangular, hexagonal or so-called honey comb
structures. Even if you decide on hexagonal structures when arranging the holes,
the hole spacing and the hole sizes can be put into a rather large range which can
2.9 Microstructured Fibers 221
Fig. 2.243: Cross section of a microstructured glass fiber, fabricated by stack-and-draw-
technology ([Ort04])
Glass melting at low temperatures can also be extruded, whereby the glass is
either melted or liquefied. The ensuing viscous fluid can then be pressed through
specifically arranged nozzles which have the structure of the desired preform. This
preform can then be used to immediately draw the fiber or to make a preform.
This method of making preforms in effect allows the production of as many hole
geometries as one likes. In principle, round holes and any kind of arrangement can
be produced in this way. However, this production method is limited to glass with
a low melting point. Consequently, silica glass, for example, cannot be processed.
The production engineering of microstructured fibers has improved tremen-
dously in the past few years. Whereas the first fibers still had attenuations of seve-
ral 100 dB/km, today fibers based on an effective index with attenuations per unit
length can be produced below 0.3 dB/km at a wavelength of 1.55 μm ([Taj03]).
Photonic band gap fibers permit attenuations per unit length up to 13 dB/km
([Smi03]).
2.9.2.2 Microstructured Polymer Fibers (MPOF)
Fibers made of plastics can be produced in a variety of different ways, especially
since they can be processed at much lower temperatures. Whereas glass fibers can
be drawn at temperatures around 2000°C, MPOF can already be drawn at 200°C
([Lyy04]). This not only allows simpler production techniques, but also permits
the introduction of other materials into the fiber which would otherwise decom-
pose, e.g. dyes ([Lar04]). However, there are also some disadvantages in regard to
increased attenuation, lower operating temperatures, other operating wavelengths,
etc. ([Lar06a]).
222 2.9 Microstructured Fibers
Microstructured polymer fibers can also be extruded and then drawn into fibers.
The same limitations regarding geometry and production tolerances are valid for
them as for glass fibers.
Researchers at the University of Sydney ([Bar04c] and [Lar01b]) have
developed a particular kind of preform production in which a massive cylinder
made of polymer is structured using drills with different diameters. At present,
preforms up 65 mm in length can be structured with this method, otherwise the
drills would be too long. As many geometries as one may wish can be produced in
which both the arrangement and the hole diameter can be freely chosen. Present-
day production processes have hole diameters between 1 mm and 10 mm with
minimum spacing in between of about 100 μm which then shrink to their original
size through drawing.
New kinds of process techniques can even produce elliptical holes which give
the fiber an intrinsic double refraction. Preforms can either be poured into molds
or around capillary tubes and then drawn into fibers ([Zha06]).
Fig. 2.244: Preforms of MPOF ([Lwin06], [Poi06e])
Other materials can be introduced into the fiber in addition to the holes. Fibers
with metal wires for the poling of the material have been demonstrated as well as
fibers with liquids in the capillary for controlling the propagation characteristics
and doping materials for changing the optical and electrical characteristics
([Cox03b] and [Cox06]).
After the first MPOF was introduced at the end of 2001 ([Lar01b]), the tech-
nology has continued to develop at an amazing pace. The fibers introduced back
then still had an attenuation of 30,000 dB/km. In the course of time the individual
process parameters have been continuously improved so that the attenuation could
be steadily reduced. The process parameters optimized include conditions when
drilling the preforms, rinsing and cleaning steps as well as drawing parameters.
The best microstructured polymer fibers today have an attenuation of 200 dB/km
and are thus not very far away from conventional polymer fibers which have an
attenuation of about 120 dB/km at a wavelength of 650 nm.
2.9 Microstructured Fibers 223
0.1
1
10
100
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45
achieved attenuation [dB/m]
months for the first publications
Sept. 2001
April 2005
Fig. 2.245: Development of the attenuation of the MPOF 2001-2005 ([Lwin05])
2.9.2.3 End Surface Preparation
Microtome cutting has proved to be a useful method for working on the end sur-
faces of conventional polymer fibers. This method of work only produces unsatis-
factory results with microstructured fibers since the fine, step-like structure at the
end of the fiber in the holes can lead to defects and irregularities (see Fig. 2.246).
These structures can be seen at the ends of all such fibers and on conventional
polymer fibers, too. Nevertheless, it can be seen that the mechanical characteris-
tics in particular of the MPOF intensify the step-like effect. These filigree struc-
tures absorb the lateral forces and give in again after each thrust.
Fig. 2.246: Singlemode-MPOF cut by microtome, 1000-fold magnification
The direct cutting of the fiber with conventional cutting pliers can destroy the
fine structures because of these lateral forces.
224 2.9 Microstructured Fibers
Fig. 2.247: Singlemode-MPOF cut by MOST
®
-tongs, 100-fold magnification
Other processing methods such as hot plate or subsequent polishing have also
been investigated, but did not deliver any good results. The hot plate technique
leads to inclusions at the end surfaces so that the original geometry can no longer
be recognized. On the other hand, polishing leads to the deposition of rubbed off
shavings and their removal into the holes. A reproducible coupling is therefore not
possible since the influence of these inclusions or that of the deposited foreign
matter in the structure’s holes is not controllable.
Better processing characteristics are shown by those MPOF which are surroun-
ded by another, so-called buffer layer made of hard polyester. This layer absorbs a
large part of the mechanical forces when cutting and prevents the breaking of the
fine webs within the structure. Since such fibers consist almost exclusively of
polymer they can almost be worked on like polymer fibers. Figure 2.248 shows
the end surface of such an embedded fiber with a buffer layer. You can see that
the fiber is not embedded centrically which leads in practical use to a lateral mis-
alignment of the plugs and thus to plug losses and power redistribution. In the
future you can expect, however, that the dimensions of the fibers will become
greater and that the fibers can be better centered with new drawing techniques.
Fig. 2.248: End face of an embedded fiber with buffer layer; 100-fold magnification
2.9 Microstructured Fibers 225
No practical solution exists yet which can provide for good reproducibility and
a high degree of reliability. Processing methods still have to be found for both
practical and laboratory use which can meet the necessary requirements. In the
case of termination in the field the end faces must allow acceptable losses; in the
laboratory, preparation with high reproducibility is necessary. Both kinds of pre-
paration still have to be developed.
2.9.3 Applications for Microstructured Fibers
Microstructured fibers allow a number of applications since their characteristics
can be adapted to wide areas as desired because of the additional degree of free-
dom in design and production. For example, waveguide characteristics such as
chromatic dispersion and its slope can be adjusted as well as the mode field dia-
meter. Other materials or fluids can be introduced into the fiber through the holes
running along the fiber. These materials can change the propagation charac-
teristics through which tunable components or sensors are made possible. Some
possible applications for microstructured fibers are subsequently described. This
list does not make any claim to being complete, but is solely intended to present
the best-known applications as well as the commercial applications available
today.
2.9.3.1 Dispersion Compensation
The first applications for microstructured glass fibers were the compensation for
dispersion or its slope respectively. Because of the additional possibilities for fiber
design, selection of the number of holes, their size and distance from one another,
wavelength-dependent effects in particular such as chromatic dispersion can be
adjusted very well. As already described above, the holes have weaker wave gui-
ding at small wavelengths because the light can enter the bridges between the
holes. This causes a different kind of wave guiding so that the fiber behaves as if it
had another fiber parameter. By skillfully selecting the diameter of the holes and
their spacing, the dispersion and higher orders can be adjusted very well. Disper-
sion-compensating microstructured glass fibers are commercially available today.
2.9.3.2 Endlessly Singlemode
Microstructured fibers also allow applications which are not possible with conven-
tional fibers. Such an application are the so-called endlessly singlemode fibers
which have one mode in the entire wavelength spectrum and do not have a cut-off
frequency. This characteristic can come about when the wave guiding changes
with the wavelength.
In step index fibers the existence of one mode is clearly determined by the fiber
parameter V which is proportional to the core diameter, the numerical aperture
and the reciprocal value of the wavelength used. Thick fibers with large numerical
apertures are characterized by a large fiber parameter V. Fibers are only guide
226 2.9 Microstructured Fibers
only one mode for V < 2.405, the first zero of the Bessel function of zeroth order.
If the wavelength selected is large enough then V will become small enough at
some point so that the fiber becomes singlemode. In microstructured fibers the
fiber parameter is not simply anti-proportional to the wavelength since the holes in
the cladding area act differently with large wavelengths than with small ones
leading to a wavelength-dependent numerical aperture so that fibers can be pro-
duced which are singlemode for all wavelengths ([Bir97], [Mor03b] and [Zag04]).
2.9.3.3 Birefringence
Since microstructured fibers are not rotation-symmetrical such as conventional fi-
bers with a refractive index profile, for example, they tend to be birefringent.
Typical hexagonal structures do not exhibit any birefringence. However, when this
symmetry is disrupted, e.g. through production tolerances, then these fibers are
birefringent.
This effect is used positively in some fibers, whereby the high birefringence
causes the fibers to retain their polarization ([Ort04]). In the case of very great
differences between the propagation constants of both polarizations they can then
only very weakly interact with each other and exchange power. When only one
polarization is launched into the fiber, then the power in this polarization is
retained and is propagated in this way to the end of the fiber.
Fig. 2.249: High birefringent MPOF by incorporated asymmetry ([Issa04b])
The effect of birefringence can be generated in microstructured fibers in two
ways: either the holes are arranged asymmetrically so that a geometric birefrin-
2.9 Microstructured Fibers 227
gence occurs which can be created in a controlled and thermally stable manner, or
the holes are elliptical and not round which contributes to the birefringence
([Issa04b]). It is more difficult to control this kind of birefringence, but it does
allow complete freedom of fiber design because the arrangement of the holes and
their size can be freely chosen.
2.9.3.4 Highly Nonlinear Fibers
The nonlinear characteristics of fibers are influenced on the one hand by the
nonlinearity of the material and on the other by the level of confinement which is
described by the so-called effective mode area. With very strong wave guiding,
light is guided into the center of the core and the optical power can propagate in
the area of the core-cladding interface layer or even in the cladding. Here the light
is strongly concentrated in a small area of the core which results in very high
intensities with the same power which can lead to nonlinear behavior within the
fiber. Such strong wave guiding can only be attained by means of big differences
in the refractive index between the core and cladding.
In conventional fibers the differences in refractive index are in the range of a
few percentage points. Microstructured fibers on the other hand consist of areas of
glass with a refractive index of about n
glass
~ 1.5 and holes, which are generally of
air (n
air
~ 1). The very high confinement can be achieved by this very high contrast
in refractive index.
In fibers based on this effective refractive index, the cladding has to have a very
high air fraction. The proportion of air in relation to the entire volume has to be so
high that the effective refractive index lies near the value for air. Fibers with effec-
tive area up to A
eff
~ 2.85 μm
2
have been realized using this process ([Lee02]).
In addition, other materials such as Bi
2
O
3
can be used which have a highly non-
linear susceptibility Ȥ
3.
With such materials nonlinear parameters of
Ȗ = 1100 W
-1
km
-1
can be produced ([Lee06c]).
2.9.3.5 Control of the Effective Area
Fibers with a particularly high nonlinearity are needed for all optical signal pro-
cessing. There are, however, a number of applications in which the nonlinear
effects should be particularly weak so that the light propagation in such fibers is
not disrupted. In such fibers the opposite path is taken as with highly nonlinear
fibers: the material used should be as slightly nonlinear as possible and the effec-
tive area of the fiber should be as large as possible so that the intensity within the
fiber remains low at the given luminous efficiency. Even if the difference in
refractive index between the core material and the holes continues to remain large
you can still see to it through skillful fiber design that the light is guided relatively
weakly and the mode field takes up as large an area as possible.
In general, these fibers have a very low air-fill factor so that the effective refrac-
tive index in the cladding area lies only slightly below that of the core. Fibers with
effective areas of A
eff
~ 100 μm
2
have been presented by [Kim06c] and [Sai06].
228 2.9 Microstructured Fibers
This technique can also be used for controlling the form of the mode field in
order to adapt it to other types of fibers and thus minimize coupling losses at the
connector. For example, Furukawa introduced such fibers at the ECOC in 2004
([Guan04]) the mode fields of which are adapted to standard singlemode fibers.
2.9.3.6 Filters
Microstructured fibers can show very strong wavelength-dependent effects. As
described above, the dispersion can be adapted to a wide area, but other wave-
length-dependent characteristics can be specifically designed, e.g. group velocity
or even the attenuation per unit length of the fiber.
Fibers with an effective refractive index permit the relatively simple adaptation
of the group velocity with which one can generate all-pass filters with specific
phase responses.
Fibers based on a photonic band gap can have very sharply delimited wave-
length ranges with which light is guided. Thus, filters with specific amplitude
response and sharp edges can be produced ([Vill03], [Kim05c], [Kim06d] and
[Sai05]).
2.9.3.7 Sensor Technology, Tunable Elements
The characteristics of microstructured fibers can be manipulated in many ways. In
particular materials can be introduced into the holes along the fiber which can
change the characteristics of the microstructured fiber through their different re-
fractive indices. These materials can be gases or liquids which are guided through
the fiber and can alter the characteristics when the composition is changed
([Car06b]).
With such methods you can also analyze liquids such as blood in the human
body. Polymer fibers are especially attractive for this kind of application because
glass can split and would thus be considered too dangerous in the human body.
You can also intentionally change the characteristics by means of the controlled
introduction of liquids. Thus, sensors have been introduced which are based exact-
ly on this phenomenon, e.g. a liquid is pushed into the capillaries in the cladding
area when the temperature rises, thereby changing the propagation characteristics
of the fiber ([Jen05]).
Consequently, the dispersion ([Gun06]) or the band gap ([Sun06]) can be
adjusted to a lesser or greater extent by introducing liquids.
Pressure sensors represent another application. Since the geometry of the holes
has a great influence on the fiber’s propagation characteristics, lateral pressures
can have a very noticeable effect on its behavior ([Eij03b]).
Especially fibers based on a photonic band gap react very sensitively to
changes in the geometry. As a result, microstructured fibers can be produced
which work like filters, the passband of which is changed when pressure is
exerted.
2.9 Microstructured Fibers 229
2.9.3.8 Double-Core and Multi-Core Fibers
Most microstructured fibers consist of a cladding area in which the holes are
arranged symmetrically or asymmetrically. In fibers based on an effective refrac-
tive index the core consists of an area in which a hole has been left out of the
arrangement. The core is thus a kind of imperfection within the photonic crystal.
In this way two or more cores can be produced by introducing two or more imper-
fections within the cladding area in which the light can propagate instead of
having just one hole in the middle. Each individual location where a hole has been
left out and the core material exists can be viewed as a separate fiber in which
light can be propagated. If the individual cores are placed far enough apart, they
either do not influence each other at all or only slightly.
Such fibers with several cores can be used for parallel data transmission
([Eij06a]). The arrangement of the individual cores is retained and so these fibers
can be used like a well-ordered fiber bundle. However, these fibers have a consi-
derably smaller diameter and can be laid like individual fibers ([Eij03b] and
Fig. 2.250: Double core-MPOF with 9.6 μm spacing between the cores ([Eij03b])
2.9.3.9 Imaging
As we have seen above, microstructured fibers can be produced with more than
one core for parallel data transmission. If you continue to increase the number of
cores, you can use the same method to produce image guides in which every indi-
vidual core transmits a part of the image (a pixel). As mentioned above, the
arrangement of the holes stays the same and the cores along the fiber are retained.
Each individual pixel reaches the end of the fiber in its definite position so that the
image is retained ([Eij04c]).
230 2.9 Microstructured Fibers
Fig. 2.251: Image guide-MPOF ([Eij04c])
The fibers introduced so far are relatively thin singlemode fibers. In addition to
these fibers, graded index multimode fibers made of polymer have also been deve-
loped, so-called GI-MPOF ([Kle03b] and [Eij04d]), which have the large core dia-
meter of a polymer fiber and the effective graded index profile of a multimode
glass fiber (see Fig. 2.252).
Fig. 2.252: Schematic cross section of a GI-MPOF ([Kle04b] and [Lwin06])
2.9 Microstructured Fibers 231
Polymer fibers offer a number of advantages, especially with fibers having
large core diameters compared to glass fibers (these advantages are also valid for
other types of fibers). These considerably larger core diameters are possible with-
out the fiber becoming inflexible. For this reason graded index polymer fibers
have been produced for some years now which attain core diameters into the milli-
meter range. However, these fibers have a refractive index profile in the core
which has been adjusted through doping and they are quite difficult to produce
when the core diameters are very large. Another advantage of these microstruc-
tured fibers is the lack of doping material which results in these fibers having very
good thermal and aging stability of the profile. Graded index profile polymer
fibers which already exist are not particularly thermo-stable. With aging and
especially in combination with increased temperatures they exhibit a flattening of
the profile through diffusion of the doping material. This leads to an alignment of
the concentrations of the doping materials resulting in a leveling out of the profile.
Fig. 2.253: Cross section of a graded index profile multimode polymer fiber (GI-MPOF)
with 135 μm core- and 520 μm outer diameter ([Eij04d]) and of a MPOF
according to [Lwin06]
Figure 2.253 shows a multimode fiber in which the effective refractive index
continuously decreases with increasing distance to the fiber axis. If you take an
average of the entire circumference of the refractive index, then you have a para-
bolic refractive index profile in the radius direction. Measurements have shown
that these fibers have a similar propagation behavior as a conventional multimode
fiber. However, the differences lie in the detail. If you stimulate the GI-MPOF
with a small spot, for example, the fiber behaves differently, depending on
whether or not the light hits a hole or the core material; something that cannot
happen in conventional fibers. For this reason greater research and development in
measurement techniques and characterization are necessary before the GI-MPOF
is widely used in commercial applications.

38

2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers

The profile of the refractive index in the core and in the cladding is expressed as follows:
n(r ) n(r ) ncore ncladding for r for r a a

where a is the core radius. The individual rays cover different distances, so that there are considerable differences in their respective transit times. Choosing a fiber with a graded-index profile can minimize these differences. Fibers with a graded-index profile are made up of a core having a radius-dependent refractive index and a cladding with a constant refractive index (Fig. 2.2):
n(r )² n(r ) ncore, max ² ncladding 1 r a
g

for r for r

a a

where

g is the profile exponent and is the relative refractive index difference:
ncore 2 ncladding 2 2 ncore 2

a

r

-a refractive index n(r)
Fig. 2.2: Principle of a fiber with a graded-index profile

Those rays propagating in the center travel a shorter distance, but because of the higher refractive index there, they travel at a lower speed. On the other hand, the smaller refractive index near the cladding causes the rays traveling there to have a higher velocity, but they have a longer distance to travel. By choosing a suitable profile exponent it is possible to compensate for these differences in transit time. For negligible chromatic dispersion the ideal profile exponent is 2. One then speaks of a parabolic index profile.

2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers

39

2.1.2 Numerical Aperture When light enters the fiber's input face at an angle max, it is refracted at an angle max (Fig. 2.3). Applying the law of refraction we have:
n0 sin n0 sin n0 sin n0 sin
max max max max

ncore sin ncore cos ncore ncore

max max

ncore sin(90 -

max )

1 - sin2

max

2

2

sin2

max

n0 sin sin

max max

1 follows

The sine of the maximum incident-ray angle max is defined as the numerical aperture AN (Fig. 2.3). The angle max is referred to as the acceptance angle, and twice the acceptance angle is referred to as the aperture angle. Using the relative refractive index difference , the value for AN is obtained as:
AN sin
max

ncore

2

n0
max max max

Fig. 2.3: Definition of the acceptance angle

Thus, the value of the numerical aperture (NA) is solely dependent on the difference in the refractive indices of the core/cladding material. Example: The refractive indices of a standard PMMA fiber are ncore = 1.49 and ncladding = 1.40; we thus obtain AN = 0.50 and max = 30 .

Whereas the numerical aperture of the step-index profile fiber remains constant over the entire core, the graded-index profile fiber exhibits a decreasing acceptance angle from the center of the core to the cladding (Fig. 2.4).

2.6 shows the projection onto the fiber's incident face. The specification of the numerical aperture always refers to the meridional rays. light propagates on a sinusoidal trajectory that is created within the graded-index profile through refraction. POF has the largest numerical aperture and the largest core diameter.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers Fig.5/ 125 μm (plastic clad) 200/ 230 μm 100/ 140 μm 0 mm 0.5: Aperture angle and core diameter of glass fibers and polymer fibers 2. in the graded-index profile fiber. This is one of the most important advantages of POF. 2. 2. . Step and graded-index profile fibers show the same behavior. light propagates along a zigzag path. If the incident light rays lie within one and the same plane through which the fiber axis runs. In all other cases.40 2. singlemode glass fiber 10/ 125 μm multimode glass fiber 50/ 125 μm polymer fiber 980/ 1000 μm multimode glass fiber 62.4: Acceptance angle of a graded-index profile fiber Compared with other fiber types (Fig.3 Ray Trajectory in Optical Fibers In the step index profile fiber.5).5 mm 1. being totally reflected at the core/cladding interface. skew rays are formed.1. since the connection technology that can be used for POF is more economical to apply than that used for glass fibers. meridional rays are formed. Figure 2.0 mm Fig.

the projection onto the crosssectional area resembles a polygonal line so that these rays do not cross a circleshaped area having a radius rk around of the axis.8 right).8 left) that may under certain circumstances form circles. ellipses are formed in the projection (Fig.6: Meridional rays Skew rays form an angle of < 90 with the tangential plane at the core/cladding interface (Fig. 2. rk Fig. 2. They never cross the fiber axis and propagate along screw-like paths. 2.8: Helical rays (left) and skew rays (right) in graded-index profile fibers . these rays are called helical rays (Fig.7). 2.2. Their distance from the fiber axis is always constant. 2. 2.7: Skew rays in step index profile fibers In graded-index fibers with a parabolic profile.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 41 ’ ’ ’ ’ Fig. Fig. For step index profile fibers.

9: Formation of the mode structure within the waveguide Whereas the zigzag paths would lead to intensity distributions within the rayoptical model that would change depending on the length of the fibers. Ref. The spacing is /ncore.9 illustrates this situation: in order for light to propagate in a particular direction. the wave model provides a constant light-dark distribution that is independent of the length across the waveguide's cross-section. /ncore transverse direction d electrical field Fig. a is the radius and g is the profile exponent (see also Section 1. Figure 2. [Blu98] provides a detailed description. a wave must constructively overlap itself with its own reflecting wave in such a way that the phase position is repeated after double reflection. However. If we apply this concept to the ray model. to obtain a complete description of the wave guiding phenomenon.42 2. This results in a value of N ½ · V² for the number of modes. The black lines perpendicular to the direction of propagation identify the planes with the same phase angle. this means that apparently not all incidental rays for which < max is true can propagate. The number N of the guided modes is approximately described by: N 1 g V2 2 g 2 where V = 2 a AN/ . These field distributions are referred to as modes of the waveguide. The solutions to the Eigenvalue equations are a finite number of field distributions within the light waveguide. For parabolic profiles g = 2 and thus N ¼ · V². the wave properties of light must also be considered.1.5).4. The goal is to calculate the electric field and intensity distribution of the light in the optical fiber. The Eigenvalue equation is derived and solved on the basis of the Maxwell equations.1.1 The Mode Concept The phenomena of refraction and reflection discussed so far can be graphically explained with the help of geometrical optics. but rather only those rays that have a particular angle.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 2. A polymer op- . 2. For step-index profiles g .4 Modes in Optical Fibers 2.1. whereby the size of the wavelength and the diameter of the finite ray are not considered ( and dray= 0).

44 2. then a light ray launched into an ideal fiber would always propagate at the same angle relative to the fiber axis.2 Mode Propagation in Real Fibers Several chapters of this book discuss the special characteristics of light propagation in POF.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers P Fig. different locations along the fiber would . With a divergent light source.12: The different types of rays 2. If the ray model were applied consistently.13 illustrates: depending on the course of the ray. This would not be true for the near field. the right diagram shows the angle . as Fig. the far field would always remain constant along the length of the fiber. 2. 2. Here now. 2. the processes that need to be considered will be looked at as a whole. which is obtained by projecting the skew ray on to the cross-sectional plane 0 [°] 10 20 30 40 50 meridional 60 rays 70 80 90 0 10 max max inside this triangle there are the radiation rays inside this triangle there are the guided rays inside this rectangle there are the leaky modes 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 [°] 20 Fig.11: Designation of the angles of a skew ray.1. The function of fibers as a waveguide for passing on light by means of total reflection at the core/cladding interface has already been discussed.4.

an altered behavior of the fiber is on average the result. Depending on the light sources at the front end of the fiber. and from a certain length onwards the intensity does not change at all. In order to be able to describe experimental results it is thus necessary to move on to the mode concept. not all these modes are launched.2. only a few launched discrete modes nearfield (very schematically) Fig.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 45 generate different near fields in the form of point structures. this contradicts the results obtained through experiments: there a continuous distribution of intensity is obtained. at least not with a uniform power distribution. In order to obtain truly realistic results. In addition. Uniform Mode Distribution (UMD) and Equilibrium Mode Distribution (EMD) are the usual standard measuring conditions. Although the ray model is very illustrative. Since each mode has different characteristics. Typical fiber characteristics will be defined and explained in the following sections. a sufficient number of rays has to be simulated.5 Parameters for Describing Real Fibers and Waveguides In order to describe the characteristics of real fibers and waveguides different parameters are defined which vary in importance depending on their respective application. its practical application is limited as the example above shows. All of these parameters are influenced by the propagation conditions of the different modes.1. However. In the case of multimode fibers most characteristics depend typically on the mode distribution. .13: Near fields under conditions of the ray model with only a few discrete light paths (in practice very difficult to measure and visible only on very short lengths) 2. This means that a fiber initially allows the propagation of light in different paths (modes). the problem becomes more complicated since an exchange of energy between the modes can occur over the length. In this respect it is important to keep in mind that many optical simulation programs work on the basis of discrete light rays. 2.

.5.15: Conversion of the power ratio PL/P0 in % into the dB value Very often there is not a clear differentiation in the technical literature between attenuation per unit length and attenuation factor a.46 2.19 illustrates the relationship between the attenuation value and the change in power as a percentage. Figure 1. The addition “spectral” refers to the wavelength dependence. it is usual to express attenuation logarithmically. attenuation factor a [dB] 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 0. When passing through an optical fiber of the length L. the power of the light decreases (Fig. ´ is the value of the attenuation coefficient in km-1.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 2. 2. however. The following equation applies to the optical power: PL P0 e L where PL and P0 are the power of the light after passage through a fiber of length L in km and at the front end of the fiber. 2.14).14: Definition of attenuation PL To make it easier to work with the numbers involved here.1 1 10 power ratio PL/P0 [%] 100 Fig. We still have to mention that attenuation and attenuation per unit length are practically always indicated as positive numbers.1. 10 P log 0 L PL 4. when the unit is indicated. Thus. 2.343 Attenuation value a is the non-dimensional variable (given as a number or in dB) obtained from the product · L. One often speaks simply of the attenuation of the fiber.1 Attenuation The most important process encountered by light as it passes through a fiber is attenuation. respectively. the attenuation coefficient is expressed as in dB/km. A mistake is avoided. P0 L Fig.

16: Attenuation spectrum of the PMMA-POF (theory and measured by [Hess04]) Nevertheless. the representation comprises approximately 3 decades.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 47 Quantity attenuation coefficient. For polycarbonate fibers with AN = 0. attenuation coefficient.000 1.000 30.2 Mode-Dependent Attenuation When talking about glass fibers. lin. for example. Fig. PMMA can also be used for waveguide structures in the mm range. 100. it is often assumed that the attenuation of all light rays is identical. the difference is even 21%. i.000 10. For this reason alone.50 this difference is about 6%. representing the absolute transmission.5.90. this assumption is sufficiently accurate. For the standard NA-POF with AN = 0.000 300 100 30 attenuation [dB/km] theory measured wavelength [nm] 10 500 600 700 800 900 1000 Fig. 2.000 which cannot be overlooked on a linear scale.16 shows the attenuation curve of a PMMA-POF according to [Hess04]. there is a considerably greater level of attenuation where large propagation . For practical purposes. log. With POF.000 3. indicating the fiber attenuations in dB is much more practical than. 2.e. 2. attenuation Symbol ´ Unit km -1 Formula {ln (P0/PL)}/L {10 log (P0/PL)}/L 10 log (P0/PL) dB/km a dB Especially in the area of optical short-range communication. a factor of 1.1. Finally. the path difference between the rays parallel to the axis and the propagation directions close to the critical angle of total reflection can become quite large.2. POFs are being used more and more in the near infrared range for quite short transmission lengths.

Since the light scattering in a PMMA-POF makes up a considerable part of the attenuation. scattering center Fig.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 49 Si02.5. 2. Accor- . An important consequence of the mode-dependent attenuation is. This can be explained by the fact that is it not possible to create an ideal surface in the sub-nanometer range when very large polymer molecules are involved. this process is always present. If light is introduced in all angle ranges.18 clarifies the procedure (still in the ray model). 2. 2. cladding core scattering center Fig. Figure 2. Thus.18: Mode coupling at a scattering center Many experimental results clearly indicate that mode coupling occurs predominately at the core/cladding interface (Fig.19: Mode coupling at the core/cladding interface Mode coupling alters the bandwidth of a fiber.2. energy is gradually transferred to the higher angle ranges so that mode dispersion increases and bandwidth decreases. When collimated light is launched. The germanium dopant in the core does not have any great influence. mode coupling is also dependent on the angle of propagation. for example at scattering centers.19). energy is exchanged between the angles so that the initially slower rays become “faster” and vice versa. so that maximum differential delays occur. a significantly narrower far field after greater fiber lengths than one would expect from the fiber NA.1. This can happen.3 Mode Coupling The term mode coupling refers to the process by which energy from one direction of propagation is transferred to several others. 2. as will be discussed later on.

Whenever there are changes in the light propagation.which indeed does not occur. the differential delay (or more precisely. Figure 2. If the observed behavior of the POF. It takes just one bend to make a different approach necessary. . The shorter the coupling length.1. 2003). Fig. namely the filling up of the near field after a few 10 cm of fiber.50 2. to perform a transformation onto the new reference axis. At the top right you can see the cracked core.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers ding to the laws of statistics. Mode coupling always results in additional attenuation. The marked smooth part running from the top left to the bottom right is the surface of the core with the cladding removed. the standard deviation) does not increase in a linear relationship to the length but approximately only proportional to the square root of the length.20: Photo of the core-cladding interface of SI-POF taken by electron microscope (ZWL Lauf) 2. however. Formally. Further theoretical considerations on the problems of scattering can be found in [Kru06a] and [Kru06b].21 demonstrates. this is theoretically and practically much too complex a process.4 Mode Conversion The definition of propagation angles or of modes actually applies only to waveguides that are straight. the larger the additional attenuation will be. light is thus transmitted from one propagation direction to another. 2. as Fig. 2. could be explained exclusively because of the mode coupling.20 shows an electron microscope picture of the core-cladding interface layer (photo ZWL. energy is coupled into those angle ranges in which there is no longer any light guiding. then additional attenuations in the range of 1000 dB/km would result . which for PMMA-POF is generally several 10 m. at the bend. This applies to lengths in excess of a characteristic coupling length. The most precise method would be to recalculate the modes for the system of the now bent fiber. The step is the 10 μm thick optical cladding. It is more appropriate to consider the zone before and after the bend as a straight waveguide and.5.

016) .2. The more the direction of the light is altered. 2.21: Mode conversion at a bend Strictly speaking. mode conversion can be described as a special case of mode coupling. The difference is that the number of modes or the propagation directions is not increased. In the POF mode conversion most likely occurs at the core/cladding interface surface.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 51 fiber axis in front of a bend fiber axis behind a bend new propagation angle Fig. launch with collimated light (AN Launch < 0. mode coupling should have a larger angle-independent contribution (scattering on larger inhomogenities). A quantitative analysis of these processes for POF is extremely difficult and is yet to be carried out.22: Far fields of different POF (product A/B at the top/bottom). the more losses occur. Fig. left/right after 20 m/50 m of fiber. for example at micro bends or at fluctuations in the refractive index difference. The question of the influence of mode conversion and coupling on the additional attenuation depends essentially on the angle dependency of the processes. However. 2. for the physical processes assumed.

1. 2.23 and 2. The best known is the description with the aid of a length-dependent bandwidth. Here the coupling length is the point at which the linear decrease in the bandwidth turns to a root dependency (see Fig. 2. It is easy to see here that the mode field is not completely filled even after 20 m to 50 m (Fig.22). values for the kilometric attenuation with different launch conditions are shown In Figures 2. however.52 2. but other parameters such as far field width and attenuation. to [Lub02b]) Both diagrams show very clearly that the different launch conditions (source I emits very widely. If collimated light is launched into a SI-POF. This experiment can only be explained under the assumption that mode conversion predominates. a ring-shaped far field can be generated at the output even after 50 m of fiber. 2.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers An impressive experiment that confirmed this statement was shown in [Poi00]. the different fibers made by different manufacturers show considerable differences in their behavior which do not necessarily have an effect on attenuation.24. the differences disappear for the most part through mode coupling. for which purpose the fiber might be properly bent. After some ten meters. For example. Evidently.36). source IV nearly collimated) lead to extremely different attenuation values. However.23: Attenuation of a SI fiber under different excitation (acc. change with fiber length. In practice this point is difficult to measure. there are great differences among the fiber types. .5. 400 350 300 250 200 150 100 [dB/km] fiber “A” source “I” source “II” source “III” source “IV” lPOF [m] 50 1 2 5 10 20 50 100 Fig.5 Mode Coupling Lengths The length of a fiber in which a state of equilibrium arises through mode conversion and coupling is described as coupling length whereby different definitions exist. 2.

2. 32 30 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 far field width [°] NALaunch: 0. Once again it can clearly be seen how the differences caused by the different coupling conditions are evened out after some 10 to 100 m.05 PMMA SI-POF POF length [m] 5 20 50 100 Fig.26 show measurements of far field widths for a POF and a PCS each with altered launch conditions. The values of the NA (calculated from the 5% far field width) are represented for lengths up to 500 m.24: Attenuation of another SI-fiber at different launch conditions The next two figures 2.2. .25 and 2.33 0.19 0.64 0.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 53 400 350 300 250 200 150 100 [dB/km] fiber “B” source “I” source “II” source “III” source “IV” lPOF [m] 50 1 2 5 10 20 50 100 Fig.09 0.25: Launch dependent far field widths of a PMMA SI-POF In the 200 μm thick PCS it takes considerably longer to establish the equilibrium mode distribution especially when the length is related to the fiber diameter. 2.48 0.

15 0.10 measured NA AN = 0.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 0.17 AN = 0. several coupling lengths have to be considered.30 0.u.40 0.48 fiber length [m] 1 10 100 1000 Fig.] 600 500 400 300 200 100 10 equilibrium mode value 20 50 100 200 500 1000 fiber lenght [m] parameter deviation for short fibers characteristic at Lc = 100 m parameter deviation for 1.35 0.26 AN = 0. 2.27: Approximation of an optical parameter to the equilibrium value by mode coupling (schematically) .09 AN = 0. mode dependent fiber parameter [a.34 AN = 0. 2. the mode coupling length is characterized as the distance in which a parameter has come closer by 1/e to the state of equilibrium. this corresponds to the charging time constants of a capacitor.27 shows the theoretical curve of a parameter.25 0. Figure 2.54 2. One cannot therefore say that EMD conditions exist after one coupling length. Depending on how large the tolerated deviations are. 2 und 3 Lc Fig. For example.20 0.26: Excitation dependent far field width of a 200 μm-PCS In general.02 AN = 0.

are provided with varying concentrations of a dopant or a copolymer so that the attenuation usually gets a gradient.1. can we establish a model for the light propagation of SI polymer fibers that can at least qualitatively describe the experimentally observed behavior.2. Fluorinated GI-POF are used in wavelength ranges in which Rayleigh scattering is less significant. [Yab00b]. [Arr99]. This makes the fiber a low-pass filter.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 55 2. mode-dependent attenuation. Bandwidths could result that are larger than what is theoretically expected. as seen from the axis. mode coupling and mode conversion and take leak modes into account.5. it should be noted here again that light rays that lie above the critical angle of the total reflection do not entirely vanish but still contribute significantly to light propagation even after several 10s of meters. [Arr00]. For the sake of completeness. the same processes take place in GI-POF.1. Less attenuating cladding would reduce the overall attenuation of the POF. there is no core/cladding transition to serve as an essential cause for mode coupling. Yabre and Zubia made comprehensive observations on mode propagation in GI-POF [Yab00a]. In principle. To form the index profile. various zones of the fiber. and mode-dependent attenuation. but more than likely also reduce the bandwidth (always assuming equilibrium mode distribution). As the example of the multi-core fibers shows. Not until we examine the interaction of attenuation. and propagation path.7 Dispersion in Optical Fibers Dispersion refers initially to all processes that result in a difference in the transit times of various modes. polarization. One mode is thereby always a propagation condition of the light that is uniquely defined by the wavelength. Some different theoretical investigations were made in cooperation between the POF-AC and the University of Bilbao (Spain). Differential delays between the various light components lead to a reduction in the modulation amplitude of higher frequencies. it would be possible to increase the bit rate though multi-level coding or by electrically compensating the dispersion so that a reduction in attenuation is the minimum goal to be targeted in this field. mode-dependent attenuation can be used to exchange attenuation for bandwidth. mode conversion. 2. The future will decide which parameter is of greater significance for users. . The problem of mode coupling and mode conversion is sure to be very interesting for multi step index fibers. If the transmission budget is sufficiently large.5. More details will be given in the fiber simulation chapter. however there are basic differences: With GI-POF.6 Leaky Modes The significance of leaky modes has already been touched upon earlier. This is probably the most significant cause of mode-dependent attenuation in GI-POF.

To measure the shape of the complete output signal.28 illustrates the process schematically. the input signal can be split into a series of pulses. as shown in Fig.f 2 f0 where P(f) is the power of a random frequency f at the end of the measuring path. this is a convolution of the input pulse with the so-called pulse response of the transmission link). Strictly speaking this approach only applies to a Gaussian low-pass filter. 'd'). . 2. Figure 2. These have to be brought together again to achieve the result in curve 'e' (mathematically speaking.to + .56 2. This is a theoretical borderline case because the Gaussian function extends from . but the output pulse cannot begin before the input pulse has started. This means that a pulse of insignificant width will correspond to the Gauss function after it has traveled the length of the fiber: P( f ) P0 ( f ) e 2 .1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers The bandwidth of a fiber communication transmission system is usually considered to be the frequency for which the optical level of a sine-modulated signal has dropped by 3 dB. P0(f) is the launched power and f0 is a constant that describes the bandwidth. Figure 'b' shows how a single pulse approaching a Gaussian function after traveling through the fiber. After traveling through the fiber. a) P0(f) b) pulse response c) d) e) P(f) time t Fig.28: Effect of dispersion on a sine-wave signal Curve 'a' shows the sine-modulated source optical signal (it must be noted that optical power can only take positive values). every pulse forms a Gaussian function of the respective height (Fig. 'c'.

A short light pulse is briefly broadened when it travels the length of a fiber (Fig. For multimode fibers it is necessary to consider the factors of material. whereas the wavelength-dependent processes are marked in green. the result of the pulse broadening t is the square root of the difference of the squares of the input and output pulse width (FWHM full width at half maximum): t 2 t out 2 t in The consequence of this broadening is that the time gap between the bits becomes smaller.29) and this in turn reduces the transmission bandwidth. 2. 2.44 L t Pulse broadening is caused by mode dispersion and chromatic dispersion. 2. that the pulses finally overlap and that the receiver can no longer differentiate between the two. optical input power optical output power 100 % 50 % 100 % optical fiber time tin Fig. Attenuation of the light has not been taken into consideration.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 57 It is easy to see that the amplitude of the signal has decreased.30.2. The mechanisms dependent on the propagation paths are marked in yellow. whereas profile dispersion and mode dispersion do not. The product of bandwidth and length characterizes the transmission capacity of a fiber. The transmission bandwidth is limited as the light waveguide functions as a low-pass filter. modes and profile dispersion (in graded index fibers). [Gla97] applies to Gaussianshaped pulses: B L 0. All the kinds of dispersion appearing in optical fibers are summarized in Fig.29: Pulse broadening by passing an optical fiber 50 % time tout If Gaussian-shaped pulses are assumed. Waveguide dispersion additionally occurs in singlemode fibers. .

8 Mode Dispersion Since the light paths have different lengths.31: Deriving the difference in the transit time .30: Dispersion mechanisms in optical fibers waveguide dispersion (singlemode fibers) In regard to the fibers and applications dealt with in this book only mode and chromatic (material) dispersion play a role so that the following sections deal solely with these two effects.1. 2.5. ncladding max max L2 a 2 1 L1 ncore Fig. Figure 1.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers dispersion modal dispersion (multimode fibers) chromatic dispersion (multimode and singlemode fibers) profile dispersion (multimode fibers) material dispersion (multimode and singlemode fibers) polarization mode dispersion (singlemode fibers) Fig. a fact that leads to pulse broadening. 2. the pulses that have started simultaneously arrive at different times at the fiber's output.58 2. 2.29 shows the 'fastest' ( = 0) and the 'slowest' ( = max) rays.

a value of 15 MHz results for the bandwidth.25 0. 2.e.55 0. will remain constant over the entire length of the sample (no modal coupling or conversion). i. From the above-mentioned expression B 0.44/ tmod. a differential delay of t 25 ns for 100 m is produced. theoretical bandwidth [MHz] 1.2.32 shows the dependence of the bandwidth on the numerical aperture with which the light is launched.32: Bandwidth calculated as a function of the launch NA .35 0. the angular distribution of the light in the fiber.50. The transit time is proportional to the square of the NA.30 0.45 0.50 0.15 0.60 numerical aperture Fig.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 59 The propagation times of the two different propagation paths are determined purely geometrically for: t1 t2 L1 L2 ncore c ncore c L1 ncore 1 c sin max ncore c ncore 2 L1 ncore c ncladding t mod t2 t1 L1 ncladding ncladding L1 ncore c L1 2 AN 2 c ncladding Figure 2.20 0.10 0. The assumption is that the far field.000 500 200 100 50 fiberlength: 10 m 25 m 20 50 m 75 m 100 m 10 0.40 0. For a PMMA standard fiber with an AN = 0.

11).19: 10 MHz 14 MHz 22 MHz 40 MHz 57 MHz 97 MHz 100 m 100 m 100 m 100 m 100 m 100 m To correctly calculate the theoretical bandwidth.492 for the core and 1.44 B = 33 MHz Different NA lead to different bandwidths.976 = 77. please refer to Fig.30: AN = 0.40: AN = 0.492: t = 12. the relationship between both paths y and z is: z = y/sin ( ) = y 1. angle cannot exceed a particular maximum value so that a maximum possible differential delay is the consequence. Figure 2. it can be seen that paths having a larger propagation angle are more probable than rays traveling parallel to the axis.5 = (1.33 is an illustration from [Bun99a] of the zone of the guided rays and the leaky rays which themselves are again subdivided.5 = 0. only angle is of relevance. 2. 1. If one assumes that all possible propagation paths have the same energy (UMD .50: AN = 0.492 (max.456 for the cladding): 1.0247 The NA of this fiber is determined by: AN = (ncore2 .uniform mode distribution). n = 1.4922 -1.60 2.3 ns With the approximation B · t = 0. In the ray model. angle: t2 = L · n/c0 · 1. As far as transit time is concerned.25: AN = 0. it is just not sufficient to consider the two possible ray paths selected here.4562) 0. angle to axis : max 12. Only the marked triangle contains not attenuated rays that are capable of propagation. each possible propagation direction is described by the two angles and (for an explanation of these angles. Regardless of the size of .1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers The critical angle max of total reflection is determined by the ratio of both refractive indices (example.0247 For example for 100 m. whereby a doubling of the NA reduces the bandwidth to a quarter: Theoretical bandwidth: AN = 0.6 ) = arcsin Thus.0247 Differential delay: t = L · n/c0 · 0. .4 1. A very comprehensive description of mode propagation in POF is provided in [Bun99a].456 = arcsin 0.60: AN = 0.ncladding2) 0.32 The pulse broadening for a fiber length L is derived as follows: Transit time of the parallel-axis modes: t1 = L · n/c0 Transit time of the modes with max.

measured in a sufficient large distance) of a POF shows. 2.34. this is also reflected in the greater power obtained with larger angles. 20 m. If a short pulse having a mode distribution that corresponding to UMD is launched into the fiber input. 2. If the power is expressed in relation to the solid angle element.8 0. This is shown schematically in Fig. . 2.6 0.33: Possible rays in an optical fiber As measurements of the far field (that is the power as a function of the angle to the fiber axis. power/solid angle UMD angle to the 30 fiber axis [°] The differential delay increases approximately by the square of the angle relative to the fiber axis. Figure 2.2 0. 50 m. 1.0 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 Fig. a constant power density is found because larger angles cover a correspondingly larger arc. an approximately rectangular pulse is generated at the output of the length of which corresponds to the approximate values shown above for the maximum differential delay.2.4 0.34: Power distribution with UMD rel. and 100 m of ideal POF (from [Bun99a]).1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 61 70 meridional rays 75 80 85 90 0 max guided rays 5 10 15 20 Fig.0 0.35 demonstrates the precise results for an assumed attenuation-free standard NA POF for the pulse form obtained after 10 m.

It is typically between 0. 2.7. The following holds true: t t L L for L for L Lc Lc with 1 whereby the exponent must be determined for each fiber. 2.5 pulse broadening [a.] l l in reality Lc 0. the increase is sub-linear (Fig.62 2.5 2. The main reason for this is the presence of mode-dependent attenuation in conjunction with mode mixing.36).U. signal 10 m 20 m 50 m 100 m time [ns] 0% 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Fig. 2. as will be shown in the next chapter.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% norm. The differential delay t increases proportionally to a particular length Lc (coupling length).0 1.0 0 20 40 60 80 length [m] 100 120 140 160 180 200 Fig.5 1.0 0.36: Schematically representation of the pulse broadening reflecting mode coupling effects .5 and 0. 2.35: Output pulses of a POF under UMD conditions ([Bun99a]) Real SI-POF provide considerably higher bandwidths. The coupling length Lc ranges between 30 m and 40 m for standard SI-POF. for longer lengths.

[Yab00b] and [Arr99]. It is in this range that the higher modes lie which are attenuated very greatly by the mode-dependent losses.1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 63 The impulse response of a 50 m long standard POF can be seen in Fig. for a typical graded-index POF this means a reduction by approximately 2 orders of magnitude [Blu98].1 0. Profile dispersion occurs in graded-index profile fibers.e.2 0.37. .5 0. Mode dispersion or profile dispersion can only be avoided by using singlemode fibers. The half-value width of the impulse amounts to about 50 ns.2. a factor /2-reduced broadening of the pulse as compared with step index POF.6 0. due to the combination with the chromatic dispersion. Current studies in this field can be found in [Yab00a].7 U [V] 0. 2. 2. The dropping off of the rising edge can be explained by the effect of modal mixing. As explained later on. only about 30% of the expected value. have some advantages as opposed to silica glass fibers.0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 t [ns] theoretical pulse shape = 16 ns = 5 ns Fig. Furthermore.4 0.37: Real pulse shape for 50 m St. certain polymer fibers. 0. i.-NA-POF Calculating the bandwidth of graded-index fibers is clearly more complex. It is the remainder of the mode dispersion that can no longer be compensated for and it depends on the relative refractive index difference . A profile exponent of g 2 causes a temporal broadening of: t prof L1 ncore c 2 2 . which in turn is wavelength-dependent.3 0. An optimization of the profile exponent can be accomplished for a certain wavelength for which d /d = 0. in other words. it is noticeable that the rear pulse edge drops more slowly.

1 Fundamentals of Optical Fibers 2. pulse broadening occurs due to material dispersion. even if only one mode is allowed to propagate.1. This includes the material-dispersion and waveguide-dispersion types of dispersion. Both effects also occur in singlemode fibers. using polymer fibers as an example. Waveguide dispersion is caused by the fact that light waves penetrate into the fiber cladding to various depths. this effect is only considered for singlemode fibers. Thus. depending on the wavelength of the light wave. material dispersion parameters usually given in ps/km nm Figure 2. The following applies for the pulse broadening tmax due to material dispersion: t mat L d² n c d ² L M where n( ): M( ): is the spectral width of the transmitter wavelength-dependent refractive index. Every light source has a spectral width > 0. output pulse t input pulse time length wavelength Fig. Since only a small portion of the light wave in higher modes of large diameter fibers spreads into the cladding.38 shows the influence of material dispersion on pulse broadening. .9 Chromatic Dispersion Chromatic dispersion describes the influence of the spectral width of a transmitter on a temporal broadening of the input pulse.38: Temporal broadening as a result of material dispersion The real influence of the chromatic dispersion from different polymer optical fibers to the system bandwidth will be shown in the next chapter which will contain detailed descriptions of the materials and fiber types.64 2.5. Corresponding to the material dispersion. the different speeds of the core and cladding parts result in pulse broadening. However. the longer wavelengths (red) propagate with a greater velocity than the shorter ones (blue). 2.

2.1. The core and cladding materials used determine the attenuation and chromatic dispersion. As already shown above. The refractive index profile determines the mode dispersion and the core diameter is also responsible for the number of modes. the first polymer optical fibers were pure step index profile fibers (SI-POF). Especially the core material and the index profile are at least recognizable from the name of the fiber. Figure 2.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers After the theoretical descriptions on the properties of optical fibers in the section on the fundamentals of light propagation and the observations indicated above on mode propagation and the essential characteristics of fibers this following section will deal with concrete. The last line is valid for wave guiding against air (n = 1). The next section shows the historical development especially in regard to the different POF variants. will be introduced using examples. Some typical values are shown in Table 2. This means that a simple optical cladding surrounds a homogenous core. 2.1. The following chapter deals especially with the bandwidth of thick optical fibers since this characteristic is particularly important and also it makes the greatest demands on measurement techniques.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers 65 2. Here an acceptance angle of 90° is valid since the NA exceeds the value of 1. ncore ncladd jacket optical cladding core jacket optical cladding Fig. For this reason a protective material is always included in the cable.1 Step Index Profile Fibers (SI) As was the case with silica glass fibers. Thereafter.2. In the following section the historical development of the different polymer fibers is summarized.2. different hybrid and glass fibers for short-range data transmission will also be introduced. as briefly mentioned in 1.6. The refractive index of the core was always taken as 1. the different index profiles. Three parameters are basically responsible for the actual properties of optical fibers. whereas the cladding has a correspondingly smaller refractive index. The POFs are dealt with in regard to their index profiles. the refractive index step determines the numerical aperture (NA) and thus the acceptance angle. Thereafter the important characteristics attenuation and bandwidth will be shown in a series of experimental results. First.39: Structure of a step index profile fiber .5. a designation method widely used in this book. available fibers.39 schematically represents the refractive index curve.

5 % 2. from a semi-conductor source.71 0.g.494 1.12 Acceptance Angle of the Fiber 6° 8° 11° 12° 15° 17° 20° 25° 30° 36° 45° 64° 90° A larger acceptance angle of the fiber simplifies the launching of light.40.0 % 33.470 1.7 % 4.50) Relative RefractiveIndex-Difference 0.19 0.0 % 2.8 % 8.13 0.460 1. a high NA reduces the losses associated with fiber bending.0 % 12.59 0.200 1.1: Relationship between relative refractive index difference and numerical aperture (core refractive index = 1.320 1. rays.30 0.478 1.26 0.380 1.66 2.000 Numerical Aperture 0.0 % 20. 2. as schematically illustrated in Fig.440 1.0 % 5.21 0.413 1.485 1.8 % 1.0 % 1. e. In addition. exceeding the critical angle of total reflection behind the bend launched light rays bend radius rays. 2.488 1.3 % Refractive Index of the Cladding 1.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers Table 2.42 0.4 % 0.50 0.497 1.35 0.10 0.90 1.22 % 0. guided behind the bend Fig.40: Loss at fiber bends .

2. This limits the bandwidth. POF with a reduced numerical aperture (low-NA POF) feature a bandwidth increased to approximately 100 MHz · 100 m because the NA has been reduced to approximately 0. the loss at coupling points increases if there is a gap between the abutting faces. [LC95]). In addition. A disadvantage of fibers with a large NA is the greater difference in time delay between the different light paths.65). The majority of the initially produced SI-POF had an NA of 0.2 The Step Index Fiber with Reduced NA (low-NA) However.30 to 0. For many years this was a completely satisfactory solution for most applications.50 (e. Some advantages of larger or smaller numerical apertures are listed in Table 2.20.2. when it became necessary to replace copper cables with polymer optical fiber to accomplish the transmission of ATM data rates of 155 Mbit/s (ATM: asynchronous transfer mode) over a distance of 50 m. The first low-NA POF was presented in 1995 by Mitsubishi .40 (sometimes 0. the effect of a change in angle for a certain amount of bending is not so significant so that the bending losses diminish. the propagation direction of each individual ray is changed relative to the axis of the fiber. Likewise. [Asa96]. In the mid-nineties all three important manufacturers developed the so-called low-NA POF. and this in turn leads to a greater level of mode dispersion. when coupling fibers to each other (at connectors) the loss due to angle errors is less significant when there is a large numerical aperture. 2. For fibers with a large NA. a higher bandwidth was required for the POF.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers 67 Due to the effects of bending. a part of the rays is always extracted because the rays exceed the angle of total reflection at the interface between core and cladding.2. [Esk97]. Silica glass fibers with polymer cladding have an NA in the range of 0. SI-POF with an NA around this value are nowadays generally called standard NA-POF or standard POF for short. The large refractive index difference between the materials that are used for the core and the cladding of polymer fibers allows significantly higher NA values. In the case of multi-mode fibers. Table 2.g. The bandwidth of such fibers is approximately 40 MHz for a 100 m long link (quoted as the bandwidth-length product 40 MHz · 100 m).2: Influence of higher NA to various fiber parameters Property of the Fiber bending sensitivity fiber coupled power connecting loss for fiber angular mismatch connecting loss for axial fiber gap connecting loss for fiber axis lateral gap bandwidth Behavior with increasing NA becomes smaller becomes higher becomes smaller becomes higher becomes higher becomes smaller Silica glass multi-mode fibers usually have an NA of approximately 0.30.

In this fiber many cores (19 to over 200) are put together in production in such a way that together they fill a round cross-section of 1 mm diameter.45 shows how the arrangement for fibers is changed for z = 1 to 5.4 The Multi-Core Step Index Optical Fiber (MC) As described above.70 2. since the cladding areas and the spaces between the fibers have to be accounted for. 5 μm). However. the individual fibers are all perfectly round and each has its own optical cladding.5 mm) and d the thickness of the optical cladding (e. The number N here indicates how many fibers lie next to each other over a diameter while n indicates the entire number of fibers. 2. First. see [Mun94]. . Only a certain share of the total cross-section of the bundle enters the cores guiding the light. this contradicts the requirements for easy handling and light launching. A PCS with a core diameter of 200 m and an AN = 0.2. Let us assume first of all that the individual cores are arranged in a hexagonal shape with N = 2z + 1 cores positioned next to each other.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers 2. for example.44: Schematically arrangement of cores in a MC-POF In the figure.g. a bending radius of 5 mm with very low bending losses. Asahi developed a multi-core fiber (MC-POF. for smaller and smaller individual cores the possibilities are more complex. R dm R dm r N=5 n = 19 N=1 Fig. Fibers with a smaller core diameter can solve this problem since the ratio to the fiber radius is larger for the same absolute bending radius.44 shows the parameters which mark the percentage of the filled-in area. 2. [Mun96] and [Koi96c]). While these sketches can give a clear definition of the number of fibers that can be arranged within a circular shape. R denotes the radius of the complete fiber (typically 0. Figure 2. The next Fig. the requirements of high bandwidth and low sensitivity to bending are difficult to accomplish together within one and the same fiber having a diameter of 1 mm. For the first five arrangements the number of individual fibers is calculated as follows: n = 3z2 + 3z + 1. As a compromise.37 permits. The arrangement at the bottom right shows one possible deviation.

The radius r results from the overall radius of the fiber (here always 500 μm).4 μm 17.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers 71 It follows that the individual radius r is: r = R/N = R/(2z + 1).4 μm 55.88 % 54.51 % 75.6 μm 45.00 % 75.5 μm 33.45: Possible circular arrangements of cores in a MC-POF In Table 2.3 μm 38.57 % 56.31 % 62.01 % 73.11 % 75.59 % 65.09 % 75.47 % 75. N=3 N=5 N=7 N=9 N=11 N´=11 Fig.36 % 59.73 % 37.3 μm 29.03 % 90.15 % 75. the number of individual cores is calculated from z. the fact that part of the cross-section is lost to the optical claddings (all uniformly 5 μm thick) is taken into account.3: Core cross area degree of coverage for MC fibers (ideal) z: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 14 N: 1 3 5 7 9 11 11´ 13 15 17 29 n: 1 7 19 37 61 91 85 127 169 217 631 r: 500 μm 167 μm 100 μm 71.2. When calculating parameter tb.82 % - .31 % 75.2 μm ta: 100. Parameter ta indicates what percentage of the total circular area is covered by the individual circles (for the hexagonal arrangement of an infinite number of circles a maximum of 90. 2. Table 2.3.5 μm 49.27 % 51.18 % 68.57 % 66.78 % 76. the degree of coverage of the circle area is calculated for the cases shown.69 % of the area can be covered).00 % 77. First.21 % 82.69 % tb: 98.

47: 37 core POF with deformed single cores (schematically) . use of the total cross area tb 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% 1 7 19 37 61 91 127 169 217 number of single cores dm = 5 μm dm = 10 μm dm = 20 μm dm = 30 μm Fig. It is easy to conclude that a smaller proportion of useable core area would lead to an increase in the losses encountered when connecting transmitters to. 2. the proportion of the overall covered area decreases with an increasing number of cores because the proportion of cladding area will become larger and larger. 2. 2. A certain minimum thickness of cladding is necessary for it to be able to fulfill its function and still be technologically feasible.46: Proportion of core area for different cladding thickness As can be expected.45.46 shows the proportion of core area tb as depending on the number of cores for four different thickness’ of the optical cladding. and fibers between each other. The four individual data points show the case of the optimized fiber arrangement with 85 individual cores in accordance with Fig. Fig. in which case the proportion of useable area will hardly exceed 70 %. Given a minimum thickness of the optical cladding between 5 μm and 10 μm.72 2. these considerations indicate that a maximum number of some 100 single cores should be used.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers Figure 2.

5. In lighting technology fiber glass bundles with a large NA are widely spread.48: Structure of a step index multi core fiber Since the bandwidth only depends on the NA for SI fibers. During the manufacturing process the fibers are placed together at higher temperatures which means that they change their shape and thus reduce the gaps between the fibers. Apparently. Data of available MC-POF and -GOF are grouped together later. The principle is the same as in the double-step index POF with an individual core. Figure 2. Glass fibers are also produced for use in many areas as fiber bundles.49.) In the meantime. shown as a crosssection through the diameter of the fiber.47 shows a schematic illustration of the cross-section of a fiber with 37 cores. Due to the smaller core diameters it was still possible to avoid an increase in bending sensitivity. the resulting deviations from the ideal round shape do not play a significant role in light propagation (the causes for this are not yet completely understood. an increase in bandwidth was achieved by reducing the index difference.2.2. too.2 discussing mode-selective attenuation mechanisms. (The lighting of the headlight outer ring at BMW via such a fiber bundle is wellknown.g. such fibers are also available for data communication ([Lub04b]). 2. Even better values were achieved with individual cores having a two-step optical cladding such as illustrated in Fig. However. . Figure 2. in [Tesh98].2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers 73 Practical experience shows that a better utilization of the area can be achieved. The index steps correspond to those of a standard POF. In this case a bundle with single cladding is completely surrounded by a second cladding material (“sea/islands” structure).1.5 The Double Step Index Multi-Core Fiber (DSI-MC) In the MC-POF. 2. some points worth discussing can be found in the chapter on light propagation in POF). the fact is that the measured values are actually significantly higher. it should be possible to measure values comparable to the standard POF.48 shows the refractive index profile of a MC-POF. 2. which has been explained in the chapter 2. ncore ncladding jacket cores jacket optical cladding optical cladding Fig. such as e.

2.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers

75

other out completely so that mode dispersion disappears. In reality, this is only possible in approximation. It is possible, however, to increase bandwidths by two to three orders of magnitude compared with the SI fiber.
step index profile fiber graded index profile fiber

n

n

When considering not only the pure mode dispersion but also chromatic dispersion, i.e. the dependence of the refractive index on the wavelength and spectral width of the source, an optimum index coefficient 'g' deviating from 2 is achieved. This has been the subject of comprehensive investigations by the research group around Prof. Koike ([Koi96a], [Koi96b], [Ish00], [Koi97a], [Koi96c], [Koi98] and [Ish98]). In [Ish00] and [Koi00] the significance of this effect is particularly pronounced (see also Chapter 2). Due to the smaller chromatic dispersion of fluorinated polymer compared with silica, the bandwidth of GI-POF theoretically achievable is significantly higher than that of multi-mode GI silica glass fibers. In particular, this bandwidth can be realized over a significantly greater range of wavelengths. This makes the PF-GI-POF interesting for wavelength multiplex systems. However, in this case the index profile must be maintained very accurately, a requirement for which no technical solution has as yet been provided. Another factor involved in the bandwidth of GI-POF is the high level of modedependent attenuation ([Yab00a]) compared to silica glass fibers. In this case modes with a large propagation angle are suppressed resulting in a greater bandwidth. An example is the simulation that was carried out in [Yab00a]: the bandwidth of a 200 m long PMMA-GI-POF increases from 1 GHz to over 4 GHz, taking into account the attenuation of higher modes. This is also confirmed in practical trials. Mode coupling is less significant for GI fibers than it is for SI fibers since the reflections at the core-cladding interface do not occur. 2.2.7 The Multi-Step Index Optical Fiber (MSI) Following the many technological problems experienced in the production of graded index fibers having an optimum index profile that remains stable for the duration of its service life, an attempt was made to approach the desired characteristics with the multi-step index profile fiber (MSI-POF). In this case the core consists of many layers (e.g. four to seven) that approach the required parabolic curve in a series of steps. Here a “merging” of these steps during the manufacturing process may even be desirable. A diagram of the structure is shown in Fig. 2.52.

76

2.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers

Fig. 2.52: Structure of a multi step index profile fiber

In this case light rays do not propagate along continually curved paths as in the GI-POF, but on multiple diffracted paths as demonstrated in Fig. 2.53. However, given a sufficient number of steps, the difference to the ideal GI profile is relatively small so that large bandwidths can nevertheless be achieved. MSI-POF were presented in 1999 by a Russian institute (Tver near Moscow [Lev99]) and by Mitsubishi (ESKA-MIU, see [Shi99]). In the meantime, other companies are producing such fibers which are often called GI fibers. These GI and MSI fibers are classified in the same class of standards, e.g. A4e.

n
Fig. 2.53: Light propagation in the MSI-POF

2.2.8 The Semi-Graded Index Profile Fibers (Semi-GI) A relatively new version of index profiles are fibers which have a gradient with a slightly varying index above the core cross section, but do have an optical cladding with a great index step as shown in Fig. 2.54 ([Sum00], [Sum03], [Ziem05f] and [Ziem06i]).

Fig. 2.54: Structure of a semi-graded index profile fiber

2.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers

77

At first sight this variety of fiber has enormous advantages. Light which propagates within the gradient is only subject to very little mode dispersion. If a ray of light has a greater propagation angle, e.g. after being bent, then it continues to be led to the core-cladding interface layer through total reflection. However, these rays do have a very much higher mode dispersion. Figure 2.55 shows how light spreads theoretically and what consequences this has for the pulse response.

input

output „GI“-modes „SI“-modes

t

Fig. 2.55: Light propagation in semi-graded-index profile fibers theoretically

In principle, two different groups of modes can be seen in the picture. The paths designated as GI modes do not touch the cladding and only show a very slight difference in propagation times. The shares designated as SI modes are completely reflected at the core-cladding interface layer. These light paths are also bent in the core, but the light path, now very much longer, can no longer be compensated for in the outer areas by the lower refractive index. With very high data rates the second mode group is drawn out so widely that it is presented solely as a kind of DC offset in the eye diagram. At the POF-AC a data rate of 1 Gbit/s was transmitted over 500 m of a GI PCS fiber with a PRBS signal ([Vin05a]). Data rates up to 3 Gbit/s could be attained with a small surface APD receiver ([Kos95]). In order to do justice to the complex behavior of the semi-GI POF, corresponding modulation formats should be selected. 2.2.9 An Overview of Index Profiles Figures 2.56 through 2.58 again show all index profiles described in an overview. Due to the wide range of possibilities offered in polymer chemistry further developments are certainly to be expected. For example, multi-core graded fibers, fibers with special cladding for a reduction of the losses at the core/cladding interface or to increase the bandwidth or even multi-core fibers with different individual cores are all conceivable. In the following figures POF variants are shown with typical parameters.

30 100 MHz 100 m Fig.g. MC-SI-POF e. 200 cores AN = 0.30 100 MHz 100 m DSI-POF AN = 0.20 2 GHz 100 m MSI-POF AN = 0.58: Polymer fibers with graded index and multi step index profile Graded index as well as multi-step index profile POF are commercially available today.19 400 MHz 100 m MC fibers are available from various manufacturers. . also announced the possibility of producing large amounts of GI POF in case of demand. 2. Lucent Technologies.57: POF with multiple cores and step index profile MC-DSI-POF e. 37 cores AN = 0. GI-POF AN = 0. 2. the prices are still significantly above expectations.78 2. (e. Asahi Glass introduced them into the market around 2001. [Mös04]) show the great potential in regard to the bit rates possible.2 Index Profiles and Types of Fibers SI-POF AN = 0.30 100 MHz 100 m Fig. later called OFS and trading under the name of Chromis Fiberoptics as of 2004 ([Whi04].g. However. further developments in this field can be expected in the future. 2. They are deployed in applications ranging from high data rates transmission systems through to optical image guides. Because of the short lengths produced.50 40 MHz 100 m Low-NA-POF AN = 0. Laboratory experiments and a series of practical installations in Japan and Europe. Most of the polymer optical fibers used in practical applications are of these types.30 500 MHz 100 m Fig.g. [Park05a]).56: POF with single core and step index profile Single-core fibers with diameters between 125 μm and 3 mm are available from different manufacturers at a reasonable price and in robust quality.

During the seventies it became possible to reduce losses nearly to the theoretical limit of approximately 125 dB/km at a wavelength of 650 nm.3 The Development of POF 79 In Europe. In many spheres of life we are being increasingly confronted with digital end user equipment. 15 dB/km for a wavelength of 1.1. 2. fibers by Nexans are manufactured in Lyon ([Gou04]).1 Looking back The first POF were manufactured by DuPont as early as the late sixties.2. Due to the incomplete purification of the monomer materials used. The duplex cable has external dimensions of approximately 3 by 5 mm.300 nm. The field of local computer networks was dominated by copper cables (either twisted-pair or coaxial) that were completely satisfactory for the typical data rates of up to 10 Mbit/s commonly used then. The MP3 format is leading to a revolution in music recording and distribution. whereby particular attention will be paid to the chronological sequence of the developments. All three fibers will consist of the fluorinated polymer material CYTOP®. attenuation was still in the vicinity of 1. The DVD (Digital Video Disc) and large hard disk drives could lead to the replacement of the analog video recorder within a few years. At that point in time glass fibers with losses significantly below 1 dB/km at 1.000 dB/km.3.3. There has also been significant progress in the manufacture of GI or MSI-POF respectively on a PMMA basis (see Section 2. The CD player has largely replaced analog sound carriers (vinyl records and cassettes).300 nm.550 nm were already available in large quantities and at low prices. Even today more digital television programs . There was hardly any demand for an optical medium for high data rates and small distances so that the development of the polymer optical fiber was slowed down for many years. 2. The lowest attenuation achieved to date is approx.4 supplements these observations with some types of multimode glass fibers which were not discussed in the first edition. Digital transmission systems with a high bit rate were then almost exclusively used in telecommunications for long-range transmissions. The core diameter of the LucinaTM Fiber by Asahi Glass is 120 μm with an AN = 0.3 The Development of Polymer Optical Fibers The following sections will describe the polymer fibers presented so far. During the nineties. A protective cladding made from PMMA and measuring 500 μm is placed around an area of fluorinated polymer outside the core profile. Section 2.300 nm/1. A significant indicator for this is the fact that at the beginning of the nineties the company Höchst stopped manufacturing polymer fibers altogether.28. after data communication for long-haul transmission had become completely digitalized. the development of digital systems for private users was commenced on a massive scale.4). The specified value is < 50 dB/km for 700 nm .

3 The Development of POF are available than analog programs. st.000 650 500 650 500 650 300 650 300 650 55 568 124 650 65 570 1000 110 570 150 650 NA Remarks st. st. navigation systems. Today the SI-POF is by far the most common POF variant. first POF first SI-POF [Min94] [Koi97a] [Koi96c] [Sai92] [Min94] [Koi95] [Sai92] [Sai92] [Koi95] [Min94] Eska Super Eska Eska Extra Eska Extra Eska Extra 4 MHz km . A significant indicator for this development is the history of the International Conference for Polymer Optical Fibers and Applications which has been taking place annually since 1992 and represents the most significant scientific event in this specialized field. Decoder boxes have become standardized (MPEG2 format) and will be integrated into television sets in the future. fast network connections even from within an automobile as well as automatic traffic guidance systems will ensure a further increase in the range of digital applications for the motor vehicle. Many of the developments described below were presented for the first time at these conferences.without claiming to be complete. 2. in the automotive field the step towards digitalization has long been made.4 data from different publications on this fiber type are summarized . The development of electronic outside mirrors. st.3. Year Producer Product 1963 1964 1968 1976 1978 1982 1983 1983 1983 1984 Du Pont Du Pont Du Pont Mitsubishi Mitsubishi NTT Mitsubishi Mitsubishi Mitsubishi Mitsubishi CROFON Øcore Attenuation at μm dB/km nm 1. st. Its development goes back to the beginning of the 1960’s. distance-keeping radar and complex control functions are increasingly part of the standard equipment being provided in all classes of vehicles. st. st. Polymer optical fibers can meet many of these requirements to an optimum degree and are therefore increasingly of interest.2 Step Index Polymer Fibers The SI-POF is the oldest variant of all polymer fibers.4: Published data of SI-POF Ref. All these examples demonstrate that completely new markets for digital transmission systems are being developed for short-range applications. In Table 2.e. st.80 2. With offers such as T-DSL (ADSL technology provided by Deutsche Telekom AG) as well as fast internet access via satellite or broadband digital services on the broadband cable network. st. CD changers. in a period when silica glass fibers were being developed. Likewise. Table 2. More and more households are using powerful PC and digital telephone connections (ISDN). i. st. private users are being offered access to additional digital applications even before the start of the new millennium.

105°C 0. a.50 st.51 up to 85°C 0.50 from preform [Lev93] 1993 CIS [Koe98] [Mye02] [Luv03] [Nuv04] [Luc05] [Wal05] [Hai05] [Zie06h] 1998 2002 2003 2004 2005 2005 2005 2006 Mitsubishi Dig. LED=0.50 0.000 1.000 500 200 100 50 400 wavelength [nm] 450 500 550 600 650 700 750 800 Fig. st.59: Attenuation of different standard-NA SI-POF (measurement by POF-AC) . Grade U 600 Sveton MF200Series.40 200 MHz bandwidth 0.conception . Year Producer Product 1985 1991 1991 1991 1992 Asahi Mitsubishi Eska Extra Mitsubishi Eska Extra Hoechst Asahi Luminous-F X-1 X-2 EP51 Øcore Attenuation at μm dB/km nm 80 570 125 650 65 570 1000 130 650 175 660 970 190 135 150 120 150 110 160 250 150 100 300 135 65 650 650 650 650 650 650 650 650 650 650 650 650 520 NA Remarks 81 [Koi95] [Sai92] [Sai92] [Koi95] [Tesh92] [Tesh92] 1992 Asahi [Tesh92] 1992 Asahi [Eng96] 1992 Höchst [Kit92] 1992 Mitsubishi Eska Premier 1000 Sveton MN200[Lev93] 1993 CIS Series. up tp 85°C st. 2.47 80 MHz 100 m 0.055 0.2.28 >1.46 30 MHz 100 m .4: Published data of SI-POF (continued) Ref.50. a.50 2003 announced 0.3 The Development of POF Table 2. st.45 up to 70°C 0.000 attenuation [dB/km] 2.38 for illumination 0.48 up to 70°C 0. Grade U 1000 480 [Non94] 1994 Sumitomo n.37 540 MHz 10m AN. LED = 0. LED = 0. st. 0. 90 MHz 100 m with 650 nm LED 0.000 MHz 10m AN.51 200 MHz 50m n=0. a.50 310 MHz 10m AN. SI type Nuvilight SI-Type A-POF SI-POF SI-POF 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 5. Luvantix Nuvitech Luceat Nanoptics Huiyuan Luceat n.coextrusion 0. n. Optr.

3 The Development of POF It was not until about 1980 that technology made possible the production of POF which came relatively close to the theoretical attenuation minima. 2.5). Most manufacturers offer SI-POFs in different diameters. A fiber with a ¼ mm core diameter . In [Zub01b] and [Nuv04] the properties of these fibers are compared (Table 2. 2. BOF Optectron Nuvitech 250 < 700 < 300 n. The visible differences may possibly be due to different methods of measurement. < 150 < 150 < 350 Attenuation [dB/km] 500 750 < 190 < 180 < 180 < 150 < 180 < 180 < 150 < 150 < 150 < 150 < 250 < 250 1.59 the spectral attenuation curves of three SI-POFs are shown (data sheet information). the losses of fibers with different diameters are listed in the data sheet and are shown in Fig. Table 2. In Fig.60. a. 10000 3000 1000 300 100 attenuation [dB/km] 750 μm core = 500 μm core = 250 μm core 30 400 wavelength [nm] 500 600 700 800 900 Fig. 2.82 2.5: Attenuation of POF with different diameter diameter [μm] Mitsubishi Toray Asahi Chem. Initial problems with the service life and with certain mechanical loads were quickly solved with on-going developments. Some reasons for the increase in attenuation with thinner fibers could be that either the high attenuation of the optical cladding plays a greater role or that more stress is exerted on the thin fiber during manufacture. All three fibers from Japanese manufacturers are close together.60: Attenuation of different PMMA-SI-POF by Toray With a few exceptions the losses for all fiber diameters are similar.000 < 160 < 150 < 125 < 150 < 150 < 250 For Toray fibers.

When the cladding and opaque jacket are applied this fiber is necessarily warmer.ist-pof-all. more or less the POF reference curve up until now. these fibers have more or less become niche products today. After the expectations that ATM would become the dominating network technology in the home were not fulfilled. 2. [Ziem06h]) with the values from [Wei98]. The process temperatures during manufacture can indeed lie clearly above the glass transition temperature. are produced. mainly in mechanical engineering.61.3 Double Step Index Profile Polymer Fibers We have already discussed the principle idea of a double step index profile POF. Today in many areas there is a demand for data rates which require the use of these fibers instead of the normal SI-POFs. The youngest manufacturer of PMMA SI-POF is the Italian company Luceat. DSI-POFs are on a comparable level and would hardly be more expensive than SI-POFs when produced in high volumes. 2. albeit at relatively high prices. 2. . All three important Japanese manufacturers presented such fiber types around 1995.3 The Development of POF 83 has only one sixth the thermal capacitance. A comparison of the measured values of Luceat fibers (POF-AC 2006. Thanks to the availability of reasonably priced and fast green LEDs this advantage can be assessed very highly.org) the transmission of a 10 Mbit/s data stream was able to be demonstrated over 425 m (see System Chapter). is shown in Fig. As part of the European POF project POF-ALL (see www.61: Attenuation of SI-POF by Luceat (2006) In the area of 520 nm this fiber is even somewhat better that the data of the best fibers so far. 500 attenuation [dB/km] 300 200 Luceat 100 80 [Wei98] 60 50 400 450 500 550 600 650 700 wavelength [nm] Fig.2. Technically.3. Here fibers for diverse applications. The highest quality is still in the developmental stage.

Figure 2.25 15 -40 . The effect of suppressing higher modes by high attenuation of the inner cladding was also confirmed theoretically and experimentally.. In the first few years manufacturers did not provide any information at all about the double cladding structure.62: Inverse far field measurement of a DSI-POF You can clearly see that after short distances much light from the interface layer between inner and outer cladding is still guided. [Nich03]. +70 25 Asahi AC1000(I) 1000 ± 60 160 0.30 0.8 0.4 0.62 you can see the far field distributions for different fiber lengths measured with the inverse far field method at the FH Gießen/Friedberg.84 2. of Ulm).. For example.6 compares the properties of DSI-POFs of the three manufacturers ([Mit01]. In [Eng98b] the double cladding structure was proven quite early on the basis of measurements of the far field and with optical microscopy. In Fig.0 0. Table 2. 2. After 50 m these shares have disappeared and the angle distribution corresponds to a true low NA POF.32 10 >10 -55 .3 The Development of POF Table 2. +75 -20 . +70 25 diameter attenuation (650 nm) numerical aperture bandwidth temperature range bend radius [μm] [dB/km] MHz km [°C] [mm] We would like to point out once again that the DSI-POFs are usually offered now as before as low NA POF. [LC00b])..63 shows two microscope photos of DSI-POF (Univ. 1.2 0.0 -30 [°] = 594 nm Popt 1m 10 m 50 m 90 m -20 -10 0 10 20 30 Fig. 2.6 0. At the 2003 POF Conference Mitsubishi was the first manufacturer to present the actual structure. Both optical claddings can be easily recognized.6: Overview of DSI-POF Mitsubishi Toray MH4001 PMU-CD1001 980 1000 ± 45 160 170 0. . Asahi gives a value of 6000 dB/km at 650 nm for the losses in the inner cladding.

2. POF´94 Data´96 Data´97 POF´98 POF´98 POF´98 Data´98 Data´98 POF´98 POF´98 No. At the POF-AC a data rate of over 1 Gbit/s over 100 m MC-POF has already been achieved.15 270 dB/km n. e. 37 DSI 0. The following photos show the cross-sections of the three.7 shows a few parameters from these publications. a.50 160 dB/km n.4 Multi-Core Polymer Fibers Since 1994.19 155 dB/km 700 MHz 50 m 37 DSI 0. 37 DSI 0. in [Tesh98].63: Double cladding structure of a POF 2. this being due to the possibility of smaller numerical apertures.g. .25 160 dB/km n. 217 SI 320 dB/km n. Should this be possible. a. [Mun94].7: Multi-core POF (Asahi Chemical) Type NMC-1000 PMC-1000 MCS-1000 NMC-1000 PMC-1000 Ref.3.19 160 dB/km n. a. Table 2. a. a. only Asahi chemical offers MC-POF for data communication while other manufacturers offer this kind of fiber for lighting purposes or also as image guiding fiber. Whether these fibers can be produced at the same price is still an open question.33 160 dB/km n. 217 and 631 cores (the 19 core variant is no longer available). of Structure NA Attenuation Bandwidth Cores at 650 nm 19 SI 0. presently available MC-POFs with 37. [Asa97] and [Tesh98]. a. 217 SI 0.25 125 dB/km 170 MHz 100 m 217 SI 0.25 160 dB/km 500 MHz 50 m 37 DSI 0. polymer fibers as multi-core fibers have been introduced. Table 2. 37 DSI 0. At present. The MC-POF features a noticeably reduced sensitivity to bending and only insignificantly increased attenuation as well as a significantly increased bandwidth compared to single core fibers.33 160 dB/km n.2. 217 SI 0. a.3 The Development of POF 85 Fig. data rates of 500 Mbit/s up to 1 Gbit/s over 50 m can easily be achieved in commercial applications.

2 0.0 0. +60 bend loss2) dB <0.06 1. 37. 2.10 2. at 650 nm R = 3 mm. These strands can be mounted like quite normal 1 mm SI-POFs.5 0.2 m. 360°.23) 1) 2) 3) Cut back 12 .19 1. The two enormous advantages of MC-POF. The PMC 1000 permits the highest data rates on the basis of experiments conducted so far since it possesses a DSI structure.0 0. Launch-NA: 0. The share of the core surface is not only enlarged. +60 -40 .86 2.0 0.06 fiber core 2. +70 <0. but it is considerably easier to work the fibers.10 PE (black) PE (black) 1634) 1634) 5) 350 5005) -40 .13) <0.05 1. 180°.2 4) 5) 650 nm monochromatic light 650 nm LD. no stress R = 3 mm.0 0. Table 2. The latter will be treated in the next paragraph.07 2. 217 respectively 631 cores An overview of the technical data of the four different MC-POFs is summarized in the following Table 2.. n. .2 0.2 0.50 0.06 1.2 0..06 2. a.. +70 -40 .10 cable jacket PE PE (black) attenuation1) dB/km <200 320 bit rate (50 m) Mbit/s n. have in the meantime been somewhat qualified since considerably cheaper GI-POFs on a PMMA basis have become available.25 0.8: Data of MC-POF Parameter number of cores single core Unit μm mm mm MCQ-1000 MCS-1000 NMC-1000 PMC-1000 19 37 200 130 PMMA PMMA FMA-copolymer VDF-copolymer 0. BER = 10-12 We do have to point out one special feature of these four MC POFs: the fibers are tightly bound in the cable as opposed to the individual fibers in a fiber glass bundle or other MC POFs used in lighting technology.1 <0.8 (Nichimen data sheets).3 The Development of POF Fig.64: Photo by microscope of MC-POF. temperature °C -40 . a.13) 613 217 37 60 core material PMMA PMMA cladding material fluoro polymer 2nd cladding material NA 0. namely the high band width and the low bending losses..

Sumitomo BOF MMAco VPAc PMMA MMA co VB MMA-VB MMA-VPAc PMMA 200-1500 PMMA 200-1500 PMMA 400 PMMA 600 11 1070 130 134 143 113 90 160 300 670 650 652 652 650 570 650 650 0.as we shall describe later on . whereas in Europe and most other countries fibers with a core diameter of 50 μm are used.5 μm are used. Keio Univ. Unfortunately. Table 2. Furthermore. 1. Table 2.3.9: Published data of PMMA-GI-.19 8 100 m first GI-POF 670 nm: 300 MHz km IGPT. 8GHz 50m 3 GHz 100 m . This diameter is nevertheless 5 to 6 times greater than with singlemode fibers whereby the plug costs are greatly reduced and the coupling of lasers is also easier. whereas only MSI-POF are produced in a co-polymerization process. predominately fibers with a core diameter of 62.014. They have been used extensively for some time in the field of silica glass fibers and are a standard.5 Multi-Step Index Profile and Graded Index Profile Fibers The greatest bandwidths of all fibers . Finally. Glass GI fibers are produced by applying many layers of a SiO2-GeO2 mixture with different compositions to a quartz glass pipe. MC and MSI fibers. Keio Univ. In the USA. These MSI-POFs also offer high bandwidth depending on the number of steps. Keio Univ.and MC-POF (IGPT: interfacial gel polymerization technique. Since GI fibers are difficult to produce .3 The Development of POF 87 2. To the best knowledge of the author. all PMMA-GI-POF published to date are produced by doping. the optical characteristics are summarized here.000 MHz km n=0. The bandwidthlength product (BLP) of these multimode glass fibers lies in the range of 200 to 500 MHz · km. Keio Univ. see [Oeh02] and [Geo01]).9 shows an overview of the values for PMMA-based GI. the fiber is drawn (several 100 km) out of such a preform.2. For the transmission of 10 Gbit/s a new fiber specification with a BLP of 2.a series of multi step index profile POFs have been introduced. MSI. Keio Univ.26 0. 260 MHz 1 km IGPT.are shown by graded index profile fibers. numerous problems with the corecladding interface area would cease to exist with GI fibers since the light guiding would take place exclusively in the core. The advantages of the large core diameter and high bandwidth would be an optimal combination with POFs. The different methods and combinations of materials with which attempts have been made to produce GI-POF will be described further on.with the exception of the singlemode fibers . For now. Keio Univ.125 MHz 1 km IGPT. Year Producer Material Øcore μm Attenuation dB/km at nm NA Remarks [Koe98] [Koi95] [Koi96c] [Koi95] [Koi90] [Koi90] [Koi92] [Koi92] [Non94] [Shi95] 1998 1982 1990 1990 1990 1990 1992 1992 1994 1995 1 Keio Univ. this is not possible with POFs.000 MHz · km at a wavelength of 850 nm is even being developed (for example. PFM: preform method) Ref.

continued Ref. it was possible to attain bandwidths up to 50 times larger which are adequate for transmitting several Gbit/s across distances up to 200 m.and MC-POF. The total number of 7 steps in the fiber with a core diameter of approximately 800 μm were produced in a preform and subsequently drawn.40 0.the last lines in the table .9: Published data of PMMA-GI-. Multi-step index profile fibers .3 The Development of POF Table 2.88 2. The ESKA-MIU has a core/cladding diameter of 700 μm/750 μm and also has several layers (probably between 4 and 7) which are produced by co-polymerization. 4-7 layers (?) 7 layers. Levin. Year Producer Material Øcore μm Attenuation dB/km at nm NA Remarks [Ish95] [Koi97b] [Tak98] [Tak98] [Tak98] [Tak98] [Mye02] [Shin02] [Liu02a] [Luv03] [Fuj04] [Rich04] [Yoo04] [Nuv05] [Nuv05] [Fuj06] 1995 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 2002 2002 2002 2003 2004 2004 2004 2005 2005 2004 Keio Univ.4.g. for applications in compliance with IEEE1394 (up to S800).20 0. Likewise. Optr. MSI.have been described in [She99] and [Lev99]. PFM 2 GHz 90m.5 GHz bandwidth 3 Gbps 50m commercially available commercially available 3 Gbps 50m 3 Gbps 50m 10 GHz 50m [Shi99] 1997 Mitsubishi PMMA (Eska-Miu) 0.40 0. Keio Univ.5 mm and 1 mm which means that existing reasonably priced connectors can be used. 4 to 7 layers were presumably being aimed at but in the end this . Kurabe Kurabe Kurabe Kurabe Dig. it became possible to produce PMMA-GI-POF having an attenuation at 650 nm that is similar in quality to that of SI-POF.45 GHz 100m since 2001 3. KIST Korea Huiyuan Luvantix Lumistar Optimedia Optimedia Nuvitech Nuvitech PMMA-DPS 500-1000 500 500 500 500 180 1000 ? 500 900 675 500 900 120 MSI-POF 700 210 800 400 PMMA PMMA PMMA PMMA PMMA Polymer PMMA PMMA PMMA PMMA PMMA PMMA PMMA PMMA Lumistar-X new low loss 150 132 145 159 329 350 120 160 200 200 180 180 100 650 650 650 650 650 650 650 685 650 650 650 650 650 650 850 0.33 0.30 500 MHz 50m. The best results were obtained with the mixture PMMA/4FFA which has an attenuation of approximately 400 dB/km (at 650 nm) and a bandwidth of 310 MHz·100 m.26 0. In doing so. multi-core and multi-step index POF achieve similar values for attenuation and allow data rates up to 1 Gbit/s across distances of 50 m.30 ? 585 MHz km 2 GHz 100 m 2 GHz 100m. In the group headed by Prof. Originally. PFM PFM no samples available g=2.25 0. different materials were used for the production of layers with different refractive indices (P(MMA/4FFA). The core diameter of all these fibers typically lies between 0. P(MMA/4FMA) and PMMA-naphthalene). e. 3. PFM 680 MHz 50m. 310 MHz 100 m [Lev99] 1999 RPC Tver PMMA/ 4FFA From the beginning of the 90s.

i. 1. The bandwidth in [Shi99] is stated to be larger than 500 MHz 50 m. Korea The production method for GI POF is described in [Shin03].4 0. 2. [Num99]).0 1m 0.2.65 shows the pulse broadening for a 66 m long fiber which corresponds to a BLP of 3.6 0. In [Num99] the attenuation of the fiber is stated as being 210 dB/km with an AN = 0.2 1. The purpose of the rotation is simply to form even concentric layers.2 0. In several publications this fiber is called a GI-POF ([Sak98]. Figure 2. Kwangju Center for Advanced Functional Polymer.e. The polymerization takes place thermally and the concentration of BzMA is continuously increased to 15%. Korea Optics Laboratory.u.45 GHz · 100 m. It is said to be produced in a continuous drawing process. Seoul. KAIST. The difference between this design and “genuine” GI fibers is primarily the larger core diameter. A MMA-BzMA mixture is poured into a rotating cylinder.30. Materials and measurements of the index profile will be discussed in the Section Production and Materials. Korea Optimedia. Korea Luvantix.5 ps 129.65: Pulse broadening in PMMA-GI-POF ([Shin03]) Intensity [a. In the past few years publications have come from: Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Korea Nuvitech.] 66 m 99. Institutes and companies from South Korea have been very successful in producing PMMA GI-POF.0 t [ps] -0.2 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 Fig. Taejon. Korea E-Polymer Laboratory. Kwangju Institute of Science and Technology (KIST). Taejon.8 0. Department of Chemical Engineering. The smallest measured attenuation of the fiber is given at 120.3 The Development of POF 89 fiber with 3 layers was achieved as a product.5 ps . values that are comparable with the DSIPOF.6 dB/km. SAIT. This emerging preform is then drawn into a fiber.

000 (900) ±5 > 65 25 -30 . . The share of the dopants is the greatest in the center of the fiber which is why the glass transition temperature has sunk the most. 2.000 hours of operation at 80°C no change in the bandwidth could be determined. 2.10: Parameter of GI-POF OM-Giga Property core diameter diameter variations tensile strength bend radius temperature range attenuation bandwidth Unit μm % N mm °C dB/km GHz B-075 750 (675) ±5 > 35 25 -30 . You can see quite well that the index profile is still parabolic at the beginning of the aging process.3 The Development of POF Since 2004. Even after 5. although the steps are almost completely smoothed through thermal treatment. The approx.67 the change in the refractive index profile of a doped PMMA GI-POF is shown after accelerated aging (122 hours at +109°C. different from GI-POF with doping.66: Cross section of an OM-Giga (POF-AC) and a MSI (Tver. 10 index steps can still be seen quite well. must be rated as a particularly great step.10). +60 < 200 > 1. 2. It is produced through polymerization of several layers. [Ald05]) In Fig. The cross-section of a 1 mm OM-Giga is shown in Fig. +60 < 200 > 1. According to the data sheets available in the Internet the fibers have the following parameters (Table 2. Fig. The OM-Giga (see [Rich04] and [Yoo04]) has a core diameter of 900 μm or 675 μm respectively and a nearly parabolic profile..5 B-100 1. from [Bly98a] and [Bly98b]).66 (microscope photograph shown in wrong colors).. Table 2.90 2. a new GI-POF on a PMMA basis has been available on the market.5 Remarks (GI-region) at break at 650 nm for 100 m The fact that this fiber possesses thermal stability comparable to a standard POF.

The bandwidth was measured for over 5. Tg also drops there and the diffusion process continues until the profile has almost become rectangular. 2. but the bandwidth drops dramatically.000 hours on a 50 m long sample in order to be able to determine changes in the index profile. The results of a long-term temperature test are shown in Fig. The attenuation of the fiber will hardly increase. 2. 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 70°C 0 0 400 800 1200 1600 2000 2400 Fig.67: Change of the refractive index profile of a GI-POF by ageing Measurements on OM-Giga at the POF-AC will subsequently be introduced.68: Long-term behavior of OM-Giga measured bandwidth [MHz] 80°C time [h] . Fig.68. 2. Decisive for the application temperature of the fiber is the dopant concentration in the axis. the concentration increases outwardly.3 The Development of POF 91 The dopant diffuses outwardly.2. Consequently.

are shown in Fig.6 data on bending behavior and bandwidth are summarized. However. POF production in South Korea seems to enjoy greater attention and more progress in the field is foreseeable. however.3 The Development of POF The frequency range of the network analyzer extended to 1. 2. A comparison of the measured attenuation of ESKA-MIU and OM-Giga is shown in Fig. The stable bandwidth proves that co-polymerization is obviously a suitable means to produce thermally stable and thus long-life PMMA GI-POF. The attenuation of the OM Giga is somewhat higher at 650 nm than that of the Mitsubishi fiber and also of the SI-POF.69: Spectral attenuation of ESKA-MIU and OM-Giga The Korean manufacturer Luvantix offers preforms for PMMA GI-POF ([Luv03] and [Kim03]). The values represented were determined through extrapolation and thus burdened with a relatively large error. [Mye02] and from China [Liu02a]).measured values and approximation of each . The production methods are presented in Section 2. 2. 1000 attenuation [dB/km] 800 600 400 300 200 ESKA-MIU 161 dB/km OM-Giga 217 dB/km 100 400 450 500 550 600 650 700 wavelength [nm] Fig. .69.8. A clear deviation from the parabolic index profile would in any event have caused a very strong decrease in the bandwidth. Overall. The authors do not know what relations exist between Luvantix as preform manufacturer and Nuvitech and Optimedia as fiber producers as well the different research institutes. it clearly shows the greatest bandwidth. In Sections 2. Since no data or even fibers are known from these producers they will not be considered in greater detail. Other announcements concerning the production of GI-POF came from the USA (Digital Optronics and Nanoptics.3 GHz. The index profiles from both refernces . [Wal02].70.92 2.5 and 2. 2.

pure glass fibers do not have a great .3 mm outer jacket 230 μm polymer Fig.4 0.0 1.510 1.70: PMMA GI-POF index profile (left: [Kim03]. Furthermore.498 1. First of all.8 1.504 1. The polymer cladding is applied by extrusion after it has cooled off.71 shows the principle structure.1 200 μm Glass Fibers with Polymer Cladding Thanks to their simple production and great robustness silica glass fibers with polymer cladding have been used for a long time. Figure 2.4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission refractive index AN = 0. A core (typically with a diameter of 200 μm) of homogeneous SiO2 is surrounded by a high-strength. 500 μm inner jacket 2.4.4 0.71: Structure of a 200 μm PCS 200 μm SiO2-core Production is so easy because the core is drawn from a quartz glass cylinder. radius (r/rc) 0.465 1. 2.32 93 1.506 1.475 1.508 1.492 0.500 1.500 1.21 refractive index AN = 0.496 1.512 1.480 1.510 1.494 1.505 1.502 1.4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission 2.6 0.495 1.470 1.2 0.6 0. radius (r/rc) 0. right: [Luv03]) 2.8 1.0 Fig. 2.490 1.2 0.460 theory measured rel.2. all glass fibers are extremely sensitive to water and must be protected by a plastic coating as thick as possible. transparent polymer with smaller refractive indices (about 15 μm thick).0 theory measured rel.485 1.

Pure glassglass fibers (glass core with an optical glass cladding) are always surrounded by similar protective layers. Most PCSs available in the market have been specified for an application temperature of +70°C. PCS 10 1 theoretical limit 0. e. So-called all-silica fibers in which the optical cladding consists of silica glass are used at high temperatures. The jacketed fiber can thus hardly be shattered.200 1.400 1.600 1.000 nm the losses in the polymers are so high that the effective PCS attenuation also rises rapidly. the primary coating material determines the thermal and chemical characteristics.72 has been taken from the latter work. Because of its refractive index and attenuation the polymer cladding determines to a great extent the optical parameters of the PCS.000 attenuation [dB/km] 1000 100 diff. 10.g.72: Attenuation of different 200 μm PCS according to [Schö03] Just as with glass-glass fibers the absence of water plays an important role for PCS for keeping losses low especially in the long-wave ranges. 1.000 1.94 2. Consequently. . Silica glass can endure temperatures up to 1. Fig 2. acrylates which. You can clearly recognize how strongly the attenuation spectra of different PCSs can depend on the cladding materials selected.1 200 400 600 800 1. Some more recent types have been dimensioned for use in automobile networks for temperatures up to +125°C.000°C. do not have any optical function. These fibers are also employed for the transmission of very high light power (working with lasers) since it is very important that no light is absorbed at the core-cladding interface layer.4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission mechanical load capability. but not the polymer cladding. 2.800 wavelength [nm] Fig. however. In short wavelength ranges the attenuation nearly corresponds to pure SiO2 fibers. The polymer cladding gives the fibers the capacity to bear extreme loads. Above approx. Information on such PCSs can be found for example in [Hub03] and [Schö03].

.2.+125 -65. The attenuation then only amounts to a few dB which can for the most part normally be disregarded.4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission 95 Table 2.+135 -65.37 6 12 6 8 6 8 8 n. considerably less light will be coupled into the fiber than into a 1 mm POF. [HP01]. a.g. If a LED is used as a transmitter.+125 -40..22 8 8 8 10 n. MHz km Unit HCS PCS Low OH [Hub03] OFS Polymicro 125/140 200/230 200/230 300/330 400/430 0.73: Link power budget for POF and PCS .. system with 1 mm POF Popt [dBm] system with 200 μm PCS -4 -6 -8 -10 -12 -14 -16 -18 -20 -22 -24 -26 -28 -30 LED-power range (launched into the fiber) receiver sensitivity range allowed path loss (with margin) Fig.+135 PCS are generally used in lengths of up to a maximum of 200 m.37 0..43 0.11: Properties of different PCS Parameter producer core/ cladding All Silica High OH OFS μm 200/240 365/400 550/600 940/1000 0. Different manufacturers even offer transmission systems which can work with the same plug construction with POF as well as with 200 μm PCS.+125 All Silica Low OH OFS 200/240 365/400 550/600 940/1000 0. the light can be coupled more effectively into the photodiode. 2.22 dB/km 10 10 10 10 n. a. a. Table 2.. 20 20 20 15 13 14 16 15 16 47 47 16 94 24 118 47 -65. core diameter and NA (data from [Hub03] and [OFS02]). HCS High NA OFS 200/230 400/430 NA (820 nm) bandwidth bend radius (long term) mm temperature °C 14 47 94 118 -65. On the other hand.11 lists some of the representative types taken from a number of different PCS variants which differ in cladding material. e.

In this case the optical cladding was a silicone plastic. 200 100 70 40 20 10 10 recommended application area with POF fiber length [m] 20 30 40 60 80 100 10 20 50 recommended application area with PCS fiber length [m] 100 200 500 1000 max. In the case of some fibers this resulted in a refractive index difference .4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission Fig.and NA. The result for PCS is a permissible fiber attenuation of at least 11 dB . Modern PCSs no longer show this effect. limited here due to the bandwidth. The most recent draft for the standardization of PCS is viewed by the IEC as having a bandwidth of 5 MHz · km for fibers with a NA of 0. Diverse information and publications on bandwidth exist for the different polymer fibers as summarized in Chapter 2. This lies clearly below the specified data of 10-20 MHz · km.which dropped to zero at low temperatures. bit rate [Mbit/s] max. Far field distributions are represented in the picture after 2 m of fiber at different temperatures. A specific problem with PCS in the past was that the temperature coefficients of glass and plastic did indeed deviate considerably from one another. One reason may be that the PCS was developed for relatively low data rates (10 Mbit/s and less). In this way at least 20 m of POF can be bridged. . Measurements conducted at the POF-AC show that all PCSs investigated with An = 0. 2.75 taken from [Dug88].74: System parameters of the HP-system with POF and PCS (according to [HP01]) The bandwidth for PCS indicated in the data sheets has to be viewed with a certain degree of skepticism. however. They were measured with laser stimulation at altered angles. This effect is shown in Fig. too .40 ± 0. bit rate [Mbit/s] max. The fiber bandwidth therefore did not play any role whatsoever while the POF was also designed from the very beginning for higher data rates. 2.taking the system margin into consideration .5. This is not a contradiction. The guaranteed loss for PCSs is only 7 dB. at least 100 m of fiber can be bridged. However. each with the same transmitters and receivers (system for 125 Mbit/s).73 shows power budgets for both possibilities.thanks to the greater input power.96 2. 2.37 at full launch have a BLP in the range of 5-7 MHz · km. at +25°C Fig. at +25°C max.04. since none of the manufacturers as a precaution provided any information about the measurement conditions.

2 0.1 0.9 0.4. 2.2 Semi-Graded Index Glass Fibers Up until some time ago this class of fibers was only available as a product from the manufacturer Sumitomo ([Sum03]).0 [°] -5 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Fig.0 0. Except for the gradients introduced this fiber corresponds to conventional PCS.4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission rel. 100 80 60 40 30 20 OFS spectral attenuation [dB/km] Sumitomo 10 8 6 wavelength [nm] 4 450 500 550 600 650 700 750 800 850 900 950 1000 Fig. The index variation is attained by adding germanium which is also usual for silica glass.7 0. It is still open how far the price can drop when manufacturing greater lengths.5 0. presented as far field 2. The semi-GI PCS. OFS has appeared as a second manufacturer ([Ziem06i]).8 0. power +40°C -2°C -31°C -51°C -65°C -72°C -92°C -98°C 97 1. In the meantime. Even with normal 50 μm GI fibers the germanium share represents a considerable cost factor.76: Spectral attenuation of the semi-GI-PCS . has a 16-fold cross-section.2.6 0. This type of fiber is still extremely expensive. 2.3 0. however.4 0.75: Temperature dependence of PCS-NA.

power [a. a. dB/km MHz km HG-series Sumitomo 200 230 n. a. The following table gives the parameters from the data sheet .6 0. 0. it makes sense to use them when a large light-guiding cross-section is to be combined with high cable flexibility. If you lay out the fibers differently at both ends of . opt.36 0.8 ns 32 MHz km full mode launch 500 m PCS t [ns] 0 10 20 30 Fig.76 and 2.1 Quartz Glass Fiber Bundles Glass fiber bundles are employed in the most diverse areas.77 show the attenuation curve and the pulse response of the semi-GI-PCS based on measurements made at the POF-AC. In optical measurement techniques bundles of quartz glass fibers are employed which permit a continuous high transmission rate in the range between 380 nm and 2000 nm.2 0. a.4.] 1.the bending radius and the operating temperature are not specified.40 n.3. The bandwidth and maximum data rate measurements are dealt with in the corresponding sections. Above all.3 Glass Fiber Bundles 2.98 2. 2.U.0 0.4.0 FWHM: 6.4 0.4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission Figures 2. 6 100 Semi-GI V2 OFS 200 230 VAD/MCVD GI 0.8 0.77: Pulse response of Semi-GI-PCS Table 2.12: Parameters of Semi-GI-POF Parameter core cladding core structure NA GI-NA (820 nm) bandwidth Unit μm μm n.275 8 48 (overfilled) 2.

4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission 99 the cable. The numerical aperture of the bundle shown is 0. e. Figure 2. The end surfaces are usually prepared: the bundle is glued in the plug and then polished.000 Fig. monochromators.400 1. to [Ori01]).79 (acc.g. then they can also serve as cross-section converters. and the single fiber diameter is 200 μm.78: Example for a quartz glass fiber bundle The transmission of such a bundle is shown in Fig.800 2.79: Transmission of a quartz glass fiber bundle [Ori01] . 2.2. Fig. The greatest part of the 100% missing share is determined by the only about 60% part of the core surfaces and the Fresnel losses. 70% transmission 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 200 wavelength [nm] 400 600 800 1.22.600 1. 2. 2.78 shows an example.000 1.200 1. the length is about 1 m.

000 500 [dB/km] POF MC-GOF 200 100 [nm] 50 500 550 500 550 600 650 700 750 800 850 Fig. whereby the usual optical characteristics are for the most part retained so that the identical active components can be used. has developed a new kind of assembly procedure ([War03]). working together with Schott. e. Megomat TS AG. The POF has greater losses in the near infrared range. Table 2. The glass has higher losses in the blue areas whereby the cable length is limited when guiding white light. The previous systems are specified with 1 mm POF. 2. Two parameters especially limit the use: the temperature range is limited to a maximum of +85º and the relatively large bending radius. The actual fiber bundle has a diameter of 1. Attenuations of some 100 dB/km is absolutely acceptable for many applications. in lighting technology. 1.80: Spectral attenuation of glass fiber bundles and POF An entirely new application for such glass fiber bundles has come about with the ever increasing use of optical networks in vehicles.g. The spectral attenuation of a typical glass fiber bundle compared with a PMMA POF is shown in Fig. . The plug has a metal ferrule with a corresponding opening. The usual method of cementing and polishing takes too much time for mass production and results in the core surface having too low a share with correspondingly high losses with the plug connections. Schott has been producing bundles of thin glass-glass fibers for quite some time. The fibers are pressed closely together when crimped so that the diameter of the bundle is lowered to 1 mm.80.2 Glass Fiber Bundles Pure quartz glass is many times more expensive than normal polymers but also as conventional mineral optical glasses. The index difference can be varied in diverse areas by choosing a particular glass composition.3.2 mm.4. Both limitations can be reduced considerably with glass fiber bundles. The construction of the plug is especially problematical. During production the fiber bundle is heated to such an temperature that the glass can be compressed.4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission 2. 2.13 from [Lub04b] compares the parameters of a glass fiber bundle (MC-GOF) with those of a POF for vehicle networks.100 2.

2. The individual fibers are deformed at the edge of the bundle. 2.49 0. 400 1. Figure 2.50 250 150 5 -40 . Neighboring fibers mostly form regular hexagonal structures which can.81 shows a photo of the plug end face.585 / 1.000 45 10 1 1. also have big gaps. however.49 / 1. Fig.4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission Table 2.40 0. something which happens quite irregularly. After the crimping the bundle is broken off and polished.81: Photograph of a MC-GOF The irregular arrangement of fibers in the bundle leads to different patterns when pressed together. 125 MOST-POF 1..13: Comparison MC-GOF and POF Parameter core diameter cladding thickness number of cores ncore/ncladding numerical aperture attenuation at 650 nm bandwidth (full launch) bend radius temperature Unit [μm] [μm] [dB/km] [MHz·20 m] [mm] [°C] MC-GOF 53 3 approx.50 160 >50 (200 typ..) 25 -40 . .85 101 The core share of the plug end face then amounts to about 85%. Every once in a while linear structures with pentagonal fibers are formed.

84 shows an x-ray photo of the bundle within the cable. 2. When there is a tight bend the change in length is distributed on the inside and outside for a long stretch so that the fibers are only subject to a slight load.84: X-ray picture of a bundle . The individual fibers have to move freely within the cable. 2. 2. Fig.82: Details of MC-GOF connector end faces Fig.4 Glass Fibers for Short-Range Data Transmission Fig. Fig. 2.102 2. Since the deformations only arise over a few millimeters there is no significant additional attenuation.83: Details of MC-GOF connector end faces Since the bundle consists of about 400 individual fibers this irregular deformation of individual fibers does not play any role overall. In conclusion. That is why the bundle can take bending radii of only a few mm.

As we will demonstrate later on. it is possible to transmit signals of significantly broader bandwidth if an electrical compensation of the frequency response takes place. fiber-laying conditions as well as the homogeneity of the fiber's characteristics. Particularly in the case of POF. one can describe the SI-POF as being very close to a Gaussian low pass filter.0 Fig. In this book we will use the following definition of bandwidth: f3dB : Frequency at which the amplitude of a sinus modulated monochromatic signal has been reduced to ½ of the optical level (see Fig.2. 2.1 Definition of Bandwidth It is possible to define the term bandwidth in quite different ways.28). opt. For example. as illustrated schematically in Fig. refractive index profile. Figure 2. In order to determine this parameter.5 bandwidth f3dB 0.5.0 frequency response 0. 2. Mode dispersion and chromatic dispersion are the most important factors involved in multimode fibers.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers In order to be able to determine the bandwidth of an optical fiber.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 103 2. 2. Essentially it describes the frequency range of a system within which the transmission of signals can be achieved with reasonable attenuation. the light launching conditions. mode dispersion depends on various parameters such as wavelength.86. knowledge of the bandwidth alone is not adequate for estimating what the actual capacity of the complete link will be. which is created by modal dispersion. amplitude at fiber output 1. In POF systems.85 schematically illustrates this definition.85: Definition of POF bandwidth frequency f Nonetheless. 2. the limiting factor is usually the bandwidth of the fiber itself. it is further necessary to know the actual transmission procedure as well as the complete transmission function. several different influencing factors need to be considered. . In the following sections we intend to show how the conclusions drawn from basic physical processes can be used to explain values that are measured in reality. rel.

a higher level of signal is necessary.in the case of higher frequencies the signal is passed through without attenuation. the effect of chromatic dispersion will be initially neglected because it is directly proportionally dependent on the spectral width of the source. however.0 0 1 2 0 1 2 f 0 1 2 f Fig. the amplitude of a Gaussian low pass filter (P(f) = P0 · exp (f²/f0²)) for f = 1. For this reason.5. we will show to what extent bandwidth is particularly dependent on the launching conditions. 2. the signal is attenuated .2 Experimental Determination of Bandwidth As a frequency response multimode fibers show an almost Gaussian-like behavior: P( f ) P0 e 2 f 2 / f0 As can be easily demonstrated. The resulting function has a significantly higher bandwidth. In addition.86: Compensation of the POF low pass characteristic A high pass filter is used for compensation.U.104 2. due to the overall existing level of attenuation. the type of signal involved (digital or analogue) is also of significance and finally the required system reserves must be considered.0 P(f)compensating filter P(f)resulting 0.5 f [a.17741 · f0 has dropped to half the value that applies for f = 0.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers P(f)POF 1. The following general relationship can be used as a rule of thumb for digital systems: maximum bit rate [Mbit/s] = 2 bandwidth [MHz]. Therefore the following applies: . it is necessary to determine the electrical 6 dB width because the photodiode will convert the optical power proportionally into a current. After explaining the measurement procedures. In the case of low frequencies.] 0. We intend here to look at bandwidth as a function of fiber characteristics. 2. In this section we will show experimental investigations on the bandwidth of SI-POF fibers. When using a spectrum analyzer to measure the frequency response of a fiber link.

31). power [dBm] -6 -9 -12 -15 -18 1 10 100 f [MHz] 1.52.2. The 3 dB bandwidth is found simply by determining the point at which the electrically measured transmission function has dropped by 6 dB. In this case a measurement of up to 200 MHz was easily possible.34 Gaußian approx. see Fig.30) the measured value is 130 MHz. Due to the limited dynamics of the measurement system. For DSI-POF (AN = 0. 2. corresponding to a bandwidth-length product of 33 MHz · 100 m.87 shows an example for such a bandwidth measurement for a 30 m standard NA-POF. It follows that the measured value is substantially greater than had been theoretically expected (approximately 14 MHz · 100 m. The optical 3 dB bandwidth for an SI-POF is approximately 67 MHz. corresponding to 65 MHz · 100 m. -3 electr.87: Bandwidth measurement at a SI-POF measured 15 m SI 650 nm 239 MHz NA: 0.000 Fig. By determining the frequency f0 it is then possible to determine the bandwidth even when the measurement is not possible because of the limited dynamics or bandwidth of the measuring system. The LED had a wide emission angle so that approximate equilibrium mode distribution can be assumed. The measurement was carried out with a 520 nm LED. an approximation with a Gaussian low pass function has been entered into the figure. 2. with the theoretical value being 42 MHz · 100 m. here approximately 150 MHz.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 2 Popt 105 Pel Figure 2. Apart from the values actually measured. with the NA of the fiber being 0.88 shows the measured transmission functions for a SI-POF and a DSI-POF of 50 m length each. . Figure 2. the frequency response can be measured only up to a certain distance.

many reflections at the cladding .-NA 300 100 30 10 525 nm 590 nm 650 nm 525 nm 590 nm 650 nm fiber length [m] 10 20 50 100 10 20 fiber length [m] 50 100 Fig.89 shows the bandwidth measurement of a standard NA-POF for 3 different wavelengths for samples between 20 m and 100 m in length.-NA-POF -9 -12 1 10 100 frequency [MHz] 1.88: Bandwidth measurement for SI-POF and DSI-POF When measuring bandwidth. The reason for this is the combination of mode dependent attenuation and mode coupling described in Chapter 1. St. Figure 2. Low-NA bandwidth [MHz] GH 4000.106 0 2. As a result of the continuous energy exchange that takes place between the faster and slower modes. power [dB] -3 50 m DSI-POF -6 50 m St. 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers rel. The increased attenuation of those beams having a particularly large propagation angle .89: Bandwidth of a SI-POF and a DSI-POF at different wavelengths . a two to four ranging factor of deviation from the theoretical value of an ideal SI fiber can be generally expected. 1000 bandwidth [MHz] ACU 1000. 2.000 Fig. the delay does not rise in proportion to the length.has the additional effect of reducing the pulse width. even when working in an EMD condition.

The bandwidth of the POF is nearly identical for the 3 attenuation windows.3. Since there are still no standards for the definition and measurement of bandwidth.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 107 Once again.5. The figure reveals 2 significant items of information: The bandwidth of the POF does not decrease in proportion to the length-1.90.65. As we shall see. for example [Bun02a] and [Ziem04a]).3 Experimental Bandwidth Measurements The section on experimental bandwidth measurements first summarizes the results from earlier technical literature. 2.10 and 0. the measurements in Fig. A series of systematic measurements on the most diverse fibers is introduced as a supplement to the first edition (Alexander Bachmann is responsible for the bandwidth measurements at the POF-AC. cf. 2.65 theory Fig. [Tak93] and [Rit93].90: Bandwidth measurement according to [Tak91] . 2. The detector used consisted of a wide area photo multiplier. The fiber used was an EH4001 by Mitsubishi with an NA of 0.5. the following description will therefore not represent the definitive assessment. The bandwidth was measured through the pulse broadening of a 660 nm laser pulse (150 ps).89 were carried out with an LED having an emission characteristic near to EMD (see [Gor98] and [Rit98]). 2.000 1. its decrease is less than proportional. Some of the first efforts made to systematically investigate the bandwidth of SI-POF were undertaken by [Tak91].47. Different launching devices were used to vary the NA between 0. 2.2. As shown in Fig. 2.000 500 200 100 50 20 10 10 fiber length [m] 20 50 100 bandwidth [MHz] launch conditions AN Launch = 0. determining the bandwidth is among the most difficult metrological challenges with thick-core fibers.10 AN Launch = 0.1 Bandwidth of SI-POF After presenting some examples of our own measurements in the previous section we will now compare these with measurements carried out by other authors. the bandwidth was measured for SI-POF having lengths between 20 m and 100 m.

The bandwidth was calculated from the far field width as follows: t mod 2 A N.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers The results allow three significant conclusions: The bandwidth of a SI-POF is always significantly higher than the theoretical values for a SI-POF under theoretical UMD conditions. Figure 2.91 shows measurements of bandwidths for different detector NA. the difference between the measured bandwidth for launching the light with AN = 0. For a sample length of 10 m. 2. the measurement was carried out using the pulse method at 650 nm. In principle. The measured bandwidth is strongly dependent on the launching conditions. it is still clearly in evidence even after 100 m. also taken from [Tak91]. 2. For lengths up to 100 m this factor decreases to 2. The speed of light is c. Parameter C is a free selectable constant which depends on the coupling conditions. FF 2 n c and therefore : B z C t mod (C const.65 is more than one order of magnitude. . Again. Apart from measuring the bandwidth.65 theory Fig.92). detection with a small NA means the same limitation in mode number as launching light at a small angle so that it is not surprising to find that the value curves are similar.) whereby tmod is the modal pulse propagation and B · z is the product of bandwidth and length. the half far field width following the corresponding sample length was also determined.000 300 100 30 10 10 fiber length [m] 20 50 100 bandwidth [MHz] receiver detection angle range AN Det = 0. even with full launching in the acceptance area.10 and AN = 0. In the formula AN . 1.91: Bandwidth measurement according to [Tak91] with different receiver NA Another measurement of bandwidth on standard NA-POF (1 mm) is presented in [Tak93] (Fig.22 AN Det > 0.108 2. FF is not the fiber parameter indicated. Although the bandwidth difference for measurements using different launching conditions decreases with the increasing length of fiber. but the value measured depending on length.

any estimated quantification based on these measured results alone would be questionable.10 AN Launch = 0.93) are also shown. The bandwidth values determined by means of the far field width correlate very well with the results of the bandwidth measurements made by pulse propagation. the bandwidth is reduced somewhat more slowly than the length.000 300 100 30 10 fiber length [m] 100 109 launching conditions AN Launch = 0. 2. However. the bandwidth drops disproportionately. from approximately 80 MHz km to approximately 16 MHz km.92: Bandwidth according to [Tak93] When launching light with a small NA.93: Measured bandwidth of a SI-POF according to [Rit93] . 2. By comparison. 4 MHz km to approx.65 theory based on far field width 20 50 Fig.10 and AN = 0. 2.000 2.000 500 200 100 50 20 bandwidth [MHz] launching conditions AN Launch = 0. In [Rit93] measured results for the bandwidth of standard NA-POF at launching conditions of AN = 0.65 10 30 100 300 fiber length [m] 1. In contrast.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 10. This suggests that mode dependent attenuation and mode conversion are the determining processes because they affect the bandwidth by changing the mode distribution.000 1.65 (Fig. 5 MHz km.2.000 bandwidth [MHz] 3. This is due to the effect of mode coupling and mode related attenuation. when launching with a large NA. 5.000 Fig. from approx. This suggests an increasing filling out of modal field.000 1. the bandwidth would also change without affecting the far field. if mode coupling were more pronounced.10 AN Launch = 0.

110 2. this model investigates modal groups that differ in their 2 angles of propagation (radial and azimuthally).94: Model for scattering centers in POF An indication of a non-uniform inner structure of the PMMA fiber is the photo (from Fei00 ) of the surface of a cut POF taken by a scanning electron microscope and shown in Fig. In variance to the model.95. 2. Instead of investigating separate modes. the measured bandwidth for short lengths (20 m) differs by more than an order of magnitude. Simulations provide good results if elongated scattering centers of 37 μm length and 2. In this work the remaining deviation between theory and measured values is explained by means of the mechanism of mode coupling.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers Here too.m range can clearly be seen.5 μm diameter are assumed in the fiber with random distribution and orientation along the axis of the fiber (caused by the drawing process).94. scattering centers Fig. 2. The fibril-like structures in the sub. The coupling between the modes is described by a diffusion constant that only takes into account the energy transfer in neighboring mode groups. 2. Fig. as shown schematically in Fig. 2. The authors calculate the bandwidth based on their own theory that follows the concept of the diffusion model. this is a factor that is not independent of the angle. The model also takes into account mode dependent attenuation. For large lengths the difference is reduced correspondingly.95: Microscopic structure of a PMMA POF cut ([Fei00]) .

5 mm 1.96: Measured POF bandwidth of a SI-POF according to [Kar92] Apart from the effect of the launching NA.0 mm 0. 2. However. 2. a larger bandwidth was found as well as a smaller light spot.2. For collimated light the relationship is reversed. Because all processes described up to this point are only dependent on the angle. 2.97). In each case collimated light or light with an angle adapted to the fiber's NA (UMD) was launched into the POF. when considering the fact that mode conversion can cause deviations in location and deviations in angle after just a short length of the specimen (see schematic in Fig. however.5 mm UMD 0. [Kar92] also investigates whether the bandwidth depends on the size of the launched beam.0 mm Fig. compared with complete illumination of the fiber cross-section. the differences are not as pronounced as when the launch angle is changed. very large differences result for short lengths of fibers.96 shows further experimental results for the bandwidth of polymer optical fibers [Kar92]. bending deviation in location deviation in angle Fig.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 111 Figure 2. As was the case in the results previously shown. 50 20 10 5 sample length [m] 2 5 10 20 50 100 200 500 bandwidth length product [MHz km] launching conditions collimated 1. for UMD launching. it seems surprising to find that the size of the launching spot has an effect on the measured bandwidth of SI fibers. The parameter shown in the figure here is the product of bandwidth and length. In fact.97: Conversion of spatial and angular distances . the result becomes understandable [Kar92].

5.000 Toray Mitsubishi [Kar92] Toray Mitsubishi [Kar92] 3.09 collimated 0. With the aid of adjustment screws the size as well as the position of the light spot can be changed.01 to 0.09 0.000 1.98: Measured bandwidth of different SI-POF according to [Poi00] length [m] 300 2.64 0.5 GHz bandwidth was used as a receiver.2 Bandwidth Measurements on SI-POF This section as well as the following four sections deals with bandwidth measurements conducted at the POF-AC Nürnberg. A singlemode glass fiber is mounted firmly to the laser diodes.112 2.000 theory 300 100 NALaunch: 0. These measurements qualitatively confirm the previous results. Using a combination of different microscope lenses and optical apertures the coupling angle in the area AN Launch = 0.99 shows the complete setup of the measurement device. Semiconductor diodes with a wavelength of 650 nm or 850 nm respectively served as transmitters. All measurements were carried out under uniform measurement conditions. Both lasers can be modulated analogously up to 2 GHz. The coupling spot is directly visible through a beam splitter.64 UMD 30 1 3 10 30 100 Fig. 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers In [Poi00] the results of [Kar92] are compared with current measurements on 2 standard NA-POF by Toray and Mitsubishi (Fig. 30.000 bandwidth [MHz] 10.3. . In order to attain mode independence the receiver was connected to a 1 mm mixed glass fiber bundle with a large NA.98). For very short lengths of samples the differences between small and large launching angles are even greater. Figure 2. 2. A commercial product on the basis of a 400 μm Si-PIN photodiode with an integrated preamplifier and about 1.64 can be varied.

100: Bandwidth measurement of a 1 mm SI-PMMA-POF .2. 2.33 0.000 2.09 0.46 1 mm standard POF made of cross-linked PMMA with AN = 0.000 500 200 100 50 20 5 10 20 50 100 length [m] B3dB [MHz] NAlaunch: 0. 2.75 5.19 0. An overview can be found in [Bun02a].54 1 mm polycarbonate POF with AN = 0.99: Experimental setup of bandwidth measuring by POF-AC The lengths and NA-dependent bandwidths were systematically measured for a series of different step index profile fibers.05 Fig.100 to 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 113 Fig.102 show the results for three types of fiber: 1 mm standard PMMA POF with AN = 0.64 0. The following Figs.48 0. 2.000 1.

For overfilled launch (large NA) the curves run flatter.48 AN = 0. 3.05 and 0. The next figure shows the results with a 1 mm POF made of modified PMMA (Toray PHKS CD1001).19 AN = 0.000 1.19 AN = 0.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers For a 1 mm PMMA POF (Toray PFU CD1000.09 AN = 0. The curves for under filled launch (small NA) fall more steeply than with length caused by a predominance of mode mixing.101: Bandwidth measurement of a 1 mm SI-mod. For short fiber lengths the bandwidths measured differ by almost a magnitude which demonstrates once again the importance of correct measurement conditions for correctly indicating the bandwidth values. 2. the measurement results are similar to a large degree to the results of the PMMA POF. Incidentally. test lengths of only up to 50 m could be measured.33 AN = 0. After a 100 m test length there still is a factor of two between the values measured.33 AN = 0. see also [Ziem04a]) 3 dB bandwidths for lengths between 5 m and 100 m were measured. Here the modedependent attenuation dominates.54.000 1.000 300 100 30 1 2 5 length [m] 10 20 B3 dB [MHz] NAlaunch: AN = 0.000 300 100 30 5 B3 dB [MHz] NAlaunch: AN = 0.05 AN = 0. The fiber is specified with a NA of 0.64 100 length [m] 10 20 50 Fig. 2.05 AN = 0.114 2. The coupling angle was changed for NA values between 0.102: Bandwidth measurement of a 1 mm SI-PC-POF .65 with the unit described above. PMMA-POF Since the losses of this fiber lie at about 300 dB/km at 650 nm.09 AN = 0. 3.64 Fig.48 AN = 0.

2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers

115

The third fiber tested is the polycarbonate POF FH4001 from Mitsubishi. The NA of the fiber lies at 0.75, the attenuation amounts to 650 nm at about 800 dB/km, whereby the maximum measurement length remains limited to 20 m. Surprisingly, the bandwidth differences between the three types of fiber are only very slight although there were clear differences in the NA. One explanation for this could be the greater effects for mode mixing and above all for the modedependent attenuation which occurred in the fibers made of modified PMMA and polycarbonate. Figures 2.103 and 2.104 illustrate the far fields of the three fibers in comparison (cf. [Bun02a]).
3.000 1.000 300 NALaunch = 0.33 100 30 2 length [m] 5 10 20 50 100 B3 dB [MHz] PC PHKS PMMA

Fig. 2.103: Comparison of the bandwidths of different SI-POF
1000 800 600 PMMA 400 200 [°] 0 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 40 PC

power [a.U.] mod. PMMA

Fig. 2.104: Comparison of the farfields of different SI-POF

The fibers of PMMA and PC - each after 10 m - have half-value widths of about 27°. The fibers of modified PMMA have only 17°. Here the share of modedependent attenuation predominates over the nominally larger NA.

116

2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers

Fig. 2.105: Comparison of the far fields of different SI-POF (3-d representations)

As part of the European Project POF-ALL (www.ist-pof-all.org) other comprehensive measurements of both length and launch-dependent bandwidths of different fibers were carried out. The following Figures 2.106 and 2.107 show the measurement results for a 1 mm standard POF (Luceat, high quality fiber) and for a 500 μm standard POF.
10,000 5,000 2,000 1,000 500 200 100 50 1 2 5 10 20 50 100 fiber length [m] B3 dB [MHz]

NALaunch 0.05 0.10 0.19 0.34 0.47 0.65

Fig. 2.106: Bandwidth measurements of a 1 mm SI-POF (Luceat, HQ)

Both fibers essentially show comparable results. Since the fibers also have very similar attenuation values they can be used in almost all the same applications. The advantages of the thinner fibers are primarily the smaller space needed, an important point with multiple cables, and the smaller bending radius. The argument that the fibers with a smaller core diameter would enable higher bit rates or better receiver sensitivity because of the smaller photodiodes has for the most part since been dropped because of technical developments.

2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers

117

10,000 5,000

B3 dB [MHz]

NALaunch 0.05

2,000 1,000 500 200 100 50 1 2 5 10 20

0.10 0.19 0.34 0.47 0.65

50 100 fiber length [m]

Fig. 2.107: Bandwidth measurements of a 0.5 mm SI-POF

2.5.3.3 Bandwidth Measurements on MC- and MSI-POF Multicore and multistep index profile POFs allow significantly greater bandwidths than conventional step index profile fibers. In the case of MC-POFs the differences in propagation time between the different individual cores, in addition to mode dispersion, have to be added. The pure length differences, however, should hardly play a role. The pure path differences alone between the modes amount to about 6% at a maximum propagation angle of 20° in the fiber. Since the fibers lie well-ordered in the MC-POF the geometric differences in length lie at the most in the thousandth range. Of greater significance is the fact that the fibers in the MC-POF are deformed in different ways. For example, differences among the fibers in the middle and at the edge of the bundle can already be seen in the attenuation. These differences are also formed for the mode selective processes resulting in different average propagation speeds in the individual cores.

launching with magnified light spot: - medium fibers obtain small angles only - outer fibers obtain large angles

launching with mode field converter: - all fibers obtain around the same optical power and rays of all angles

Fig. 2.108: Optimal launching into multicore fibers

109: Bandwidth measurements of a 37-cores MC-POF (measured on single samples) 2. see also [Ziem02a]).19 AN = 0. The coupling unit shines into a short piece of SI fiber with a large NA.108. 2.33 AN = 0.000 500 MCS 1000 217 cores launch NA: AN = 0. Here we wish to present the results of the bandwidth measurements of two 1 mm MC-POFs with 37 cores (Fig. The difference between this arrangement as opposed to a simple widening of the light spot is depicted schematically in Fig.09 AN = 0.19 AN = 0. 2. As indicated above.110.000 B3 dB [MHz] 1.48 AN = 0. there are in the meantime different MC-POFs.64 200 100 20 30 40 60 80 100 length [m] Fig. 2. 2. 2.109) and 217 cores (Fig.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers In order to register these effects when making a measurement.48 AN = 0. The far field distribution remains intact as the light is distributed over the fiber cross-section. This ensures that the individual fibers receive approximately identical light intensity and comparable angle distributions.000 500 PMC 1000 37 cores launch NA: AN = 0.33 AN = 0.110: Bandwidth measurements of a 217-core MC-POF (measured on single samples) .64 200 length [m] 100 20 30 40 60 80 100 Fig. 2.09 AN = 0.118 2.000 B3 dB [MHz] 1. a so-called mode field converter (MFC) is used.

The reason for this is the strong mode-dependent attenuation which. The bandwidth of this fiber is almost independent of the launch conditions.000 NALaunch 5.65 2. The results for the two different NA are shown in Fig. as described above. they are not yet ready to go into mass production.000 1.112 shows the frequency response. The youngest product so far is the ESKA MIU from Mitsubishi-Rayon. a fiber with three different layers. The reason is the very great mode dependence of the attenuation.111: Bandwidth measurements of a MC-POF (measurements on a single fiber sample.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 119 Both fiber types show considerably greater bandwidth values compared to standard SI-POF. Using a laser coupling it has been possible to transmit 1 Gbit/s over this fiber for 100 m. This fiber possesses a double step index structure. B3 dB [MHz] 10.3 1 3 10 30 100 fiber length [m] Fig. a bandwidth of almost 300 MHz was ascertained. .05 0. 2.000 0. cut-back method) Multi step index fibers have already been introduced by different manufacturers.2. Using a sample length of 100 m of this fiber.111.1 0. occurs intensively with very thin fibers and leads to a equilibrium mode distribution after very short lengths. Systematic investigations of the bandwidth have been carried out at the POF-AC on a 37 core POF sample with a relatively small diameter (400 μm).000 500 200 0. especially since the dependence on the coupling conditions is very small. The 37 core fiber above all shows hardly any drop in the bandwidth over great lengths. Figure 2. 2. However.

The only commercially available measuring system that can be used for this special task is the optical oscilloscope from Hamamatsu (described in the Chapter on measurement techniques). The measuring conditions lie close to the “worst case scenario”.64 10 20 50 100 200 500 1000 frequency [MHz] Fig. can clearly fluctuate with slightly altered launch conditions. Then again the size of the diode limits the bandwidth of the detector. only measurements in the time domain are possible. For PMMA POF the maximum measuring lengths lie between 50 m to 100 m. the attenuation is relatively high with polymer fibers so that the sample lengths can not be very great because of the limited dynamics of the measuring system. level [dB] NA 0. however. with a VCSEL transmitter. The bandwidths of PMMA GI-POF and PF-GI-POF have been measured at the POF-AC. The detector must be relatively large in order to record most all modes and thus obtain a meaningful bandwidth measurement. The optical bandwidth of the fiber at 1.114. POFs have a relatively large core diameter. On the other hand. e. However.504 MHz was ascertained by adapting the measuring curve to a Gaussian function.113 and 2. 2. The transmission functions for the PMMA GI-PF OM-Giga from Optimedia (see also [Yoo04].10 NA 0. see [Gou04]) are illustrated in Fig. [Rich04]) and a PF-GI-POF (Nexans. 2.120 3 0 -3 -6 -9 -12 -15 -18 -21 -24 2.112: Frequency responses of a 100 m MSI-POF 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers rel.5. . This value. For PF GI-POF lengths of some 100 m can be used. When there is under-launching.34 NA 0.4 Bandwidth Measurements on GI-POF The bandwidth measurements of graded index profile fibers are associated with a series of particular difficulties. even greater values can be attained.3. First of all.g.

34.34 f3 dB opt. an optical oscilloscope is a practicable device.504 MHz Fig. electr. 650 nm) In order also to be able to measure bandwidths of several GHz with thick core fibers. = 1.000 50 m OM-Giga LD = 650 nm ANLaunch = 0.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 121 rel. .113: Frequency response of 50 m OM-Giga (AN = 0.000 μm 250 200 150 length [m] 100 15 25 35 45 55 65 MPOF: 500 μm Abb 2. 350 pulse broadening [ps] 300 Optimedia 1.2.4 GHz. 2. In [Lwin06] the results for the OM-Giga are shown compared with the microstructured POF (with effective graded index profile). whereby the widening of a short laser pulse (about 120 ps) is measured.114: Pulse broadening measurement of a MPOF and GI-POF A pulse width of about 340 ps corresponds approximately to an optical bandwidth of 1. level [dB] 0 -1 -2 -3 -4 -5 frequency [MHz] -6 10 20 50 100 200 500 1. The value matches pretty much the measurements in the frequency range when taking the various problems of measurement techniques with such large frequencies into account.

the glass fiber bundles from the Schott manufacturing company are measured. The fiber bandwidth does not recognizably change when coupling in at great angles. Consequently. somewhat in the range of conventional multimode graded index glass fibers (cf. 2. this fiber type can be used alternatively to the 1 mm St. further results in [Bach01]).5.116 the frequency response for various coupling conditions are shown.600 MHz for both fibers. electr.-NA POF when either high temperatures or very tight bending radii are necessary ([Lub04b]).50. The bandwidthlength product is at about 500 MHz · km. The NA of the fiber lies at 0.3. The fibers have been hot pressed into the plug so that the overall diameter is about 1 mm. In Fig. With full mode launch the measured bandwidth amounts to about 150 MHz · 20 m which is almost exactly the same value as for SI-POF with a comparable NA. The bundle consists of about 400 individual fibers each having a diameter of 53 μm. First. 2.5 Bandwidth Measurements on MC-GOF and PCS The bandwidth measurement of multimode glass fibers proceeds according to the same principles. level [dB] +1 0 -1 -2 -3 -4 -5 -6 0 LD measurement 650 nm Gaussian fit 650 nm measurement 850 nm Gaussian fit 850 nm 300 m PF-GI-POF = 650 nm/850 nm ANLaunch = 0.115: Frequency response of a PF-GI-POF The 3 dB bandwidths are around 1. rel. 2. .5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers The next illustration shows the frequency response for a PF-GI-POF at the wavelengths 650 nm and 850 nm together with the fitted Gaussian functions.10 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 frequency [MHz] Fig.122 2.

level [dB] 20 m fiber at 650 nm launch NA: -8 -10 -12 -14 -16 10 AN = 0. Figure 2. electr. 2.117: Length. Fig.118 shows the results. In order to be able to make measurements relatively independently of mode. .2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 123 2 0 -2 -4 -6 rel.10 1.50 = 650nm launch NA: 300 length [m] 100 2 5 10 20 50 AN = 0.and NA-dependent bandwidth of MC-GOF Finally.116: Bandwidth measurement of 20 m MC-GOF In another series of measurements the length dependence of the bandwidth of MC-GOF was investigated.64 AN = 0. the bandwidth for different lengths was determined using a 650 nm laser. 2.34 AN = 0.60 AN = 0.117 shows the results for 3 different launch conditions.46 AN = 0. The bandwidth decreases almost linearly with the length so that one can assume that the influence of mode mixing is relatively small. 2.34 AN = 0. B3 dB [MHz] 3. a 1 m long SI-POF was used as an adapter fiber at both the transmitter and the receiver.000 Fig.64 20 50 100 200 500 f [MHz] 1000 Fig.10 AN = 0.000 1 mm MC-GOF 375 cores NAfiber: 0.

was laid out for this measurement as a loose bundle with a diameter of about 30 cm (see also [Ziem04a]). opt. In Fig.46 length [m] 500 Fig. 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers B3 dB. At the POF-AC predominantly fibers with a core diameter of 200 μm . Another glass fiber version which has gained increasing attention is the PCS.118: Bandwidth of a MC-GOF excited by a laser source This type of fiber is suitable for the transmission of data rates in the Gbit/s range over lengths of 10 m to 20 m. The fiber. For a full launch. This value can be achieved for an under filled launch.17 0.the most commonly used value were measured. i.26 0. 2000 1000 500 200 100 50 20 10 200 μm PCS loose bundle 20 50 100 200 B3 dB [MHz] launch NA: 0.09 0.119 the length and launch-dependent results for a typical PCS are represented.e. 200/230 μm with a 500 μm primary coating. however. silica glass fibers with a polymer cladding. The typical NA lies around 0. [MHz] 500 excitation by laser NAlaunch 0.34 0.02 0.119: Bandwidth of a 200 μm PCS This fiber was specified with a bandwidth of 100 MHz · 100 m. However.37.30 = 650 nm 200 length [m] 100 10 20 30 40 50 60 Fig. 2. you can only attain about 60 MHz · 100 m. there are versions available with a NA up to 0.48.124 1000 2. 2. the bandwidth of PCS should lie in the range of DSI-POF. The differences between the different launch condi- . Accordingly.

30 Fig.120: Bandwidth of a 200 μm PCS The results pretty much agree for short fiber lengths.20 0. whereby the fiber was wound around a spool. 3 dB [MHz] 250 m PCS fiber on a spool loose bundle launch NA 0.121.17 0.09 0. The results are shown in Fig. For longer lengths. 2.34 0.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 125 tions hardly decreases with fiber lengths up to 250 m.10 0.120.26 0. The measurement was repeated for the same type of fiber. 2. 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0.40 0.50 .00 0.121: Bandwidth comparison of 250 m PCS Bopt. Mode mixing hardly occurs with this measurement. This can only be explained by a recognizable increase in the mode mixing. however. 2000 1000 500 200 100 50 bandwidth [MHz] launch NA: 0. 2. The bandwidths dependent on the coupling NA are compared for 250 m long samples in Fig.2.46 200 μm PCS fiber on a spool 20 50 100 length [m] 200 500 20 10 Fig.02 0. the differences roughly disappear between the different launch conditions for the rolled up PCS. 2.

200 ± 0. two different types of fibers were specified: customary in the USA: 62. 2. .126 2. Unfortunately. Articles providing an overview include [Oeh02] and [Bun03a].015) customary worldwide: 50/125 μm fiber (AN = 0. A comparison between the launch-dependent bandwidths is represented in Fig.5 launch NA Fig. too.015) The typical bandwidth-length product is 160 MHz · km to 200 MHz · km (62. then a lot of work still has to be done in this area.4 0. The limiting factor is the refractive index dip in the middle of the fiber which is caused by the production technology.275 ± 0. With GI glass fibers. The specified bandwidth-length products of 10 to 20 MHz · km could be attained for all fibers examined only with under filled launch.5/125 μm fiber (AN = 0.0 0. exist for a bandwidth of 50/125 μm GI glass fibers.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers Examinations of the different types of 200 μm SI-PCS confirm the measurements mentioned above. Originally.122: Bandwidth dependence on launch conditions for 5 different PCS types A number of publications. Should PCS seriously advance into areas of application in which the available bandwidth is to be completely used.3 0. 40 30 20 15 10 8 6 B L [MHz km] 4 0.5 μm) when using an 850 nm LED as emitter. keeping the exact parabolic index profile as well as the mode-selective coupling play the most important role in achieving large bandwidths. especially in regard to applications in the GigabitEthernet and 10Gigabit-Ethernet ranges. none of the currently active manufacturers provided any data on measurement conditions for the bandwidths indicated.2 0. 500 MHz · km is attained with 1.122. 2.1 0.300 nm laser emitters. Even the corresponding standards are completely missing.

The last fiber presented here is the semi-GI-PCS described above.0 1.5 1.000 OM3 550m 10Gbit Ethernet 50 3. Emitter with so-called Restricted Mode Launch (RML) or Effective Laser Launch (EL) respectively. the NA of the emitter may not be too large.300 nm BW 850 nm (OFL) BW 1. In order to be able to transmit high data rates.500 500 4. for example. OM2 fibers are also limited to about 80 m. Use of the new OM3 fiber class which has been optimized for the employment of 850 nm VCSEL. three different procedures have been suggested: Splitting the data rate into 4 × 2. An overview of the specified characteristics of the different GI-GOFs is presented in Table 2.5 1. . Specific products can on occasion clearly surpass these parameters.300 nm (OFL) BW 850 nm (LD) [μm] [dB/km] [dB/km] [MHz km] [MHz km] [MHz km] Unit OM1 Fast Ethernet 50/62.5 1.700 (OFL: Overfilled Launch) Other less customary fiber types are.0 3. OM3 10Gbit Ethernet 50 3.500 500 2.14. whereby the power is coupled if possible within the annulus with a diameter of between 4.5 200 500 n. 2. GI-GOF with a core diameter of 100 μm and a cladding diameter of 140 μm.5 3. The first range limitations (maximum of 275 m at 850 nm emitters and 62.d.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 127 For fast Ethernet (125 Mbit/s) the bandwidths entirely suffice to bridge distances of up to 1 km. At 200 MHz · km the results lie in the range of the fiber specifications. In the worst case a data rate of 10 Gbit/s could be transmitted on OM1 fibers over about only 30 m. Moreover.5 500 500 n.2. Table 2.123 shows the frequency response of a 500 m long sample with three different launch conditions.5 μm fiber) arise with Gigabit-Ethernet so that a new class of fibers (OM2) has been defined which generally guarantees a transmission range of 550 m.d.5 1. The measurement conditions become extremely more noticeable here so that the measurement results shown may not be conclusively representative. OM2 Gigabit Ethernet 50/62.14: Properties of MM-GI glass fibers Class typical applications coreat 850 nm at 1. Fig.5 Gbit/s which are then transmitted by WDM on a fiber.5 3.5 μm and 19 μm.

34 AN = 0. 2. .64 10 100 f [MHz] 1000 Fig.03 .124: Bandwidth of a Semi-GI-PCS The bandwidth-length product of the fiber was determined as having values between 24 and 55 MHz · km which clearly lies above the specification of 100 MHz · km.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers rel. power [dB] 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 -10 -12 1 3 10 30 100 300 frequency [MHz] 500 m Semi-GI-PCS AN Launch = 0.10 AN = 0. level [dB] 500 m fiber at 650 nm launch NA: AN = 0.124 first shows the frequency response with a 500 m long sample for 6 different launch conditions measured at a wavelength of 650 nm. rel. opt. electr.64 Fig. 2. 0. Bandwidths with their length and launch dependence are also determined for this type of fiber.128 1 0 -1 -2 -3 -4 -5 -6 -7 -8 1 2..125 summarizes the results. 2. 2. Fig.123: Frequency response of a 100 μm GI-GOF Fig.

whereby a method was used in which a light pulse circulates in a 100 m long ring and passes an acousto-optic modulator after every pass.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 3000 B3 dB [MHz] launch NA: AN = 0.0 2. The specified bandwidth value could only be determined in short fiber lengths with under filled launch. opt. Evidently.5 4.0 3.125: Bandwidth measurement of Semi-GI-PCS What is striking is the low dependence of the bandwidth on the launch conditions with longer sample lengths.126: Frequency responses of a Semi-GI-PCS according to [Aiba04] The bandwidths thus determined are shown in Fig. 0 -2 -4 -6 -8 f [GHz] -10 0. determined by Fourier transformation. 2.126. 2.26 AN = 0.17 AN = 0.2.0 0.5 3. there is a significant exchange of energy between the SI and GI modes in the fiber.09 AN = 0.25 and SI modes are for the most part suppressed. 2. are shown in Fig. The results for the frequency response.34 AN = 0.127. Bandwidth measurements on semi-GI PCS have also been published by [Aiba04] and [Aiba05]. The values lie higher by a factor of ten than the values measured with full launch on long fibers.5 2. The numerical aperture of the coupling optics amounts to only 0.0 1. This . power [dB] 1st circulation 10th circulation Fig.46 129 1000 300 100 length [m] 30 10 20 50 100 200 500 1000 Fig. 2.5 1.02 AN = 0.0 rel.

Multicore fibers and fiber bundles permit smaller NAs with the same bending radius and thus greater bandwidths.8 0. with which the bandwidth can clearly be increased.130 2.5.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers reveals impressively how important correct specifications of the measurement conditions are when indicating bandwidth values. measurements should always be made with UMD (full launch) or EMD (equilibrium mode distribution).5 1. Strong mode-dependent attenuation increases the bandwidth of fibers. However. The diameter of the fiber does not play any role in regard to the bandwidth. but it also leads to a rise in transmission losses.it should be parabolic when the chromatic dispersion is disregarded. Graded index profiles increase the bandwidth up to two magnitudes.0 0. the index profile must be as ideal as possible .3 100 length [m] 200 400 600 1000 Fig. In the case of a non-ideal GI profile a large bandwidth can still be attained through a selective launch. opt. In addition. 2. . The succinct statement in the Sumitomo data sheet that “the bandwidth can change under other measurement conditions” is of little help. than a GI profile. The bandwidth of fibers greatly depends on the launch and detection conditions. 2. the chromatic dispersion especially with glass GI fibers has to be taken into account (this will be discussed in the next paragraph).6 0.4 B3 dB. [GHz] semi-GI -PCS 0.3. Important effects are: The bandwidth drops with the square of the numerical aperture by increasing the differences in propagation time among the individual modes.127: Bandwidth of a Semi-GI-PCS according to [Aiba04] 2. The difference can be » 10 for short fiber lengths.0 1.6 Comparison of Bandwidth Measurements and Calculations The diverse measurements of fiber bandwidths show that the same principles are essentially valid for thick glass and polymer fibers. When stating the bandwidth in data sheets. It is technically easier to produce a multi-stepped index profile.

2.which has just about been confirmed by measurements.50) and PCS (NA: 0.not yet placed in cables . [MHz] 1. The angle-dependent attenuation of a typical PCS fiber is illustrated in Fig.129.129: Mode dependent loss of a PCS (at 650 nm) .000 PCS.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 131 Semi-GI fibers have large bandwidths. depending on the degree of induced mode coupling. B3 dB. above all over short lengths and when coupling into small angles.under laboratory conditions can depend to a great extent on the external conditions. Both measurement curves run approximately parallel which suggests similar magnitudes in mode-dependent processes. 225 excess loss [dB/km] 200 175 150 125 100 75 50 25 0 -25 -20 -15 -10 -5 fiber length 50 m 100 m 200 m [°] 0 5 10 15 20 25 Fig. NALaunch = 0.128.48 POF.64 300 100 30 length [m] 3 10 30 100 Fig. 2. The bandwidth of individual fibers . 2. A comparison between POF and PCS is particularly interesting since both can be used alternatively in many applications. the PCS should show about 50% greater bandwidth because of its smaller NA . 2.2. NALaunch = 0. opt.37) Theoretically. The length-dependent bandwidths of both types of fiber with full launch are illustrated in Fig.128: Bandwidth comparison of POF (fiber-NA: 0.

2.-NA-POF 200 μm PCS DSI-POF SI-MC-POF Semi-GI-PCS DSI-MC-POF MSI-POF OM-Giga GI-GOF OM1 GI-GOF OM2 PF-GI-POF GI-GOF OM3 OM3 mit LD 1 10 100 1.131: Bandwidth comparison of different optical fibers (typical values) . 2.000 50 μm 50 μm bandwidth [MHz·km] Fig.5 μm Ø: 50 μm Ø: 120 μm Ø: Ø: 10. 2. can clearly deviate for specific products or under different measurement conditions. This explains the similar behavior even if the core material itself has a very much lower attenuation. PC-POF MC-GOF St.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers attenuation [dB/km] 50 m 300 200 100 m 100 11 dB/km 0 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 [°] 30 Fig. A schematic comparison of typical bandwidth values for the different multimode fibers described above are illustrated in Fig. as already mentioned several times.000 Ø: 1000 μm Ø: 1000 μm Ø: 1000 μm Ø: 200 μm Ø: 1000 μm Ø: 1000 μm Ø: 200 μm Ø: 1000 μm Ø: 750 μm Ø: 900 μm Ø: 62. the intensity of which is comparable to POF.130: Mode dependent loss of a Semi-GI-PCS (at 650 nm) PCS does indeed show very large mode-dependent attenuation.132 400 2. The values.131.

In the typical application range of optical fibers this value is negative which means that with increasing wavelength the delay becomes smaller (corresponding to greater speed). If singlemode fiber is used. A pulse with a certain spec- . Figure 2.2. This constant indicates by how much a signal's delay will vary with the wavelength. with spectral singlemode lasers and with very high data rates. 2.400 1. Chromatic and polarization mode dispersion can be compensated for as one likes. 200 dispersion [ps/(nm km)] 0 -200 -400 -600 -800 -1.200 1. In addition. When we differentiate the propagation constants according to wavelength. Figure 2. however.000 1. then nowadays there is practically no longer any bandwidth limit.132 shows the chromatic dispersion for silica glass. 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 133 The bandwidths of the fibers presented vary over more than 3 magnitudes.600 wavelength [nm] PF-Polymer silica glass PMMA Fig.000 -1.5.133 shows a schematic illustration of the effect of chromatic dispersion on a light pulse that has a given spectral width. The significance of chromatic dispersion will be discussed in the next section. usually expressed in ps/nm·km. This effect only plays a role.132: Dispersion of different materials Typical semiconductor sources feature certain spectral widths that range from some 10 nm for LED up to a few MHz for lasers (corresponding to some 10-5 nm). we obtain the so-called chromatic dispersion. there is the fact that when a light source is modulated there is always a spectral broadening that cannot be less than a certain theoretical limit. however. PMMA and a typical fluorinated polymer (according to [Koi97a]). Mode dispersion no longer arises.4 Chromatic Dispersion in Polymer Optical Fibers In all optical media we can observe the effect that the speed of propagation of light of different wavelengths differs.200 400 500 600 700 800 900 1.

The chromatic dispersion of PMMA-POF with over 300 ps/nm·km at 650 nm wavelength is over 20 times larger than of silica fibers at 1. However. For 2. The situation is significantly different for POF. What matters here essentially is the broadening effect that is brought about by the data itself. 2. whereby the shorter wave components arrive first.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers trum of the width is launched into the fiber.38 as well). For POF it is also usual to use LED with a typical spectral width of 20 nm to 40 nm and not lasers that have just a few tenths of a nanometer of spectral width.550 nm wavelength. all systems that have many inline fiber amplifiers or higher bit rates require devices to counteract chromatic dispersion. 1 nm corresponds to approximately 125 GHz of spectral width. Conventional 2. Table 2. This means that for a data rate of 10 Gbit/s a spectrum in the range of one-tenth nm is generated. DFB-laser diodes are predominantly used for long-distance systems. After passing through the fiber (length L) and experiencing a certain amount of dispersion D. spectral shape of the source t=DL POF t input pulse length L output pulse broadening by time t Fig. 2. the fiber link may have a length of approximately 30 km. (cf.5 Gbit/s systems can operate without specific actions against dispersion. the value for chromatic dispersion at 17 ps/nm·km lies within the range of the smallest fiber attenuation at 1.550 nm wavelength. there are the typically short distances of POF systems and the moderate bit rates.133: Influence of chromatic dispersion For silica singlemode fibers. width Fig.15 lists some examples for the effect of chromatic dispersion in POF systems. On the other hand. the pulse has the = D · L · . the spectral width of which is a maximum of a few MHz.5 Gbit/s this value rapidly increases to approximately 500 km due to the narrower spectrum and the greater pulse broadening permitted.05 ns. Today. In this case. Where the permissible bit broadening is 0. The most common method today is the use of dispersion compensating fibers with strong negative dispersion.134 2. Since these fibers utilize waveguide dispersion they can only be produced as singlemode fibers. .

In most cases this selection is required anyway due to the limited modulation bandwidth of LED. It may. These fibers are designed for use in Gbit/s systems operating at spectral ranges between 800 nm and 1. Here pulse broadening is nearly in the same range as the bit length.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers Table 2. Fluorinated graded index profile polymer fibers feature significantly reduced chromatic dispersion compared with PMMA-POF. the theoretical bandwidth of polymer fibers is calculated on the basis of two essential assumptions. and in particular step index fibers. pulse broadening is less than one ½ the bit length so that there is only a small effect on the system. and for even higher requirements DFB laser diodes. In the first place.75 ns 12 % of the bit time 2. it is relatively difficult to illuminate all modes uniform at the entrance of the fiber. One assumption is that the launch of light at the fiber entrance takes place in uniform mode distribution and that the detector will receive all modes. In many cases .375 ns 2 % of the bit time 0.500 Mbit/s / 200 m Wavelength/ Spectr. The last row shows that in such a case chromatic dispersion can be neglected even for a transmission length of a few 100 m. When this deteriorating effect due to mode dispersion is added. The second assumption is that the attenuation of all modes is nearly constant. These primarily include RC-LED and VCSEL (see Chapter 4).5 Methods for Increasing Bandwidth Generally. to the Bit Length 0.300 nm. the spectral width of which is a few nanometers at most.5. not least due to the smaller core diameters. It is for these demands only that laser diodes can be considered.2. Even in the unfavorable case of using green LED.8 ns 43 % of the bit time 1. When using data rates from ½ Gbit/s to 1 Gbit/s. the intention is to transmit an IEEE1394 S400 data stream (with 500 Mbit/s physical data rate) over a distance of 70 m using a green LED. 2. be possible to partially provide electrical compensation. Width 650 nm LED 20 nm FWHM 650 nm LED 40 nm FWHM 525 nm LED 40 nm FWHM 525 nm LED 40 nm FWHM 650 nm LD 2 nm FWHM Pulse Broadening/ rel. the use of spectrally narrower sources becomes necessary. whereby higher optical receiving power is required. However. in practice polymer fibers. for example. one can see that this system can only work with considerable additional efforts.05 ns 12 % of the bit time 135 SI-POF ATMF DSI-POF ATMF DSI-POF IEEE1394 MC-POF STM16 PF-GI-POF The first three examples are based on LED for transmitting data rates up to 155 Mbit/s over a maximum length of 100 m. show completely different behavior. In the fourth example.96 ns 98 % of the bit time 0.15: Influence of chromatic dispersion in POF systems Example Bit Rate/ POF-Length 50 Mbit/s / 50 m 155 Mbit/s / 50 m 155 Mbit/s / 100 m 500 Mbit/s / 70 m 2.

for high bit-rate data transmission this situation can in practice also be beneficially exploited as shown by the following examples. These lasers emit collimated light so that only a small proportion of the POF modes can be excited. . Figure 2. as shown in Chapter 7. both before as well as after the POF link. This is a very undesirable effect when attempting to define characteristics by making measurements of this kind. When using glow lamps or discharge lamps. high pass (8 pF 200 ). bends and splices high pass filter for dispersion precompensation Fig.134: Methods for increasing bandwidth (cf. However.11. Detection with low NA (modes with large delay differences are blanked out). The following components were utilized: Launch with a small AN = 0. Pre-distortion of the LD excitation signal (peaking). p. To date the most significant increases in bandwidth for a POF system have been described in [Bat92] (see also [Bat96a] and [Yas93]). optical devices are used to collimate the light to the fiber. 441 as well) high pass filter for dispersion postcompensation Launching light at a small angle as well as detecting just a selected angle range has the effect of restricting the modes involved in signal transmission and thus reducing pulse broadening.16. is even more problematical. high pass (33 pF 51 ). launch with small angle IN detection with small angles OUT fiber without connectors. It was possible to transmit at more than 500 Mbit/s across a distance of 100 m of standard NA-POF (see also chapter 6). 2.136 2. as summarized in Table 2. However. For this reason it is difficult to find lenses that actually work with consistent efficiency in the given acceptance range. All this has the effect in a concrete experiment of increasing the deviations of the actual bandwidth in comparison with the theoretical limit value. thereby exciting only a few modes with only small differences in delay. the exact wavelength of which is often required for measuring purposes. Dispersion compensation behind the receiver.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers laser diodes are used where the emitting angle is significantly smaller than the angle of acceptance of a SI-POF. all these measures are usually at the expense of a reduced power budget.134 demonstrates the most important methods for increasing the bandwidth of a POF. The use of solid-state lasers or gas lasers. It is possible to electrically compensate for the resulting low pass behavior.

the use of high data rates is of interest in various applications. on the other hand. Figure 2. Daimler Chrysler. We begin with an illustration of the electrical spectrum of the emitting signal at the laser with and without peaking (1. POF attenuation across very short distances is hardly of importance.137 ([Zam00b].16: Consequences of different bandwidth increasing methods Method Penalty for the Power Budget due to: 137 peaking low NA launch lowering of source modulation depth decreasing POF coupled optical power for sources with broad emission angle low NA detection loss of light with high propagation angle at the fiber output post compensation amplified noise at higher frequencies It follows that the use of such methods is of particular interest in systems that have adequate power reserves.25 shows theoretical considerations with respect to the POF bandwidth at different launching angles (Gaussian shaped far field with 3 dB width calculated relative to fiber NA) according to [Bun99a]. A high pass filter which dampens lower frequencies and lets high frequencies pass through without losses is switched between the modulation input and the laser. Chapter 6 will describe experiments for transmitting Gbit/s over distances of 10 m to 100 m conducted by T-Nova GmbH. .5 1. [Ziem00a] and [Ziem00c]).000 500 200 100 50 20 10 10 length [m] 20 50 100 200 500 B3 dB [MHz] rel. 2. The small differences in propagation time result in large bandwidths.7 1. 1. and the influence of the launch conditions gradually disappears.2 Gbit/s. launch NA (NAfiber = 1) 0. NRZ.2 Fig.5 0.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers Table 2. 2. pseudo-random bit sequence). After approx.2. With short lengths and small launch NAs the light remains concentrated in areas with small propagation angles. the University of Ulm.136 and 2. the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits Nuremberg and the POF-AC Nürnberg. 100 m of fiber equilibrium mode distribution is just about reached through mode mixing.0 1.135: Theoretical bandwidth with different launching conditions ([Bun99a]) The principle of peaking is demonstrated in Fig. This behavior corresponds to a great degree to the measurement results described above.7 1.0 2.

0 1.138 0 -10 -20 -30 -40 -50 -60 -70 -80 2. [Vin04b] and [Ziem03g]).0 3.e. 2. [Kich99] and [Yas93]. For the pulses this means steeper edges and overshoot at the beginning and end.5 4. between the threshold current and the maximum current. 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 relative amplitude with peaking without peaking Giehmann 2000 time [ns] 10 20 30 40 50 60 0 Fig.200 Mbit/s with NRZ coding. This reduces the actual power per pulse compared with rectangular pulses. [Ziem00a].0 0.5 Fig. hence the term peaking. i.137.0 0.5 3.138 summarizes the bit rates and transmitted distances of different high-rate transmission systems using SI-POF ([Scha00]. The twinstage pre-distortion filter dampens the signal by 12 dB in the low frequency range so that the higher frequencies can create a stronger modulation.0 2.136: Modulation spectrum with and without peaking In the experiment. the data rate was 1. 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers rel. as shown in Fig. [Vin04a]. The peaks at the beginning and the end of the pulse must lie within the admissible operating range of the laser. Chapter 6 contains detailed expla- . power [dB] without peaking with peaking Giehmann frequency [GHz] 1. 2. Figure 2.5 2.137: Laser modulation signal with/without peaking The disadvantage of peaking can be clearly recognized in the diagram.

-NA system with DSI-POF system with MC-POF UMD-limit St. That means that above all the limit frequencies of the high passes must be adapted very precisely to the frequency response of the link. Particularly for greater lengths the potential for exceeding the limit is considerable. the next step is to select the maximum fiber length for which this compensation is still just sufficient. 2. the result will be too much or too little compensation so that the pulses become distorted.000 POF-AC T-Nova POF-AC UNI Ulm POF-AC POF-AC Bates ´93 system with St. bit rate [Mbit/s] 3. such as is necessary.2. in 1000BaseT-systems.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 139 nations of the different systems.-NA UMD-limit DSI-POF 1. It is generally true that extreme dispersion compensation must be adaptive in its execution. In commercial systems it is desirable to avoid having to use automatic adaptations.138: Bit rates of different POF systems (status 2003) It is easily discernible that a number of systems with standard NA-POF are significantly above the theoretical limits. As shown in the next section. Such a change may. however even a bend in the fiber may have the same effect. The diagram also shows the theoretical limits for the bandwidth of standard NA-POF and DSI-POF (assuming NRZ coding and bit rate = 2 3-dB bandwidth).139. or having to provide specific receivers for different cable lengths. for example. 2. for example. the practical application presents some problems such as the bending behavior. based on this level of compensation.000 500 200 Daimler Chrysler IEEE 1394 ATM 155 100BaseFX Bates ´92 Kaiser ´92 100 10 20 50 100 200 POF-length [m] Fig. One practical solution is to adjust the compensation in such a way that there is just-tolerable over-compensation for short lengths of fiber. occur as a result of different lengths of cable. . If the frequency response changes. A schematic illustration is shown in Fig.

140 2. The losses of the mode mixer are approximately 2.29 POF source receiver mode filter Fig. By using a mode filter immediately after the transmitter. 2.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers increasing transmission distance frequency response of the POF link (dispersion limited) f f f f compensation filter (fixed) resulting frequency response f f overcompensation f optimized compensation f f undercompensation Fig. the light angle range in the fiber is reduced as shown schematically in Fig. this method is equivalent to the method of light launching using a smaller NA. AN 0.5 dB which is perfectly acceptable in many applications. . With this method it was possible to achieve an improvement in bandwidth by 53% and 89% respectively for two standard NA-POF provided by Mitsubishi and Toray. If required. 2. 2.43 AN 0.139: Compensation of dispersion for various transmission distances A proposal for increasing the bandwidth by direct interference with the optical path is described in [Kal99].140. though probably much easier to implement because no optical components are required and only a simple mechanical clamp needs to be placed on the fiber.140: Increased bandwidth with a mode filter ([Kal99]) Basically. this can be repeated in the middle of the link or before the receiver.

The deterioration of the signal-to-noise ratio at the receiver through the bandwidth limitation is called penalty (measured in dB). This means that the eye is completely open with ideally adapted filtering.5.141: Definition of penalty system with noise and with limited bandwidth . Thus. If the system bandwidth is smaller than half of the bit rate. the transition from the zero symbol to the one symbol and vice versa takes place within the bit duration.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers 141 2. U U U1 U2 t t system without noise and with sufficiend bandwidth .2. The relationship between signal-tonoise ratio.the eye open completely U U system without noise and with limited bandwidth .6 Bit Rates and Penalty In general. 500 MHz are needed to transmit 1000 Mbit/s. then the symbol transition needs more time resulting in a reduction of the vertical eye opening. optical transmission systems are set up in such a way that the system bandwidth amounts to at least 50% of the bit rate with NRZ transmission. 2.the eye is open completely SNR = 20·log(US/UN) Fig.the eye in closed partially penalty: 20·log(U2/U1) UN US t t system with noise and with sufficient bandwidth . 2.the eye is more closed SNR is decreased by penalty .141. In other words. receiving level and penalty is shown in Fig. This effect must either be compensated for through adapted filtering or the reduced eye opening is compensated for by a correspondingly higher receiving level.

2. certain detection would be relatively difficult since the sampling moment and the decision threshold have to be re-adjusted very exactly. If there is sufficiently large bandwidth. 25 penalty [dB] 20 15 10 5 0 0. which are necessary for POF or PCS.40 0.142. however. The large diode capacitance produces as a rule a relatively dramatic low-pass effect when using large photodiodes. Under laboratory conditions data communication can also be carried out with high penalty. measurements are always made at the maximum bit rate. i. then only the noise should limit the sensitivity.143: Effect of system bandwidth on the penalty . an error free transmission was possible. Modern bit error analyzers can transmit error free as long as the eye opening amounts to some 10 mV.20 0. Although the eye was almost completely closed. In a real system. A typical eye diagram with high penalty is shown in Fig.142 2.e. there are no margin whatsoever for fluctuations in the laser power or bending losses. one will accept some penalty and work with as large an input resistance as possible. the connection between system bandwidth and penalty for a broad-band receiver at the POF-AC is illustrated. Furthermore.5 Bandwidth of Optical Fibers When describing the sensitivity of a receiver. Fig.00 bandwidth/bit rate [MHz/Mbit/s] simulated with fiber Fig.60 0.30 0. Subsequently. 2.80 1. 2. The noise rises in proportion to the signal with decreasing receiver impedance. A possible penalty is always included.142: Data transmission with large penalty In the example shown 820 Mbit/s were transmitted over 100 m of DSI-POF.10 0.

We mostly used a long fiber sample stimulated with as large a NA as possible and all modes were detected with the aid of an integrating sphere. It hardly makes sense to use practical systems with more than a 10 dB penalty. The measured values tallied greatly with the simulation down to 25% of the system bandwidth. Furthermore. Even along a link in a straight cable duct there are many small bends. Repeated bending: in certain applications fibers must be able to tolerate 105 to some 106 bends without being mechanically destroyed.g. When being assembled. That is why one differentiates between different bending loads: Static bending: involves the assessment of how much light is loss in bends. The penalty was estimated from the eye diagram. A Gaussian-shaped filter was used as a low-pass system. In practical applications installed links are never completely straight. for example in drag chains or with a data cable in a car door. On the other hand many manufacturers measure with a small NA whereby much better values automatically come about because the outer modes are more strongly radiated in the bends. a transmission of 1 Gbit/s with a system bandwidth of 250 MHz. Reel change bending: arises in particular in drag chains (see also Chapter 9). The measuring points were determined on a 20 m long standard POF with different bit rates. e. for example. the fiber must also be able to withstand mechanically tight bends. Often they are fitted around corners where 90º bends are a common occurrence. 2.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers 143 The simulated values were determined by calculating the penalties with the aid of PSpice analyses. in places where cables are hold with cable ties. The bending loss is measured in dependence of the bending radius. The results show that an exact relationship does not have to necessarily exist between the maximum bit rate and the fiber bandwidth. With higher bit rates the penalty increases more quickly than in the simulation. The following results have either been taken from data sheets or come from measurements made at the Deutsche Telekom and as of 2000 at the POF-AC Nürnberg. In many applications there is continuous bending during operation. Minimum bending radius during assembly: only characterizes what bends the fiber can tolerate for a short time without being mechanically destroyed. . One main reason is that the frequency response only corresponds to a certain degree to idealized Gaussian behavior. These losses are to be taken into account in the power budget of the system. even with bandwidth-limited systems relatively high data rates can be achieved under laboratory conditions if enough emitting power is available. Now as before no standards exist for measurements of bending attenuation.2.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers The sensitivity of optical fibers to bending is of special significance.

2.0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 bend radius [mm] fiber PFU-CD-1001 AN = 0. bend losses [dB] 5. the bending sensitivity of the multi-core fiber is comparable with that of the standard NA-POF despite the smaller NA. . The coupling and detection conditions are also always included with short sampling lengths.0 4.144 2. Due to the smaller individual core diameters. Figure 2. 2. 2.144 shows the bending losses of two different SI-POFs with somewhat different NAs. attenuation does not increase proportionally with the number of bends because there is less and less energy present in the higher mode groups. You can clearly see that larger NAs reduce the bending losses.6. If many bends directly follow each other. In addition to the wavelength the bending attenuation can also depend to a great extent on the primary coating material and on the lateral forces within the bend.0 0. The Fig. the narrower the permissible bending radii may be in relation to the fiber diameter.3).146 shows a measurement of the bending losses for different POF according [Hen99].6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers Nevertheless.0 3. The larger the NA.0 1.1 Bending Losses in SI-POF The essential parameters which determine the bending sensitivity of a fiber are the diameter and the numerical aperture.144: Loss for 360° bend according to [Tor96a] Figure 2. a lowNA-POF and a multi-core fiber (see Chapter 2.144 and 2.50 Fig.145 show the losses for bends of different commercially available fibers according to information in the data sheets ([Tor96a] and [Asa97]).46 PGU-CD-1001 AN = 0. the series of measurements cannot always be compared exactly. Figures 2.0 2. The low-NA-POF shows significantly larger losses compared to a standard NA-POF.145 shows losses resulting from bends in a standard NA-POF.

10 0. 2.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers 145 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 0 bend losses [dB] fiber TC 1000 NC 1000 (AN = 0.00 1.147 and 2.05 loss [dB] NC 1000 (Low-NA) no longer available at the market PFU 1000 (St. By comparison. The bending radius was 32 mm and the bends were located at the beginning of a 50 m sample length.50 0.00 2. Their losses are approximately identical and up to 10 windings are significantly below 1.-NA) MH 4000 (DSI-POF) AC 1000 (DSI) number of turns 0.20 0. . while MH 4000 and AC 1000 are double-step index POF.25) NCM 1000 (AN = 0.00 0. which is too much for deployment in practical applications. The ATM forum stipulates an admissible bending radius of 25 mm and at this radius the attenuation was already above the range of measurement.0 dB. Figures 2. DSIPOF offer significantly improved bending characteristics at comparable NA. 2.02 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Fig. the low-NA-POF NC 1000 is in the range of 10 dB.0 5.145: Loss for a 360° bend according to [Asa97] 10.485) (AN = 0.148 demonstrate the losses over the inverse bending radius and the number of windings for a (genuine) low-NA-POF (NC 1000) and a standard NA-POF [Hen99]. PFU 1000 is a standard NA-POF.146: Bending loss depending on number of turns ([Hen99]) The measurements were taken at 650 nm with LED-launch and a mode mixer.25) bend radius [mm] 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Fig. Meanwhile.2.

034 0.032 0.05 0. 2. Basically the low-NA-POF in Fig. albeit for significantly greater radii and due to the smaller NA.07 0.03 Fig.024 0. this only takes place below a bending radius of around 20 mm. 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 50 mm 39 mm 4 turns 2 turns 8 turns 32 mm 6 turns loss [dB] 28 mm 10 turns 0 0.022 0.026 0.148: Bending loss of a NC-1000 ([Hen99]) . are particularly sensitive to losses at bends.06 0. the bending losses should increase proportionally to the inverse bending radius.148 shows the same behavior.08 0. In practice. 2.146 12 10 8 6 4 2 2.028 0. as already mentioned.147: Bending loss of a PFU-CD-1000 ([Hen99]) Under UMD conditions. which. however.03 0.020 0.02 26 mm 32 mm 0.09 inverse bend radius [mm-1] 0.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers loss [dB] 12 mm 10 turns 8 turns 15 mm 6 turns 4 turns 21 mm 2 turns 39 mm 0 0. The reason for this is the smaller weighting of modes that have a large propagation angle. 2.036 inverse bend radius [mm-1] Fig.04 0. It appears that the real equilibrium mode distribution reduces the losses above a certain radius.

205 compared with a conventional PMMA GI-POF. Here it is not the total reflection at the core-cladding interface but the continuous bending in the index profile that is responsible for light guiding. 2. The different methods for reducing bending losses in PMMA GI-POF and PF-GI-POF are described in greater detail in Section 2.149 shows a measurement for GI-POF according to [Ish95]. The losses of a 90° bend are shown later in Fig. a reduction in the core diameters leads to lower bending losses. 2.5 mm each have a different NA. (The sample length was 100 m.2 Bending Losses in GI Fibers For graded index POF slightly different conditions apply for bending sensitivity compared with step index profile fibers. bend losses [dB] 20 10 5 2 1 0.149: Loss of two GI-POF ([Ish95]) for a 90° bend Due to the different dopants used.3 Change of Bandwidth by Bends However. Here.2. Figure 2. which has a very significant effect on the bending losses. bends do not only contribute to additional losses. Examples of measurements are also shown. doped by: MMA/DPS.2 0 10 15 20 25 30 bend radius [mm] 35 40 45 50 55 GI-POF.6. but also have an effect on bandwidth because certain mode groups are selectively attenuated.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers 147 2.29 MMA/BBP.21 Fig.8 on fiber production. there is a fundamentally different distribution in the near and far field. the two samples with a core diameter of 0. AN = 0. Despite the smaller core diameter the losses for a 25 mm bend are still significantly higher than the values for a SI-POF or a DSI-POF. [Aru05] describes how the bending losses in PMMA GI POF can be significantly reduced. This effect is exploited in mode filters and mixers. AN = 0. too.) Even with a bending radius of 5 mm there was no measurable increase in attenuation. 2. In addition to an optimized index profile an additional PVDF layer (polyvinylidenfluoride) was applied to the core with parabolic profile resulting in a semi-GI-POF which combines high bandwidth with low bending losses.6. .5 0. In addition.

2.60 MHz is not as big.8 mm bandwidth without bendings Fig.4 Bends on PCS. The additional attenuation increases significantly when the bends are moved to the end. These results also confirm clearly for the existing assumptions with respect to mode propagation in a coupling length of some 10 m.10 0 25 50 75 100 0 bend position [m] radius 6.153 show the measured bending losses. The range of the bending radii lay between 2 mm and 100 mm.151: Influence of a bend to bandwidth and attenuation ([Mar00]) When light is launched into the fiber using smaller NA.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers 149 launch NA: AN = 0. . The bending attenuation measured lies below 0. then there is the possibility of fiber bundles or multicore fibers respectively. 2. If you wish to maintain the advantage of the simple handling of ready-made thick fibers.6.1 dB. each with a bend of 360° in the middle of the sample.1 mm 25 50 75 bend position [m] 100 radius 13. the relative gain in bandwidth compared to the original . Again. A 10 m long fiber was used for the MC-GOF. since at the beginning of the fiber there are hardly any higher mode families in existence.4 mm radius 11. Fig. Multicore Fibers and thin POF A very simple method to decrease bending radii is to reduce the core diameter while otherwise retaining identical parameters. Therefore the optimum position for the bend is clearly nearer to the end since the mode field must first be filled. with UMD launch and measured with an integrating sphere. tight radii have more effect.approximately . 2.65 bandwidth over 100 m [MHz] 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 -1 -2 -3 -4 -5 loss [dB] launch NA: AN = 0. 2.152 and 2.

The numbers in brackets indicate the bending radius in millimeters for the PCS.10 bending radius [mm] 0.6 Fig.3 0.03 0.00 2. 2.06 0.1 0.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers bending loss [dB] one bend by 360° inverse bending radius [mm-1] 0.2 0. Both fibers thus have in relative terms an identical bending sensitivity.00 100 m fiber length at 650 nm at 520 nm 0.5 0.0 0.01 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 Fig. bending loss [dB] 1.4 0. 1 mm total diameter In many areas the 200 μm PCS is used because it permits smaller bending radii. The bend (360°) was made in the middle of the fiber length.152: Bending losses of MC-GOF.154 illustrates quite graphically that the same physical characteristics are also valid for these fibers. 37 cores. That is the reason for the somewhat different bending losses.153: Bending losses of MC-POF. Schott The bending losses of the MC-POF were measured on a 100 m long sample in order to guarantee as much mode equilibrium as possible. .01 0. Here the bending losses are given versus the relative bending radius in relation to the fiber diameter. 2. Fig.02 0.05 0. Due to the different relations between mode coupling and absorption the EMD conditions for 520 nm and 650 nm only differ slightly.150 0.04 0. 2.

5 1.154: Bending losses of PCS and POF in comparison Thin POF could be used as an alternative to PCS in many areas when tight bending radii are indeed required.1 0. The lowest losses are shown by the 300 μm thick POF with a high .0 bending loss [dB] 3.0 0 (0) 151 200 μm PCS 1 mm POF bending radius [ 5 (1) Kern] 10 (2) 15 (3) 20 (4) 25 (5) 30 (6) 35 (7) 40 (8) 45 (9) 50 (10) Fig. measured at 650 nm with full launch for 5 m long samples.5 2.156.0 3.03 bending radius [mm] 0.155.0 1.155: Bending losses of small diameter POF and PCS in comparison The somewhat thicker POF also has somewhat higher bending losses. 2.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers bending loss [dB] 4.0 0.0 1.3 0.5 0. A tenth of a dB is attained for the POF at a bending radius of 8 mm and 6 mm for PCS. 2.01 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 200 μm PCS 250 μm POF Fig. is illustrated in Fig. but the attenuation and the temperature range of the POF are satisfactory. 2. 2. 10. A comparison between a 250 μm SI-POF and a 200 μm PCS.5 3.0 2.0 0.2. The bending losses of three different SI-POFs with different NAs are compared in Fig.

are shown in Fig.5 r 7. It is thus indicative that the NA is by far the most important factor for the bending losses. each with cladding and made available from Toray Germany.156: Comparison of bending losses of various SI-POF (different NA) More recent measurements of bending losses of four different SI fibers. 2.0 0. 10.0 Fig. 2.00 0.0 10.3 0. In addition.63) 500 μm POF (AN = 0.157: Comparison of bending losses of various SI-POF .01 0.0 r 250 μm 750 μm 500 μm 0.001 Fig.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers NA. 2.157.10 0.0 3.0 1.63) were used for this measurement. 3.50) 300 μm POF (AN = 0. Fibers with a large NA (0. They allow considerably smaller bending radii without remarkably decreasing the attenuation and bandwidth. Consequently.3 1000 μm r [mm] 1. you should always choose fibers with the largest possible NA for particularly tight radii.0 30.3 r 8.00 bending losses [dB] 250 μm POF (AN = 0.5 r 7.03 0. The 250 μm and 500 μm thick POFs have almost identical bending attenuations.01 bending radius [mm] 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 0. unless you decide to go back to multicore fibers.63) 1. the latter have the advantage of offering an even greater bandwidth.1 [dB] 7.152 2.

The bending losses of this fiber with overfilled launch (LED) and a launch with a laser (AN = 0.4 0. 2.0 0.0 bending losses [dB] Fig. Nevertheless.158.0 1.0 0. of course.0 1.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers 153 Bending radii are drawn in the picture with which a bend (360°) results in exactly 1 dB additional attenuation. that laser sources should always be used for GI fibers in order to utilize the high bandwidth.1 0. . 5.159: Bending losses of a 500 μm PMMA GI-POF A bending radius of 15 mm is still not a problem for collimated light whereas a high bending attenuation arises below a bending radius of 30 mm with an LED launch.10) are shown in Fig.e. it is imperative that manufacturers reduce the bending losses. With the four fibers with their 250 μm to 1000 μm core diameters this is the case each with a seven-fold to eight-fold fiber radius.5 laser launch 0. 2. a bending radius between 0.158: Bend losses of a 125 μm SI-POF ([Witt04]) Optimedia has made available samples of a thinner PMMA GI-POF. Both measurements were carried out at 650 nm with a 5 m long fiber.8 2.2 0. 2.6 0.159.0 overfilled (LED) 1.1 0 20 40 60 80 100 bending radius [mm] bending losses [dB] OM-Giga 500 μm/750 μm 360°-bends = 650 nm 5 m fiber Fig. i.0 2.9 mm and 4 mm. 2. 2.5 0.4 1.6 1.8 1. the bending losses of a 125 μm SI-POF ([Witt04]) are shown in Fig.2.2 1. As a comparison. You could argue.2 bending radius [mm] 0.

10 bending losses [dB] fiber type: St.160 compares the bending losses of three Toray fibers with different core diameters: 500 μm. As expected.161: Bending losses of various standard-NA-POF . the bending radius for a given attenuation is reduced nearly proportional to the fiber diameter. First. 10 m fiber 1 0.161. however.01 500 μm bending radius [mm] 0.1 1.154 2.01 0 10 20 30 40 50 bending radius [mm] Fig.001 0 10 20 30 40 50 Fig. 2. 10 bending losses [dB] fiber type: Toray PFU AN = 0. In practice. 2.000 μm 750 μm 0. Only with very thin fibers does the effect of stronger mode-dependent attenuation make itself noticeable. The NA of the three fibers is the same. Since the NAs of the fibers are not exactly equal.6 Bending Properties of Optical fibers Finally. 2.160: Bending losses of various standard-NA-POF The bending losses of 1 mm POF from three manufacturers are compared in Fig. the bending attenuations differ somewhat. 750 μm and 1. Fig. 10 m fiber 1 0.47 measured with 650 nm LED 1 bend 360°.000 μm. 2.-NA measured with 650 nm LED 1 bend 360°.1 0. some results from a project work [Bau06] are shown. these small deviations should hardly play a role.

162 shows the structure of the monomer and its polymer chain. Figure 2.5 0. mineral oil and turpentine oil.1 PMMA The material most frequently used for polymer fibers is the thermoplastics PMMA (Polymethylmethacrylate).18 g/cm3. lyes. diluted acids. Essential from the point of view of optical transparency of the material is the amorphous structure of the polymerized material.17 presents further properties of PMMA: Table 2. better known as Plexiglas . The refractive index of PMMA is 1. The density of PMMA is 1. hydrocyanic acid and methyl alcohol.07 95 70 76 1015 20 .7 Materials used for POF 2.7. petrol.18 0.492 115 1. It is resistant to water. 430 . which also affects the attenuation characteristics.162: Molecular structure of PMMA PMMA is produced from ethylene.25 approx.7 Materials for POF 155 2.492 and the glass transition temperature Tg lies between +95°C and +125°C. 2. MMA H H C H H C C H C O H C O H H CH3 C C O OCH3 O CH2 CH3 C C OCH3 O CH2 CH3 C C OCH3 O CH2 CH3 C C OCH3 CH2 PMMA Fig. Shore hardness (D) tensile strength resistivity breakdown strength spontaneous combustion temperature Unit °C g/cm³ % W/m K mm/m K N/mm² Ohm cm kV/mm °C Value 1.17 0.2.17: Properties of PMMA (typical values) Parameter refractive index glass transition temperature Tg density absorption of water up to saturation thermal conductivity: thermal heat expansion coefficient: Rockwell hardness (M). Table 2.5% water. Its tensile strength is approximately 7-8 kN/cm2 ([SNS52]). At room temperature and 50% relative humidity the material can absorb up to 1. PMMA is an organic compound forming long chains with typical molecule weights around 105.

The illustration shows the attenuation bands for deuterium (heavy hydrogen with the atomic weight 2). The vibrations of this compound. or more precisely its harmonic waves are a main cause for the losses encountered in PMMA polymer fibers.163: Absorption lines of C-X-bounds according to [Gra99] and [Mur96] Quite early in the history of this technology. each MMA monomer has a total of eight C-H bonds. Generally. However. the hydrogen atoms are replaced by other atoms of the 7th main group. The attenuation resulting from absorption at the respective wavelength is shown in [Mur96] and [Koi96c] (see Fig. the idea came up to reduce the absorption losses of polymer fibers by using different materials in which less or no C-H bonds were present. 2. it is not easy to eliminate these.7 Materials for POF As can be seen in the illustration. fluorine (atomic weight 19) and chlorine (atomic weight 35 or 37. Further causes for attenuation will be discussed in the chapter titled Characteristics. see also [Bau94]).156 2. 108 attenuation [dB/km] 106 104 102 100 10-2 10-4 10-6 10-8 500 1000 1500 2000 wavelength [nm] molecule C-H C-D C-F C . A heavier core will result in a lower vibration frequency.Cl Fig.163 and table 2. the materials for polymer fibers can be divided into three groups: compounds containing hydrogen compounds with partial substitution of hydrogen compounds with complete substitution of hydrogen . In particular the harmonic waves at 627 nm (6th harmonic wave) and 736 nm (5th harmonic wave) essentially determine the level of attenuation within the application range of PMMA-POF because these are not narrow absorption lines but relatively wide bands. thus moving the attenuation bands to a larger wavelength.18). instead. 2.

Elastomers: fibers made of this material could be used up to +170°C and show very low attenuation.382 1. In case the aging procedures are thermally activated.2.626 1.361 1.113 934 806 710 635 O-H [nm] 2. age relatively quickly in combination with humidity. An example of the behavior of a stan- . then the permissible operating period decreases almost logarithmically to the temperature.830 1.987 6.18: Absorption bands position of carbon bonds ([Gra99]) Oscillation 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 157 C-H [nm] 3.729 1.484 2.2 POF for Higher Temperatures Fibers with high resistance to heat are especially needed for use in certain areas of automotive engineering (engine compartment) and automation technology. the scattering and the mechanical characteristics become worse.024 1. a maximum increase in the kilometric attenuation is established over a maximum period of aging.661 2.818 1. however.318 3.515 1.171 1.306 2. At the same time.533 4. Summaries of the data published so far and of comprehensive investigations at the POF-AC Nürnberg can also be found in [Poi03a] and [Poi03b].276 1. however.727 1. PC fibers. Alternative polymers: a series of other polymers such as cyclical polyolefins have Tg up to +200°C. they have only been produced as laboratory samples.174 954 808 704 626 566 C-F [nm] 8. In the passenger compartment of a vehicle a maximum of +85°C will arise. So far. In the area near the center console or under the roof temperatures can also go up to over +100°C and near the engine to +125°C. On the whole the following methods for increasing the resistance to heat of polymer fibers have been presented: Cross-linking of PMMA: cross-linking between polymer chains can be generated by chemical effects or by UV irradiation which results in a rise of Tg.688 2. Polycarbonate: PC has a considerably greater Tg compared with PMMA and is likewise transparent. PMMA-POF can easily be used with such temperatures. When determining the thermal stability.7.390 1.7 Materials for POF Table 2.924 1.176 901 736 627 549 C-D [nm] 4.029 919 830 C-Cl [nm] 12.000 4. Fibers made of this material have been produced on a large scale.438 979 750 613 523 2.694 1.016 2.417 2.372 C=0 [nm] 5.231 1.541 1.

10 K increase in temperature the speed of ageing increases about one order of magnitude. 1.5 mm NA/aperture angle: 0. generally referred to as modified PMMA. A first sample was introduced in 2003 under the designation H-POF and the measurement results were presented in [Poi03a].51 mm/2.7. 2. Another fiber manufacturer active in this field is Asahi Chemical. 0. A first version of the Toray fiber has already been presented [Tan94a]. The manufacturer provides the following data: Core/cladding: cross-linked PMMA/P-FEP Primary coating: ETFE (black Tefzel®) Numerical aperture (after 2 m): 0.75 mm.0 mm Primary coating: 1.3 mm (MOST specification) . 2.1 Cross-Linked PMMA One of the most obvious methods for more heat-resistant POFs is the use of crosslinked PMMA.5 mm The attenuation measurement at the POF-AC is shown in the figure. The increase in losses is represented here vs.5 mm. The attenuation curves of such fibers are summarized in Fig. 1000 increase of attenuation coefficient dB/(km 1000 h) 100 10 520 nm 590 nm 650 nm temperature [°C] 1 70 75 80 85 90 95 Fig.165. 2.2. the temperature.164: PMMA-POF ageing 2.0 mm and 1.65 Core diameter: 1. Important parameters are: Core/cladding: PMMA/fluoropolymer Diameter. The fibers of the PHK Series are sold by Toray ([Tor96a] and [LC00a]).158 2. 0. With an approx.164 (measurements were made at the POF-AC).7 Materials for POF dard PMMA-POF can be seen in Fig.54/65° Lowest attenuation at 650 nm (for 1 mm): <300 dB/km Permissible bending radius: 9 mm Operating temperature: -40°C to +115°C Available as single fiber and bundle with 18 fibers à 0.

166. The high degree of scattering leads to a clearly visible lateral emission. The maximum application temperature lies at +130°C with an attenuation of about 800 dB/km at 650 nm. A short piece of a Tver fiber sample exposed to red light is shown in Fig.000 2.166: Cross-linked PMMA-POF (sample from Tver) .000 500 Tver-POF1 H-POF [Tan94a] PHKS 500 600 attenuation [dB/km] 200 100 400 wavelength [nm] 700 800 Fig.000 1. Fig.2. 2. whereby the scattering is also greater so that the losses increase.165: Attenuation of cross-linked PMMA-POF On the whole it is true for this type of fiber that a higher degree of cross-linking leads to higher application temperatures. The measurement results of a sample are shown in the picture. 2. 2. 4.7 Materials for POF 159 Attenuation: 540 dB/km (measured at 657 nm) Minimum bending radius: 5 mm Bandwidth: 30 MHz · 100 m Operating temperature: -40°C to +130°C Samples of PMMA-POF with different degrees of cross-linking were produced in 2002 to 2004 by the RPC Institute in Tver near Moscow.

75 ± 0. the result is then AN = 0. Similar data were published in [Min94] . Mitsubishi sells a type of fiber. 2.2 Polycarbonate POF The first polymer fibers on the basis of polycarbonate were introduced in 1986 by Fujitsu ([Ish92b] and [Koi95]).000 Furukawa Minami 1994 Laser Comp.see also Fig.167.49 as cladding material.167: Various PC-POF . Asahi introduced another PC-POF called Luminous H. The relatively large NA of most PC-POFs can be explained by the high refractive index of PC which amounts to about 1.7. If PMMA is used with n = 1. In 1992 [Tesh92]. The attenuation lay at 800 dB/km at 660 nm and 450 dB/km at 770 nm respectively.582/1. The specific parameters for this type are: Application temperature range: -55°C to +125°C Application temperature at high humidity: +85°C Maximum attenuation at 770 nm: 800 dB/km Minimum bending radius: 25 mm Core/cladding material: polycarbonate/fluoropolymer Refractive index core/cladding: 1.2. The last PC-POF shown in Fig. 2. With an application temperature of +125°C the attenuation was 600 dB/km at 660 nm. 10.01 Core/ cladding diameter: 910 ± 50 μm / 1000 ± 60 μm Primary coating: 2. [Nish98] and [Irie94]). Mitsubishi 2.59. The maximum operating temperature was given at +130°C.160 2.55.000 1.167 was introduced by Furukawa ([Hatt98].7 Materials for POF 2. 2.392 Numerical aperture: 0. the ESKA FH4001-TM. with a temperature capability up to +125°C.000 attenuation [dB/km] 5. whereby a material was used in which hydrogen atoms were partially replaced by fluorine.78 and the bandwidth 17 MHz · 100 m.2 mm polyolefin elastomer Laser Components GmbH offered another PC fiber.000 500 400 500 600 700 wavelength [nm] 800 900 Fig. The fiber NA was 0.

A data rate of 156 Mbit/s could be transmitted over 80 m of fiber (200 Mbit/s over 70 m). we do not know of any other work carried out by this company.35 and 0. No change in length could be ascertained in ageing tests over 10 days at temperatures of +100°C to +155°C (Fig. BAM tests on the aging of different POFs are summarized in Fig. 2. Unfortunately.170. What is surprising here is that PC-POF broke down before standard PMMA-POF.000 Fig.168) which corresponds to an improvement by 20 K over conventional PC-POF.000 attenuation [dB/km] PC(AF) [Hatt98] D-POF [Irie94] PC-POF [Irie94] 500 wavelength [nm] 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 2. 5.000 1.53 (elastomer as cladding material). 2.168: Temperature resistance of PC ([Hatt98]) The different PC-POF from Furukawa are summarized once again in Fig.169. 2. .7 Materials for POF 161 The fibers produced by Furukawa with a core diameter of 0.5 mm had a NA of 0. The low-NA version attains a bandwidth of 200 MHz 100 m.169: Data by Furukawa 1994-1998 (Polycarbonate) The greatest disadvantage of PC-POF is its poor stability in regard to humid heat. 10 length variation [%] 8 6 4 2 0 105 115 PC-A 125 135 145 155 temperature [°C] PC(AF) Fig. 2. 2.2.

000 attenuation [dB/km] [Ish92] HPOF-S HPOF-Sb [Suk94] [Zei03] 5.000 2.000 3. 2.171: Attenuation of various EOF The attenuation curves of different EOFs (elastomer optical fiber) are compared in Fig.2.3 Elastomer POF Possibly the most suitable material group for heat-resistant POF are elastomers. Particulars of the following fibers are compared: .500 2.000 400450 500 550 600 650 700 750 800 850 900 wavelength [nm] Fig. 10.000 2. PMMA 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% 0 500 1.171. A number of institutes have already produced samples.000 1.7.162 120% 100% 2. but real product development is still missing.000 1. 2.500 SI-PC ageing time [h] 3. 2. sample length: 10 m SI-mod.170: Ageing behavior of various POF ([Daum03c]) 2.500 SI-PMMA Fig.7 Materials for POF relative transmission at 92°C / 95 % RH wavelength: 650 nm.

The similar functional groups lead to only slight differences in the loss spectra. the attenuation of this fiber even dropped to values around 300 dB/km. 3000 attenuation [dB/km] 2000 PC-POF 1000 silicone-POF 500 500 550 600 650 700 750 800 850 wavelength [nm] Fig. The HPOF-S possesses the following specified parameters (see [Poi03b]). At 250 μm it is relatively thick. .50 mm Primary coating: 2. data sheet information HPOF-Sb (Hitachi). Zeidler (see [Zei03]) HPOF-S (Hitachi). AN = 0.54 [Ish92b] POF made of ARTONTM. When aged under high temperatures. [Suk94] You can clearly see that the attenuation spectra are quite similar to those of PC fibers.2.172: PC-POF in comparison with silicone-POF The most recent development by Asahi is particularly interesting. The lowest losses lie in the range around 500 dB/km which is entirely acceptable for use in vehicle networks or for parallel connections. Practical technical production methods for such fibers are undoubtedly possible. Whether this was due to the possible drying of the fiber or by improving the adhesion of the cladding on the core could not be determined.172.00 mm / 1. POF-AC measurements (1.7 Materials for POF 163 Elastomer POF. Typical representative fibers for both EOF and PC POF are compared in Fig.65 Core/cladding diameter: 1. 2. 2. produced by G. Core/cladding material: elastomer/P-FEP Primary coating: ETFE (black Tefzel®) Numerical aperture (after 2 m): 0. cyclical olefin.5 mm core diameter) 2 mm silicone elastomer POF.3 mm Attenuation: 800 dB/km (measured at 660 nm) Minimum bending radius: 7 mm Bandwidth: 250 MHz · 100 m Operating temperature: -40°C to +150°C Since the cladding could not be extruded directly. it was produced as a tube. The material system thus shows some enormous potential.

173 shows a possible structure.4 Cyclic Polyolefines A theoretically useful group of materials for POF are also the polyolefins. makes another range of NA possible as well as the production of different index profiles Tg typically > 150°C Manufacturers of such polymers are among others Ticona and JSR. the fiber is not presently available **) modified PC .56.7 Materials for POF 2.7. temporary data sheet. Figure 2.21.19 to 2. Low losses are theoretically possible because of their amorphous structures. 2.7. H C H H C R x H C H C R’ Fig. These materials can also be produced transparent.164 2.2. but with identical attenuation curves *) .2.5 Comparison of High-Temperature POF So far the following temperature-resistant fibers have been summarily described: Cross-linked PMMA (>130°C) Polycarbonate (115°C) Partially fluorinated polycarbonate (145°C) Silicone elastomers (>150°C) Thermoplastic resins (145°C) ARTONTM (Fujitsu) (170°C) The data of these different fibers have been compiled in Tables 2. 2. It is not foreseeable when test fibers made from this very promising material system will be produced again.partially fluorinated according to the authors’ information ***) different data on materials.173: Molecule structure COC R’ y Some principal characteristics of such materials are: Low water absorption Theoretically more transparent than PMMA Refractive index n = 1.

n. 0. a.2.7 Materials for POF Table 2. a. a. n. +150°C silicone n. a.0 mm 0. n. a. a. a. a. a.25 mm 0. a.75 0. a. Tg = 171°C ARTON n. PP Hitachi H-POF cross linked PMMA 1 mm 250 μm 0.25 n. a. a. 0. a. n. 0.54 700@660 450@770 n. a. n. a. n. temperature +125°C +125°C +125°C +145°C n. a.21: Properties of different high temperature-POF Parameter principle core diameter cladding thickness NA x dB/km @ y nm bandwidth max.19: Polycarbonate-POF Parameter 165 Mitsubishi Producer Furukawa Furukawa**) Laser FH 4001B*) [Irie94] [Hatt98] Comp.586 PC(A) PC cladding material n = 1. a. +115°C PMMA n. a.30 0. Toray [Tan94a] Copolymer 1 mm n. a.61 800@770 2000@633 400@660 460@650 800@770 x dB/km @ y nm 1500@780 700@760 300@780 bandwidth n. n. a. n. without n.50 800@660 n.54 300@650 n. a. TM [Hatt98] [Nish98] core diameter 500 μm 1 mm 910 50 μm 940 20 μm 910 μm cladding thickness 40-50 μm 30 μm n. temp. temperature core material cladding material jacket Table 2. a. n. a. PMMA n. a. Tg = 135°C Copolymer n.65 540@660 30 MHz 100m +130°C PMMA P-FEP ETFE Tver-POF (Sample 2002) Copolymer 1 mm 30 μm >0. a.392 n = 1. n.62 660@650 900@780 n. a. >150°C ester based thermosetting resin ethylen tetrafluoride propylene hexafluoride copolymer Bridgestone [Ish92b] silicone n. Table 2. a. a. n. core material cladding material jacket Hitachi HPOF-S silicone 1. P-FEP Tefzel (ETFE) Hitachi [Sas88] resin 1 mm 0. a. PC-AF core material n = 1. principle core diameter cladding thickness NA x dB/km @ y nm bandwidth max. n. a. a. +130°C PMMA n. a. n.65 800@660 25 MHz km n.582 n = 1. a. 800@770 800@680 n.54 n. ***) D-POF. n.44/0. n. n. a. 0. Zeidler Fujitsu [Zei03] [Suk94] elastomer elastomer 1 mm 1 mm n. 250@650 n. . a. 200MHz 100m max. n. a.491 n. a. +150°C elastomer elastomer fluorcopol.20: Properties of modified PMMA-POF Parameter Toray PHKSCD1001-22 mod. a.5 mm 0. a. NA 0.

Particularly noticeable is the clear drop in attenuation after 15 hours.175: Molecule structure of PS .7 Materials for POF Fig. This was the point at which the temperature was raised in the climate test chamber. H C H H C C H C H C H C H H C C H C C C H H C H C H C H n H C H C Fig.166 2.174: Ageing of various POF at high temperatures The PC-POF from Mitsubishi (FH4001) only shows a moderate increase while the two POFs made of cross-linked PMMA aged more quickly. 2. The combination of both events provides the explanation that the adhesion of the cladding onto the core was clearly improved by the high temperature so that even higher modes can now be guided. 10.7.3 Polystyrene-Polymer Fibers Another candidate for the production of polymer optical fibers is polystyrene (PS). The EOF even gets better during the measurement period. 2. 2.175 ([Ram99]). 2.174 shows an aging experiment at +130°C with different fibers described above.000 500 200 100 0 HPOF-S measuring time [hours] 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 FH 4001 PHKS TVER 2002 attenuation [dB/km] Fig.000 5. 2. The most suitable ones at these temperatures were evidently the EOF and the PC-POF.000 1. It was noticeable that the bandwidth of the EOF had dramatically diminished after this treatment.000 T = +130°C 2. the molecular structure of which is shown in Fig.

NTT (1982) and CIS in Tver (1993).2.22).216 shows the attenuation behavior of a PS-POF ([Ram99].UV-AbC-HSum Total Scattering sorption Absorption PMMA 520 nm 28 dB/km 0 dB/km 1 dB/km 29 dB/km 570 nm 20 dB/km 0 dB/km 7 dB/km 27 dB/km 650 nm 12 dB/km 0 dB/km 88 dB/km 100 dB/km PS 552 nm 95 dB/km 22 dB/km 0 dB/km 117 dB/km 580 nm 78 dB/km 11 dB/km 4 dB/km 93 dB/km 624 nm 58 dB/km 4 dB/km 22 dB/km 84 dB/km 672 nm 43 dB/km 2 dB/km 24 dB/km 69 dB/km PMMA680 nm 10 dB/km 0 dB/km 0 dB/km 10 dB/km d8 780 nm 6 dB/km 0 dB/km 9 dB/km 15 dB/km 850 nm 4 dB/km 0 dB/km 36 dB/km 40 dB/km To date. as the following theoretical estimate of losses in [Kai89] shows .56. i. 2. The NA of these fibers which can be used at temperatures up to 70°C is 0.g.7 Materials for POF 167 Theoretically. PS-POF have been manufactured e. to [Ram99] and [Zub01b] . the attenuation of PS is partly below that of PMMA.000 dB/km. Table 2. later on it was possible to reduce this to 114 dB/km at 670 nm ([Koi95]).22: Theoretical attenuation of different polymers according to [Kai89] Material Wavelength Rayleigh.without taking into account propagation effects and the effects of claddings (see table 2.176: Attenuation spectrum of PS-POF acc. a little higher than that for the standard PMMA-POF. Figure 2.e. The initial fibers had an attenuation of over 1. 1000 800 600 400 attenuation [dB/km] 200 [Zub01b] wavelength [nm] 100 500 550 600 650 700 750 800 850 Fig. red curve and [Zub001b]). by Toray (first PS-POF 1972).

Chemically. . deuterium behaves the same way as hydrogen so that it simply makes sense to use so-called heavy water (D2O) as a base material for this synthesis.7 Materials for POF The refractive index of PS is n = 1. According to [Koi95]. Hitherto there has been no reason to replace the PMMA-POF by PS so that this material is not of any practical significance.163.000 MHz km g = 3. [Kon03] [Kon04] 2003 Keio Univ. 511 MHz 300 m Tg = 105°C g = 2.23 shows data of different POF based on deuterated polymers.58). This isotope has twice the atomic mass compared to hydrogen. The glass transition temperature of PS is approx. This will lead to a situation.177 shows further attenuation curves for POF made with deuterated polymers. The attenuation is approximately one order of magnitude less than the values achieved for PMMA fibers.23: Data of deuterated materials Ref. [Khoe94] [Kon02] 2002 Keio Univ. Figure 2. 100°C and therefore approx. Chemically these materials behave identically to the substances made from "normal" hydrogen. However. 1020 MHz 250 m g = 2. This would seem to be achieved most simply by replacing it with deuterium. 2. In 1982. a significant reduction in the absorption losses of polymers can only be achieved by substituting the hydrogen with heavy atoms. 2004 Keio Univ. all examples are GI fibers.4 Deuterated Polymers As has been illustrated in Fig. Table 2.4. the first deuterated SI-POF was produced by DuPont in 1977. to 70°C core: 500 μm.3. 5 K lower than that of PMMA. AN = 0. The behavior over temperature and the options for index profile design should be the same as those of PMMA-POF.49). 1200 MHz 300 m [Koi92] 1993 Keio Univ.0156% of all hydrogen atoms are deuterium (1 atom in every 6. MMA-BBP-d8. NTT ([Koi96c]) produced a SI-POF in deuterated material with a minimum attenuation of 20 dB/km at 680 nm.0. It was not until the year 2000 that this attenuation value was improved with the introduction of LucinaTM-POF.400).168 2. [Koi95] [Koi96c] [Lev93] Year Producer 1977 Du Pont 1982 NTT 1993 CIS Attenuation dB/km 180 20 120 180 56 94 58 109 127 58 80 at: nm 790 680 650 850 688 780 650 780 580 650 650 Remarks first deuterated SI-POF SI-POF core: 200-1000 μm. 2. Table 2. Using POF made with deuterated polymers would offer a number of advantages. 2. approximately 0.48. the decisive disadvantage is that there is always water vapor present in the atmosphere which will be absorbed by the fibers.59 so that it is possible to use PMMA for the optical cladding (n = 1. as is possible for PC (n = 1. In nature.7.

2.177: Loss spectra of GI-POF (deuterated. Although it is possible to solve the problem with a watertight coating of the fiber (including all connections).000 5. GI fibers exclusively have been investigated .000 2. 2. 1996) In the past few years work has once again been conducted in Japan on the production of deuterated POF.000 500 200 100 50 20 10 500 600 700 800 [Koi95] [Ish92a] [Koi96b] [Koi96d] [Mur96] wavelength [nm] 900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 attenuation [dB/km] Fig.000 1. The attenuation of these fibers from [Kon04] is compared in Fig. 2.7 Materials for POF 169 where which protons (normal hydrogen nuclei) slowly replace the deuterium so that the absorption losses will increase again.see [Kon02].178 with the values from 1995 and those of a PMMA-POF. 2. 10. this would defeat the object of obtaining a particularly low priced cable system.178: Loss spectra of GI-POF ([Kon02]) . [Kon03] and [Kon04]. 1500 attenuation [dB/km] 1000 PMMA 500 d8-PMMA 2002 0 450 550 650 1995 750 850 wavelength [nm] Fig.

On the other hand. Fujifilm has been announcing the development of a new fiber “Lumistar” in the versions I. The effect of an additional PMMA cladding is investigated among other things.0 -2.179. power [dB] 0.5 1.000 2.0 0. According to their own statements this is: “the first POF with a large diameter which is able to transmit over 1 Gbit/s”. the attenuation of the PMMA POF at 520 nm also does not lie much higher. 2.170 2.0 1.000 500 200 100 50 20 10 500 550 600 650 wavelength [nm] 700 750 800 d8-POF attenuation [dB/km] PMMA PMMA Fig.0 0. since PMMA GI-POF and MC-POF have been able to do this for many years. The best results compared with a pure PMMA-POF are shown in Fig.7 Materials for POF Different production versions are compared in [Kon02]. 2.000 1.5 3.0 1.180: Frequency response of the Lumistar GI-POF ([Nak05b]) .5 2. of course. This is somewhat exaggerated.179: Attenuation of deuterated POF ([Kon04]) Since 2003.0 2.0 -3. 10.0 -1.9 GHz 100 m 3 dB-bandwidth Fig. 2. V and X.0 frequency [GHz] -6. With about 60 dB/km and 650 nm the attenuation ranges approximately between pure PMMA and PF-GI fibers.000 5.0 -5.0 -4.

9 GHz over 100 m. Table 2. 500 μm 750 μm 160 dB/km (650 nm) 1 GHz 50 m n. 2. 120 μm 500 μm <100 dB/km (850 nm) 10 GHz 50 m According to [Kon05] the fiber is drawn from a 22 mm thick preform (60% core). The optimal NA lies between 0. 2. Figure 2. the work shows that the index profile produced by gel polymerization technology also remains stable after 2000 hours of aging at +90°C (Fig.3.180 shows the frequency response. Furthermore. Fig. The bandwidth of the fiber is 1. By means of a two-stage polymerization process the bandwidth is improved (Fig. we must assume that we are dealing here with d8 PMMA-POF. where until 2004 there were reports on the development of deuterated fibers with very similar parameters. According to this information a particularly low-attenuation polymer is used. .2 and 0. a. 2. The goal is the transmission of at least 3 Gbit/s over 200 m.7 Materials for POF 171 Details of a fiber with a core diameter of 500 μm and a cladding diameter of 750 μm are described in [Nak05b].181: Refractive index profile of the Lumistar GI-POF after ageing (+90°C) Parameters for the Lumistar fibers are mentioned in different sources. Since the company works closely with Keio University.2. a.181) which is very astonishing.24: Data of the d8-POF Lumistar Lumistar-I Lumistar-V Lumistar-X core material core diameter cladding diameter attenuation bandwidth n. 300 μm 316 μm 180 dB/km (650 nm) 3 GHz 50 m n. a.182 shows the losses of two current versions).

but also has a higher bandwidth due to the index dip at the core-cladding interface.7 Materials for POF 1000 500 attenuation [dB/km] PMMA-d8 core PMMA-cladding 200 100 50 500 PMMA-d8 complete wavelength [nm] 550 600 650 700 750 800 Fig.two level gel-polymerization with PMMA-d8 core and PMMA-cladding (red) The bandwidth of the fibers was determined through pulse broadening in the time domain. but does promise even lower attenuation values and above all long-life fibers. Fujifilm introduced a DVI transmission system on the basis of the Lumistar fiber. 2.3 Gbit/s-data transmission over 40 m PMMA-d8-GI-POF To what extent this fiber is actually available on the market cannot yet be assessed since there are no channels of distribution yet in Europe.3 Gbit/s over 40 m could be transmitted (eye diagram in Fig.183). The following section describes the development of these fibers. 2.182: d8-POF variants according to [Kon05] . This version does indeed have a somewhat higher attenuation. . The use of fluorine instead of deuterium is indeed more complicated. Even the actual production costs are still unknown.8 dB/km at 650 nm) .172 2. Fig. Using a 850 nm VCSEL a data rate of 10.conventional gel-polymerization with all-PMMA-d8 (79. The fiber with the PMMA d8 core and the PMMA cladding attains 1. In October 2004. a SI-POF was used as a mode mixer.2 GHz · 300 m (overfilled launch).183: 10. 2.

000 wavelength [nm] 1. the components used for polymer optical fibers do not allow such a simple replacement of individual atoms. In principle. practical experience shows that these impressive theoretical values are in fact difficult to achieve.400 1.184: Theoretical comparison of PF polymer and silica However. .e. Figure 2. For a step index fiber one needs a cable material with a slightly smaller refractive index ( n 0. comparable to silica fibers in the wavelength range of about 1.2 dB/km ([Mur96]). which is why they are the preferred material for claddings. fluorinated polymers already have the lowest refractive index of all existing transparent plastics (n = 1. However.05).02 . The theoretical minimum values are less than 0.600 Fig.300 nm).340 at 650 nm. Due to scattering losses. 2. graded index POF do not require an optical cladding.5 Fluorinated Polymers The atomic mass of fluorine is many times greater than that of hydrogen so that the absorption bands are moved significantly further into the infra-red zone. The most important question is whether it will be possible to find a fluorinated polymer that can be processed into a fiber in its amorphous state. Essentially this can be achieved through doping and co-polymerization. this will significantly reduce the transparency of the material. the index variation can be easily achieved by replacing the silicon atoms with germanium because these two substances behave identically within the glass structure. In the case of silica glass.0. or n = 1. Teflon materials tend to crystallize. i. The second question relates to the production of the optical waveguide itself.7 Materials for POF 173 2.500 nm.336 at 1. The reason why no PF-SI-POF have been produced to date is simply the fact that there are no suitable cladding materials available for this purpose. Even this very first problem proved to be quite difficult to solve. For example. However.2. it is necessary to find a way to continually increase the refractive index towards the axis. 100 attenuation [dB/km] silica glass PF-polymer 10 1 0.1 400 600 800 1.7.184 compares the attenuation values theoretically possible for fluorinated polymers with those achieved for singlemode glass fibers. On the other hand.200 1.

2. Figures 2. 2. both monomers must have sufficient transparency.174 2. monomer dopant Fig.185: Index variation by dopants monomer A monomer B Fig. The doping process always lowers the glass transition temperature. Of course.186 show a schematic illustration of the principles. The ratio of monomers determines the refractive index.186: Index variation by copolymerization . What is important is that the dopants do not diffuse out of the polymer material too easily and do not show too strong absorption in the desired wavelength range. In co-polymerization one uses chains composed of different monomers.185 and 2. In this case it is important that the sequence should be irregular . It is therefore desirable to insert a molecule that accomplishes the required change in the refractive index even at small concentrations (a few percent). This means that the bonding force of monomers amongst each other must not be greater than the bonding force to the respective other monomer.7 Materials for POF The process of doping involves inserting small molecules between the long chains of the actual core material which increases the refractive index.no long chains of one monomer are formed since otherwise the losses due to scattering increase considerably.

as shown in the data for different PF-GI-POF in Table 2.188. 2. for example by [Mur96]. 2. CYTOP® CF2=CF-O-CF2-CF2-CF=CF2 CF2 CF O CF2 CF CF2 O CF2 CF2 CF2 CF CF CF2 O CF2 CF2 CF2 CF CF CF2 CF2 momomer polymer Fig.25.187: Fluoropolymer CYTOP® from Asahi Glass Fig.188: CYTOP® molecule structure It was possible to reduce the attenuation of fibers step by step from initially over 50 dB/km to 30 dB/km and finally to less than 10 dB/km at a wavelength of 1. Its molecular structure is shown in Figs. 2.2. Estimates in [Mur96] suggest that attenuation for CYTOP will be less than 1 dB/km. The years indicate the history of the development of this technology. bearing in mind that the need for a GI profile will have a negative effect on this value.300 nm. 2.7 Materials for POF 175 Some fluorine polymers are listed. developed at Asahi Glass in Japan. HFIP 2-FA PTFE FEP PFA hexafluoroisopropyl 2-fluoroacrylate polytetrafluoroethylene tetrafluoroethylene-hexafluoropropylene tetrafluoroethylene-perfluoroalkylvinyl-ether To date the best results in producing low attenuation POF have been achieved with the material CYTOP (cyclic transparent optical polymer).187 and 2.189. . This material no longer contains hydrogen. Different attenuation spectra of GI-POF are compared in Fig.

189: Development of the attenuation for PF-GI-POF . = 2. 130 [Koi00] [Kog00] [Wat03] 2000 Asahi Glass Co. = 2.7 Materials for POF Table 2. 210 dB/km at nm Remarks [Koi96c] 1995 Keio Univ. a.4. Tg=108°C. 300500 n.6 31 15 n.34. Year Producer Øcore μm n.000 attenuation [dB/km] 500 200 100 50 1998 1995 1996 20 2000 wavelength [nm] 10 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 Fig. [Koi98] 1998 [Oni98] 1998 Asahi Glass Co. nKern = 1.34 (589 nm.2.25: Data of different PF-GI-POF Ref. 10 GHz 100 m | 660 nm 1300 AN = 0. a.18 1300 850 1300 650 840 1310 1300 9 ps/nm km dispersion 509 MHz km@1300 nm 522 MHz km@850 nm 1300 till now lowest POF1070 attenuation 850 1500 MHz 100 m 850 400 MHz km 800. [Yos97] 1997 Asahi Glass Co.4 n. 2. a. 120 2003 Asahi Glass Co [Gou04] 2003 Nexans [Whi04b] 2004 Chromis [DuT07] 2007 Chromis 120 120 120 120 50 15 8 40 25 40 1300 850 n=1. a. [Mur96] 1996 Asahi Glass Co. 1300 n = 0. a. 125300 n.800 MHz km 1300 continuously drawn 1. [Khoe99] 1998 [Khoe99] 1998 50 140 56 n. 600 MHz km 1300 850 10. 56 40 41 45 120 56 110 43. a. AN = 0. [Koi96c] 1996 Keio Univ.115.176 2.000 h/70°C.

7 Materials for POF 177 Values below 20 dB/km allow transmission ranges of up to 1.100 1.400 wavelength [nm] Fig. deployment in access networks would become possible. The materials in the last two rows (trade names are Teflon FEP or Teflon PTFE) can be used at significantly higher temperatures. It has a significant contributing effect on thermal resistance.30 list different possible materials with some of their characteristics. the material used for the jacket is also important. This covers not only the field of application for copper data cables but also for glass multimode fibers.300 1.000 m.7. PE or PA as typical jacket materials for applications within buildings allows for maximum temperatures ranging from 70°C up to 90°C. Likewise. . 100 attenuation [dB/km] 60 40 20 10 AGC OFS 6 600 700 800 900 1.000 1. the jacket determines the mechanical properties of the cable such as resistance to compressive load and tensile strength as well as flexibility. whereby OFS .has used a continuous production process for the first time (more information below).190 from [Whi02] and [Wat03].190: Current attenuation values for PF-GI-POF 2.200 1.2.6 Overview over Polymers for POF Jackets Apart from the materials used in the fiber core. 2. 2.26 through 2. Tables 2. In addition. The best values so far are shown in Fig.in the meantime under the company name of Chromis Fiberoptics . The use of PVC.

5 0.20·10-5 15 .45·10-5 42 .23 7 .27 0.11·10-5 5 0.26 8 .44 0.19 15·10-5 29 . polyethylene flame retardant /with halogen 2Y 70°C 100°C 100°C polyethylene (high density) PE HD 2Y 80°C 110°C 120°C polypropylene PP 9Y 90°C 110°C 130°C polyamide .20·10-5 17 .6 PA-6 4Y 80-90°C 120°C 150°C polyurethane (thermoplastic) PUR 11Y 90-100°C 120°C 140°C cross linked polyethylene VPE 2X 90°C 140°C 160°C ethylene-vinylacetate-copolymere EVA 4G 120°C 160°C 180°C perfluorethylenpropylene FEP 6Y 180°C 230°C 240°C polytetrafluorethylene PTFE 5Y 260°C 300°C 310°C Short Name Material Table 2.17 10 .7 Materials for POF Table 2.28: Materials for POF jackets (physical/chemical properties) Low TempeShort Name Melting Temperature rature Limit Density g·m-3 1. PE HD PP PA-6 PUR VPE EVA FEP PTFE Processing *) Flame Oxygen Resistant Index LOI partly partly yes no partly no no no no no no yes yes E E E E and S E and S E and S E and S E and S E and S V E V E E W (E) 23-28% O2 23-28% O2 30-40% O2 22 % O2 24-27% O2 22 % O2 22 % O2 22 % O2 20-25% O2 22 % O2 22 % O2 >95 % O2 >95 % O2 Thermal Thermal Linear Value Ho Conductivity ExpansionMJ·kg-1 W·K-1·m-1 Coefficient K-1 17 .50 1.Allowed ContiThermal Overlabel nuous Operation load Capacity Temperature 240 h 20 h polyvinylchloride PVC Y 70°C 80°C 100°C polyvinylchloride 90°C PVC 90° Y 90°C 100°C 120°C PVC flame ret.50 1.30 20 .20·10-5 42 .26 6 .44 0.50·10-5 42 .50·10-5 35 .20-1.17 10 .26: Materials for POF jackets (thermal properties) VDE.30 20 .20-1.15·10-5 *) E: extrusion.60 0. a.40 40 . MD 90-110°C -10°C -10°C -10°C -50°C yes yes yes no .20 0.178 2.17 10 . W: wrap technology Table 2. PE LD. S: injection molding. V: vulcanization.25 15 .87 Corrosive Harmfull Agents in the Flue Gas -Rays Resistance 10 Mrad 10 Mrad 10 Mrad 100 Mrad from 130°C PVC from 130°C PVC 90° PVC flame ret.30 0.23 n. a.44 0.44 0.30 20 . medium density) 2Y 70°C 100°C 100°C PE flame ret.20·10-5 42 .30-1.25 0.40 0. from 130°C PE LD. polyvinylchloride flame retardant Y 70°C 80°C 100°C PE LD.10·10-5 23 . MD PE flame red.27: Materials for POF jackets (thermal/mechanical properties) Short Name PVC PVC 90° PVC flame red.30·10-5 19 . MD polyethylene (low.25 0. n.

8 Fiber and Cable Production The processes for producing POF have been continuously improved in the last few years. the index profile should be maintained during this process but at a proportionally reduced scale. 2.1 Production Processes for POF Today glass fibers are produced in two different ways. and the drawing out of the preform. of course. etc.191. A suitable process is needed in order to distribute this material over the core cross-section so that you have a parabolic refractive index profile. 2. The length of the fiber per preform is determined as follows: Length of fiber = preform length · (preform diameter/fiber diameter)2 . A very comprehensive treatment of POF production and its history can be found in [Nal04]. has to be mastered. Even with polymer fibers one differentiates between continuous methods. The fiber must be drawn or extruded exactly. the polymer chemistry involved. spinning or extruding. [Wei98]). Ideally. There are other steps. In doing so. such as the application of additional protective layers. air bubbles. The typically 125 μm thin fibers for telecommunication applications are produced . For graded index fibers a copolymer or a dopant must be found in order to be able to vary . see e.8 Fiber and Cable Production 2.almost always below +200°C.g. The fundamental methods have indeed always remained the same. On the other hand the process temperatures are very much lower . As opposed to the production of glass fibers there is a number of unusual features with POF. but various details have been improved. the production of duplex or ribbon cables and quality control. the diameter is reduced until the desired size has been reached (Fig.usually increase . First of all. The demands on POF production can be sub-divided into four areas: The core material must be produced uniformly without any impurities. For SI fibers a suitable cladding material with low refractive index and an attenuation not too high must be found and applied. in part very complicated and with its occasional safety aspects.the refractive index.180 2. Many fine points concerning the materials can also be found in [Har99].up to more than 1000 km .8. During the drawing process.from a preform. one must guarantee that the interface is sufficiently smooth and that the cladding has a good wringing fit. and with a correct distribution of the molecular masses. In the preform method a cylinder is produced that already has the index profile of core and cladding while having a much larger diameter. Light guiding fibers are drawn directly from molten glass.

5 m/s. for example: Length of POF = 1 m preform · (5 cm preform diameter/1 mm)2 = 2. the glass and the polymer have to be processed using different procedures.8 Fiber and Cable Production 181 This method is applied generally for glass fibers.or to other thicknesses as well . as the following example shows: Length of glass fiber = 2 m preform (5 cm preform diameter/125μm)2 = 320 km It is easy to see that the large core diameter of common POF is not favorable for this process since only a few km of fiber can be produced from each preform. A silica glass core is drawn out to 200 μm . . typically 15 μm thick. Other versions are discontinuous production in which polymerization first takes place in the reactor and then the resulting block is extruded at low temperature. Understandably. mounting with feed mechanism preform oven take up drum diameter control unit Fig.191: Production of POF from a preform In addition to being able to draw the complete fiber out of the preform there is also the possibility of producing the core as a polymer cylinder and then applying the cladding by extrusion or enameling. The advantage here is that the polymerization of the core material can proceed under very much better controlled conditions. with POF about 0.2 to 0. Automated processes are then applied to make several 100 km of fiber out of each preform.2.5 km Drawing speeds for glass fibers today can attain 10 m/s.and is then surrounded by a polymer cladding. 2. a so-called batch extrusion. This process is used with PCS.

2. especially for heat-resistant POF.8 Fiber and Cable Production N2 vacuumpump reactor mixer heater cooler monomer initiator polymerization controller cladding polymer POF with cladding Fig.193 from [Hess04] shows such a method. 2. nitrogen pushes the polymers through the nozzle and the cladding is then immediately applied.192: Batch-extrusion according to [Hess04] The monomer. The cross-linking then takes place with a UV lamp. In addition. the initior and the polymerization controller are first distilled by a vacuum pump. Mitsubishi has developed a method with which the polymerization. The core and cladding materials are pushed through a nozzle by a pump and a mixer.193: Polymer crosslinking . After the polymerization is finished. mixture spinning cladding material core material nozzle UV-light for crosslinking take up drum Fig. can take place photochemically.182 2. described in [Nal04]. This process could prove to be quite suitable. Figure 2.

initiator.194 shows such an arrangement (e. According to the author the cladding materials used are Poly(3FMA) with n = 1. [Ram99]. On the other hand. the cladding is only about 10 μm thick so that the thermal load is limited. polymerization controller reactor cladding extruder heating pump extruder take up drum Fig.194: Production of SI-POF through extrusion Such a system is also described in [Hac01].42. [Wei98]). monomer.g.2.40 and PVF with n = 1. the POF is produced in a continuous process directly from monomers.195: Extrusion of a POF according to [Hac01] fiber . This temperature lies far above the glass transition temperature for PMMA. POLYMER filler heated vessel core extruder conveyor pump diameter control fiber cladding extruder Fig. For SI-POF this process is very simple.8 Fiber and Cable Production 183 When extrusion techniques are applied. Thus is a critical step in the process in which the quick cooling of the fiber must be guaranteed. 2. The polymerization takes place at about 150°C. The cladding is extruded at about +200°C. Figure 2. With the drop in pressure when leaving the reactor the remaining monomer is vaporized and can be returned. 2.

196: GI profile formation by gel polymerization technique [Koi95] describes this method in more detail. one obtains fibers with a NA of 0. [Ish95] describes the production of a PMMA GI-POF with DPS as dopants. For traditional materials such as BB or BBP. BzA. The material that was finally used is BzA because its reactivity is comparable with that of MMA. For manufacturing a PMMA-GI-POF. PhMA and BzMA. Figure 2.22 mm thick preform is then drawn at temperatures between 190°C and 280°C to produce fibers ranging from of 0.5 mm in diameter. The index profile is thus formed in accordance with the resulting concentration gradient.2.1. The PMMA tube is produced by rotating a glass reactor at 3.0.196 illustrates the principle (see also [Ish95]).29 is possible. The smaller molecule M1 can more easily diffuse into this layer of gel so that the concentration of M2 increases more and more towards the middle. This results in a layer of gel and accelerates polymerization. whereas with DPS a NA of 0. [Koi92] proposes that MMA (M1) be supplemented with monomers VB. . The polymerization process for the core takes place at a speed of 50 min-1 and a temperature of 95°C and requires approximately 24 hours to complete. The 15 mm .8 Fiber and Cable Production 185 that has been typically heated to 80°C.21. 2.17 . PMMA tube filled with a MMA/BzA mix 80°C melting of the PMMA tube formation of a gel layer the gel layer moves to the center concentration of M2 increases from outer to the the center Fig. The greater NA improves the bending characteristics and makes the launching of light easier. VPAc.2 mm .000 min-1 at 70°C that is partially filled with MMA.

GI cylinders were produced from PTFPMA and MMA.31: Refractive index and density of different polymers ([Chen00]) Molecule Density n -3 -3 Molecule Density n -3 -3 MMA DOP BIE BzMA VB 0. This was followed by a period of 12 hours during which the polymerization process was carried out at 60°C to 80°C. The idea for different rotation speeds comes from determining the average of concentration fluctuations so that an ideal rotation-symmetrical profile comes about. Figure 2.009. .490 1.486 1.2.2 GHz · 100 m.8. [Dui98] and [Chen00]) propose utilizing the density difference of the different monomers to create the index profile through centrifugal force in a fast centrifugal process.981 g/cm 1.254 g/cm-3 -3 1. 2.936 g/cm 1.982 g/cm-3 -3 1. Then the temperature is increased so that polymerization takes place.8 Fiber and Cable Production 2. the GI profile is formed at room temperature. No research reports have as yet been published on the production of fibers from such preforms.8.000 times the acceleration due to gravity.186 2.578 BB PMMA TFPMA PTFPMA DBME 1. Both parts can rotate at different speeds: the reactor at 500 to 1000 RPM and the rod at 6 to 60 RPM.3 Combined Diffusion and Rotation The combination of diffusion and rotation for producing PMMA-GI preforms is described in [Park01].180 g/cm-3 The production of the preform is carried out in two steps. Once the monomer mixture has been filled into a tube. Rotation continues during this process.000 min-1.070 g/cm-3 2. This material diffuses slowly into the surrounding medium.568 1.2 Creating the Index Profiles by Centrifuging Several publications ([Dui96].490 1. In the first trials.000 min-1 has been constructed for preforms up to 50 mm in diameter which produce a centrifugal acceleration of 70. After a few hours the preform is thermally polymerized.373 1.120 g/cm 1.538 0. The monomer is filled into a cylindrical glass reactor in the middle of which a rod made of a material with a high refractive index is located. [Chen00] compares the density and refractive index of different materials for this purpose (Table 2. The process for forming the GI profile took 24 hours. Even for a preform with 10 mm diameter the centrifugal acceleration (a = 2r) already equals 14.2. Then the fiber is drawn from this preform. A fiber with a 1 mm core diameter was produced through thermal drawing from the preform described above.000 g. The refractive index difference achieved was approximately 0.496 g/cm 1.040 g/cm 0.31).197 shows the principle and an index profile.422 1. The bandwidth-length product amounts to 1. Table 2. measured with a 650 nm InGaAsP laser on a 50 m long fiber. At the University of Eindhoven an ultra centrifuge operating at 50.564 1. In this process the rotation speeds must be up to 50.568 1.190 g/cm 1.

The tube is irradiated from bottom to top and then polymerized out at high temperatures. The VB concentration will be greater in the center since MMA has a faster reaction speed.2.2.8 0.6 0. [Miy99] proposes a method for the production of index profiles by means of a photo-chemical reaction.4 0. During exposure to ultra violet radiation (380 nm) the refractive index is reduced by up to 0.4 Photochemical Generation of the Index Profile According to [Nal04] the first GI-POFs were also produced by photo-copolymerization. Fibers have not yet been produced.0 n n n 0.2.197: Fabrication of GI-POF-preforms according [Park01] 2. Since the UV radiation is higher at the edge a gel phase forms here through faster polymerization. PMMA is doped with DMAPN ((4-N. This procedure did not result in any usable fibers.8. 2.2 0.4 final GI-preform concentration after 5 hours polymerization copolymer is diffused into the monomer mix 0. RPC Tver) and Mitsubishi Rayon.0 0.5 Extrusion of Many Layers This multi-step index POF has hitherto been produced at two institutes (ResearchProduction Center.8 Fiber and Cable Production solid copolymer with higher refractive index phase 1 room temperature laminar mix of the phases rotating reactor with monomer.8 1. In the experiment.6 0.0 relative radius Fig. It is likely that a problem would be the depth of penetration of the radiation which is significantly less than the intended fiber radius. Nevertheless. vinylbenzoate (VB as dopant) and benzoyl peroxide (as initiator).198 shows the index profile of an MSI-POF according to [Lev99]. introduced in 1981 by Koike. initiator and polymerization controller phase 2 heated 187 1.028. Figure 2. In the core area the deviations of the real structure are relatively small. The curve drawn corresponds to that of an ideal parabola. The process corresponds to the production of SI-POF or DSI-POF except that several extruders must be combined with one another. 2. thin films of a few micrometer thickness were used. sufficient for GI-POF.0 0. In this process. A thin glass tube is filled with a mixture of MMA.Ndimethylaminophenyl)-N’-phenylnitrone). The glass tube rotates during the UV irradiation.2 0. .8. this process is of great interest since it works fast and makes continuous fiber production possible.

2.2. 2. By adding chlorine. the hole disappears.8. i.6 Production of Semi-GI-PCS The production of the preform for semi-GI-PCS does not in effect differ from the manufacturing methods for normal glass fibers. After cooling off. boron. you can continuously change the refractive index (Fig.] 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 100 200 300 400 500 distance to the fiber axis [μm] Fig. The usual process is MCVD (modified chemical vapor deposition).199: Fabrication of glass fiber preforms (by OVD) .u.199). the tube with the inner layer will be collapsed. germanium or phosphorus. O2 porous preform burner SiCl4 gas mixing rail ceramic or graphite rod controller GeCl4 Fig. and is drawn into a fiber.198: Index profile of a MSI-POF ([Lev99]) 2. not of glass.e.188 2. A mixture of SiCl4 and O2 are introduced into a heated quartz glass tube and SiO2 is formed by the chemical reaction. As opposed to classic glass fibers the PCS has an optical cladding made of polymers. thus making a considerably greater refractive index jump possible.8 Fiber and Cable Production refractive index [a. 2.

2.8 Fiber and Cable Production

189

2.8.2.7 Polymerization in a Centrifuge A new method for producing PMMA GI-POF ready for production has been developed over the past few years by the South Korean company Optimedia under the direction of Prof. C. W. Park. The production principle is based on copolymerization. As opposed to doping there is the advantage of the glass transition temperature not dropping as much. The polymer mixture is filled into a rotating tube and polymerized thermally or by UV irradiation. The polymer composition can be changed in steps or continuously. The rotation here does not serve the purpose of separating the materials, but only for achieving rotational symmetry. There are correspondingly fewer demands on the rotation speed. Figure 2.200 shows the set-up. A detailed description can be found in [Park06a].

Fig. 2.200: Rotating cylinder for GI-preform fabrication ([Park06a])

You can see quite well under a microscope that the fiber is built up of many layers. Nevertheless, the index profile is almost ideally parabolic and does not show any steps - see Fig. 2.201 acc. to [Park06a]. An attenuation spectrum of the OM-Giga, 1 mm GI-POF (data provided by the distributor Fiberfin) is shown in Fig. 2.202. At 650 nm the losses are below 200 dB/km.
1.525 1.520 1.515 1.510 1.505 1.500 1.495 1.490 0.0 0.1 0.2 AN: 0.30 normalized radius [mm] 0.3 0.4 0.5 refractive index

Fig. 2.201: Refractive index profile of a PMMA-GI-POF made by Optimedia ([Park06a])

190

2.8 Fiber and Cable Production

5000 attenuation [dB/km] 2000 1000 500 200 100 400 500 600 700

wavelength [nm] 800 900

Fig. 2.202: Attenuation spectrum of a PMMA GI-POF made by Optimedia (Fiberfin)

2.8.2.8 Continuous Production at Chromis Fiberoptics While there are continuous production processes for SI-POF, PF-GI-POF could only be produced until just recently from preforms. Chromis Fiberoptics - previously Lucent, OFS - has developed a process for the continuous production of such fibers ([Rat03], [Whi03], [Whi04a], [Whi05], [Park05b] and [Pol06a]). First a SI fiber of CYTOP material with a doped core is produced in a double extruder. The fiber is wound around a heated cylinder. Here the dopant diffuses outwardly resulting in the GI profile. The 500 μm PMMA protective layer is then applied and the fiber can be wound up. The fibers almost attain the parameters of POF from Asahi Glass which has had about 10 years of experience in the field.
cladding extruder (CYTOP) core extruder (CYTOP + dopant)
stepindex profile dopant diffusion GI-POF indexprofil
index difference

protective layer extruder

-100 -50 0 50 100

to the take up drum
Fig. 2.203: Continuous PF-GI-POF fabrication ([Pol06a])

2.8 Fiber and Cable Production

191

180°-bending loss [dB] 1.2 1.0 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.0 0 10 20

1.355 1.350 1.345 1.340 1.335 1.330 1.325 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 x [μm] n

bending radius [mm] 30 40 50 60

Fig. 2.204: Reduction of the bending losses due to a Semi-GI profile ([Sato05])

This method can also be employed for PMMA-GI fibers. The results for a 1 mm thick fiber are presented in [Aru05]. The attainable bending radius drops to below 5 mm with an additional PVDF cladding (polyvinylidene fluoride, n = 1.42). The bandwidth-length product of the fiber is 1,500 MHz · 100 m and remains quite constant up to 10 mm. It only drops under full launch and with a 5 mm bending radius to 500 MHz · 100 m. The attenuation at a 90° bend is compared to a conventional PMMA GI-POF in Fig. 2.205.

Here the goal is to improve the attainable bandwidth.17 PMMA based GI-POF NA of the GI core = 0.9 and 5.2. .5 0. Figure 2.192 2. Measurements on PMMA GI-POF with this W-profile and different index exponents are presented in [Tak05b].206: W-profile for PMMA-GI fibers ([Tak05b]) Furthermore.205: Bend losses in Semi-GI-POF according to [Aru05] In addition to the extra cladding layer a so-called W-profile for GI fibers has also been developed.206 shows the index curve. Figure 2. fibers with a NA of 0.207 shows the theoretically calculated and measured bandwidths. The W-profile is characterized by a very steep index drop directly at the core-cladding interface. 2.0 1.0 0. 2.0 2. Fig.5 0 10 20 30 40 50 Fig.5 1.21 bend radius [mm] -0.8 Fiber and Cable Production bend loss [dB] PVDF clad GI-POF NA of the GI core region = 0.20 and a -parameter (index exponent of the rise outside the core-cladding interface layer) have been produced with index exponents between 1.

2.8 Fiber and Cable Production

193

5.0 3.0 2.0 1.0 0.5

3 dB bandwidth [GHz 100 m] W-shaped POF

GI-POF calculated for GI-POF

0.3 0.2 1.5 2.0

2.5

3.0

3.5

4.0 4.5 5.0 5.5 profile index exponent g

Fig. 2.207: Bandwidths of PMMA-GI-POF, improvement by W-profile [Tak05b]

PF-GI-POF with optimized index profiles are presented in [Ebi05]. Their bandwidth attain that of MM-GOF and in the short-wave range even surpasses it (Table 2.32). The high bandwidth is attained through the approximately ideal index coefficients of 2.05, i.e. in combination with the low chromatic dispersion of the material.
Table 2.32: Bandwidths comparison of GI-GOF and POF according to [Ebi05] Bandwidth

wavelength PF GI-POF SiO2-GI-GOF

650 nm 8.39 GHz 5.27 GHz

780 nm 8.50 GHz 7.34 GHz

850 nm 9.54 GHz 9.31 GHz

Figure 2.208 shows the best attenuation values over time for some of the fibers listed above. PMMA fibers (SI and GI) reached their theoretically maximum possibilities in the mid-80s. Since then, other index profiles (MSI, MC, DSI) have also reached this order of magnitude (approx. 130 dB/km at 650 nm and 80 dB/km at 570 nm). Any differences in measured values and specifications are more likely to result from different measuring conditions than from differences in quality. The PF fibers have been continually improved, at least as far as the laboratory results are concerned. The best values were attained in 2003 with about 8 dB, almost one magnitude still above the theoretical limits. In the past three years no further progress has been made with the attenuation. On the other hand, there has been some success in attaining a high launch-independent bandwidth with optimized refractive index profiles and in reducing the bending sensitivity.

194

2.8 Fiber and Cable Production

attenuation [dB/km] 1,000 500
GI-PMMA

200 100 50
SI-PMMA at 650 nm SI-PMMA at 570 nm SI-d8 at 680 nm PF-GI at 1.300 nm d8-GI at 688 nm

20 10

5 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 year
Fig. 2.208: Development of POF attenuation until the year 2005

2.8.3 Cable Manufacturing This chapter discusses the structure and properties of various cable structures with POF wires. Different applications place different demands on the mechanical shielding of the polymer optical fiber. SI-POF (Step Index Polymer Optical Fiber) is a promising medium for relatively short transmission distances of 100 m. Polymer plastics such as polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) or polycarbonate (PC) are used as the primary core material for manufacturing these fibers. Fluorinated polymers, silicone or fluorinated PMMA materials are used as cladding material with a reduced refractive index of ncladding ~ 1.42 as compared with the core material ncore > 1.48 (Fig. 2.209). Due to the large refractive index difference, numerical apertures of up to 0.50 are attained. Various manufacturer versions of optical fibers are shown in Fig. 2.210, in which glass or plastic are combined for the core and cladding material. The relatively thin glass fibers are mechanically fragile and must therefore be protected by a multilayer cable construction. The POF is so flexible that a simple jacketing of the optical cladding suffices as a cable construction.

2.8 Fiber and Cable Production

195

0.98 mm 1.00 mm 1.492 1.416 0.47

r

D d

n

core material: Polymethylmethacrylat (PMMA) cladding material: fluorinated PMMA
Fig. 2.209: Typical SI-POF parameters

Glass fibers with polymer optical cladding represent an intermediate step. They also have a relatively simple construction (two-layer plastic coating around the optical cladding). The large core diameter allows only step-index profiles.
singlemode glass fiber optical core optical cladding 10/ 125/ 250 μm multimode glass fiber primary coating secondary coating strength member outer jacket glass fiber with polymer cladding50/ 125/ 250 μm

polymer fiber

200/ 230 μm

980/ 1000 μm

0 mm

0.5 mm

1.0 mm

Fig. 2.210: Comparison of different kinds of optical fibers

The effective spectral loss windows are at 520 nm. the more flexible the stranding unit will be (Fig.8.5 mm or even more) and are thus easy to handle and to install. it is possible to reduce attenuation to 10 dB/km. as has already been described in Chapter 2.211: Attenuation spectrum of different POF made from PMMA or PC Polymer optical fibers that are flexible and break-resistant can be produced with a relatively large diameter (up to 1. With improved purity.000 1.000 PC 2. SI-POF must also be flexible for mobile applications.211). the larger the flexibility of the stranding unit. The flexibility of a line or cable depends on the number and dimensions of the stranding units with the number of the layer changes of the individual stranding elements.3. 650 nm. 2. 570 nm. The large core diameters in combination with the numerical aperture make simple connection fittings and equipment possible with low demands on precision. step-index profile fibers were manufactured almost exclusively from polymer plastics having a typical outer diameter of 1 mm.000 5. 2.1 Cable Construction with SI-POF Elements SI-POF cables or lines must always be flexible when laid/installed at the end user place.196 2.000 500 200 100 50 450 500 550 600 650 700 750 800 850 PMMA attenuation [dB/km] attenuation minimum wavelength [nm] Fig.7. .212). 10. The pitch length of the individual POF wires or the stranding elements with the proper diameter has a major influence on the flexibility of the stranding elements. 2. and 760 nm.8 Fiber and Cable Production Until recently. homogeneity and deuterated or fluorinated polymers. 2. These SI-POF exhibit significant transmission ranges with a minimum of attenuation for wavelengths between 400 nm and 900 nm (Fig. The shorter the pitch length. The shorter the pitch length is and the larger the number of layer changes.5.

2. A jacked is extruded onto the traction elements in combination with the metal diffusion locks. the SI-POF can be coated with a diffusion lock made from metal over the first cladding. The next illustration (Fig. The metal strip material for laser welding can be made of aluminum. if required.. The foil thickness is typically between 50 μm and 150 μm for welding.8. 2. i. the metal foils have a sandwich layer construction.3 mm . copper or high-grade steel. This layer is practically always flexible and sturdy.8 Fiber and Cable Production 197 flexibility length of lay Fig. For overlapping with or without gluing.3. outer sheath metal band inner coating cladding fiber core 2.212: Schematic diagram of the relationship between the pitch length and the flexibility of the stranding construction 2. 9 μm / 20 μm / 9 μm = metal / plastic carrier strip/ metal. An absolute diffusion lock can be attained exclusively with a closed tube. 2. polyurethane or polyethylene are the preferred materials. 2. for example with laser-welded metal tubing.213) shows two typical SI-POF simplex cable constructions.2 mm Fig.213: Structure of optical fibers with internal cladding 2.2 Non-Stranded SI-POF Cables SI-POF Simplex Cable When processed into a cable with the respective strain relief.e.

SI-POF and GI-POF Ribbon Cable A ribbon cable with n SI-POF elements can be constructed as an extension to a duplex cable.215.3 5.214. This is necessary because the temperature influence on the SI-POF wires is constructed in such a way that optimum temperature characteristics are ensured in the temperature range from -40°C through +80°C. care must be taken to ensure that the strain-relief elements in the plugs or on the connectors are included in processing. Various construction options for a duplex cable or duplex line are possible.198 2.5 mm 5 mm 5 mm Fig. Two very well known cable constructions are shown in Fig.3 13 mm 10 cables group 26 mm Fig. A thin protective coating is extruded over this ribbon cable with the respective traction and support elements in one work cycle. foil tape lapping POF-element inner coating outer sheath strain relief element/ rip cord 2. 2. twin group outer sheath strain relief element POF inner coating 5 cables group 2.2 2. 2. The SI-POF elements are lined up in parallel as a comb and combined in either groups of 5 or 10 elements.8 Fiber and Cable Production SI-POF Duplex Cable The simplest form of a duplex cable is the combination of two parallel POF wires that are protected by shielding and equipped with traction elements. 2.214: SI-POF duplex cable in a round cable and flat cable form With these duplex cable constructions. Various SI-POF ribbon cable constructions with a modular design are illustrated in Fig.215: SI-POF ribbon cable with traction and support elements . 2.

219. the spectral attenuation and the bandwidth were determined on the SI-POF ribbon cables.216: Ribbon with four 500 μm SI-POF (above) und eight 120 μm/500 μm GI-POF (below. In order to investigate the influence of the ribbon cable production on the optical parameters. Only in a vertical position great deviations do arise which can easily be avoided by better guiding of the individual fibers in the extrusion tool. [Boc04]) For the OVAL project (see Chap. Fig. 2.217: POF-ribbon cable with eight 500 μm OM-Giga-fibers (dimensioning in μm) The spacing between the individual fibers deviates only slightly from 500 μm. Fig.2. . 2.and GI-POF each with a 500 μm diameter.216.217. The results are shown in Fig. The cross-section of a prototype with PMMA-GI-POF (Optimedia) is shown in Fig. 2. 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production 199 The cross-sections of two POF ribbon cables from [Boc04] are shown in Fig. 2.218 and 2. The individual fibers have each been extruded in a joint acrylic cladding. 6) of the POF-AC Nürnberg Nexans had produced 8-strand ribbon cables made of SI.

In other words. level [dB] frequency [MHz] 10 30 100 300 1000 Fig.220. We determined the far field width of the individual fibers and ribbon cables with under filled launch for different lengths.218: Single fiber attenuation in the ribbon cable The attenuations of the 8 fibers agreed within the usual measurement error of ±0. at +90°C) and aging (200 hours). 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production 1000 attenuation [dB/km] 800 600 400 300 200 wavelength [nm] 100 450 500 550 600 650 700 750 800 fiber 1 fiber 3 fiber 5 fiber 7 fiber 2 fiber 4 fiber 6 fiber 8 Fig. 2.219: Frequency response of the fibers in the ribbon cable In one last experiment we investigated whether the ribbon cable production increased the mode mixture in the fibers.200 2. 2.219. As can be seen in Fig. the ribbon cables did not influence the mode mixing processes. it took practically the same length of time in all four cases to achieve equilibrium mode distribution. . 2.5 dB. There were also no significant deviations in the frequency response in Fig. +5 0 -5 -10 -15 -20 -25 -30 -35 1 3 rel. The experiment on the ribbon cables was repeated after annealing (120 min.

. .1 0...220: Effect of mode mixing in fiber ribbons ([Har06]) SI-POF Hybrid Cable Hybrid cables are characterized by the fact that they are constructed from a combination of SI-POF elements with cooper-insulated wires that can be joined together individually or in pairs. The connector combination for hybrid cable constructions are well known and are used in the automotive field. The illustrations shown in Fig. Apart from the coaxial hybrid solution.. basic element POF CMT hybrid-cable single duplex triax isolation 2 . 2.0 30..2. [Ziem99b])..10 fiber ribbon cable annealed aged lPOF [m] 0. there are hybrid cable combinations in a coaxial construction with a metallic tube.8 Fiber and Cable Production 201 36 32 28 24 20 16 12 FWHMeff [°] high NA-fiber NAlaunch = 0.0 100.. 3 mm 3 .. Furthermore.222 and 2. 2. 5 mm Fig. 9 mm 4 .0 Fig. the so-called POF-CMT element (CMT = Corrugated Micro Tube).221 point out possible combinations with SI-POF copper elements or SI-POF aluminum elements in a coaxial construction. 2.221: New design for POF with CMT as electrical conductor The advantage of such hybrid cable constructions is the possibility of supplying current directly to the transmitter and/or receiver of the individual SI-POF elements ([Ziem99a].223).0 10. 4 mm 7 . the layer-stranded hybrid solution is also well known (Fig.3 1. 2.0 3.

3.5 mm Fig. The copper wires are used with diameters of 0. This requirement must be met for the manu- .8 Fiber and Cable Production copper wire foil POF 980/ 1000 μm POF 980/1000 μm support element strain element copper wire inner coating outer sheath inner coating 6. because the flexibility of the cable usually does not meet customers’ requirements.5 mm to 1. Thicker copper wires are processed as braided wires.5 mm outer sheath 7.223: Hybrid POF-Copper cable 2.5 mm.222: Layer-stranded POF-Cu cables (principle) In these cases. 2.8. Fig. insulated copper wires and POF wires are processed either into a group of four or as stranded layers with several stranding elements.202 2.3 Stranded SI-POF Cables Introduction SI-POF cables or SI-POF lines are products that must bend easily when they are used and when they are processed. 2.

If the section in which a SI-POF stranding element is wrapped 360° around a twist axis that is considerably smaller than the curved section.224). 2. The foundation for these various machine designs is always the result of a rotary motion with a linear motion. .224: Comparison of cable constructions with short or long lay lengths in terms of the bending characteristics The flexibility of an SI-POF cable or SI-POF line is a function of the geometric dimension of the stranding elements and of the change in layers present in a cable construction. For example. The advantage of twisting is that the stranding element is stretched and compressed alternatively on the inner and outer side of a curved section (Fig. a large number of layer changes results in a greater flexibility of the SI-POF cable construction. the strain and pressure in a stranded construction are constant and it is possible to bend this SI-POF cable without deformation. 2.225. Fig. Twisting is necessary in order for the manufactured products to be flexible and portable.8 Fiber and Cable Production 203 facturing process or for transport purposes or for winding the cables or lines on production-machine reels or shipping reels or when sold in rings. This can be seen schematically in Fig.2. 2. The SI-POF stranding elements are wrapped spirally around the twist axis in various machine configurations. The individual SI-POF elements are twisted in a screw-like fashion around an imaginary centerline.

204 2.8. This means that for stranding machines for SI-POF elements that are twisted via a capstan gear or caterpillar.8 Fiber and Cable Production 1 2 s 3 4 5 n1 d n2 DA 1. In practice. the diameter of the stranding elements must be taken into account. the SI-POF element has been rotated 360° around the twist axis. Within these two points. 2.3. d: diameter of the rotor s: pitch length stranding unit stranding elements n1: rotational speed of the stranding basket n2: rotational direction stranding unit DA : diameter of the capstan gear and speed of the stranding basket stranding axis capstan gear Fig. The lay length is calculated from the following variables: s DA n1 n2 [mm] s v m 1000 n1 where DA: n1: n2: vm: Diameter of the capstan gear Rotational speed of the stranded basket Rotational speed of the capstan gear The machine’s pull-off speed During the manufacture of twisted SI-POF cables or SI-POF lines.4 Principles of Stranding Pitch Length The pitch length is the distance between two points on the twist axis.225: Schematic diagram of the spiral-shaped strands The option of being able to twist SI-POF elements together is determined by the following parameters. 5. 3. 2. 4. Pitch length Lay direction Multiplication factor Number of strands 2. the lay length s must be determined very exactly because of the precise geometry involved. a deviating diameter for the SI-POF stran- .

8 Fiber and Cable Production 205 ding construction is the result and increases the pitch length manufactured. 2.226).227: Schematic explanation of the lay direction .227) Fig. The following distinction is made depending on the sense of direction of the helix: Z-lay means a right-handed thread S-lay means a left-handed thread (Fig. 2. 2.226: Diagram for explaining the concept of 'manufacturing pitch length' The manufacturing pitch length is calculated from the following parameters: sH s DA d DA sH: s: DA: d: Manufactured pitch length Pitch length in machines Diameter of the capstan gear Diameter of the stranded unit Lay Direction The rotational direction of the stranding basket determines the lay direction. The geometric assignment is easy to see in the enclosed illustration (Fig. the manufacturing pitch length SH is calculated from it. 2. d 3 1 1: capstan gear 2: fiber loop 3: POF 2 DA Fig.2.

2. The stranding element is to ensure that the optical transmission values are retained during the manufacturing process of the cable product and to ensure that there are no changes after laying the cables and in subsequent operation. 2.e. Multiplication Factor The helical SI-POF stranding element (Fig.206 2. In contrast to classic basket stranding. the calculation can be simplified as follows: f 1 Dm / s 2 /2 . The stranding method always leads to an increase in material consumption.229.the SZ-stranding method . L ( Dm )2 s2 and f L s ( Dm )2 s s2 Dm s 2 1 with L: f: Dm: s: Laid length L = s/cos Multiplication factor Average diameter of the stranded layer Pitch length of each stranded layer For relatively large pitch lengths (Dm « s). i. In classic production.8 Fiber and Cable Production The following diagram (Fig. 2. 2. SI-POF stranding elements constructed from several stranding layers are given alternatively a Z and an S direction. S Z S Z S Fig.for SI-POF results in a very compact geometric shape of the stranding construction.228: Explanation of the lay direction schematically Economic and engineering stranded cable products are manufactured exclusively using the SZ stranding method. also for POF applications.228) is longer in the stranded unit. It can be seen that. The ratio of the laid length L of the SI-POF stranding element to the lay length of the stranded unit results in the well-known multiplication factor f = L/s. This cable construction element . after a number of rotations.228) illustrates how an SZ stranding is to be interpreted. which allows it to cushion well both traverse and longitudinal forces. the lay direction is changed. SZ stranding has the advantage of having a pull-off speed that is 5-20 times faster. The multiplication factor can be easily derived from the triangle shown in Fig. The multiplication factor f is determined from the pitch length and the average diameter Dm in the stranding layer.

230.2. 2. the number of elements and the diameters have been compiled for a general case and for the case with d = 2.33 and Table 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production 207 d L s Dm s Fig. Two different core layers have been adopted schematically in Fig. it can be constructed in a circular fashion with 6 SI-POF elements in the same layer. 2. The other layers are calculated and shown. The cladding lines are in contact with each other. the number of strands is formed from the quotient of the pitch length and the average diameter Dm (v = s/Dm). whereby the variables have the following meaning: n: z: z: d: Dm: D: Layer number Number of elements per position Total number of the elements to the layer n Diameter of the cable unit average diameter of the unit Diameter of the layer . with a core element. has the same diameter as the SIPOF element. the multiplication factor f can be easily calculated. 2 2 f v 1 v2 v 1 ²/2v² Layer Structure Standard SI-POF elements have a simple geometric shape but have an exact diameter.e. In Table 2. s: Pitch length of each stranded layer Dm: average diameter of this stranded layer v: Number of strands Production developments in stranded cable constructions or SI-POF cable constructions have lead to the number of strands being v > 8.34.229: Graphical representation of the SI-POF stranding element Dm D Number of Strands To characterize the bending properties of an SI-POF stranding element v. This makes it easy to calculate SI-POF cables or SI-POF lines. By using the number of strands v. An SI-POF cable in its classic form.3 mm respectively. i.

9 mm 11.34: Dimensions of layer-stranded POF cables with d = 2. 2.8 mm 18. in office environments or in the automotive field place the highest demands on the material components. 6. 5.3 mm z 1 7 19 37 61 91 n 1. 4.5 mm 16. Excellent mechanical properties are needed so that the values listed below are ensured when SI-POF cable or SI-POF lines are installed.7 mm 25. 3. 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production d = 2. 2.230: SI-POF cable (layer structure) Table 2. 4. z 2 8 14 20 26 32 Dm 2. 3.4 mm 23. . 4. 5. 3. 6.33: Dimensions of layer-stranded POF cables in general n 1.0 mm 27.5 mm 16. 3.208 2.1 mm 20.3 mm n 1. 6.1 mm 20.6 mm 9.4 mm 23. z 1 6 12 18 24 30 Dm 4. z 2 8 14 20 26 32 Dm 1·d 3·d 5·d 7·d 9·d 11 · d D 2·d 4·d 6·d 8·d 10 · d 12 · d z 2 10 24 44 70 102 Table 2. 2.8 mm 18. 6.9 mm 11.3 mm 6. 5.3 mm 6. 4. Thermoplastic materials (polymers) are preferred that have been mounted to the cable using an extrusion process. 2.2 mm 13.7 mm 25.2 mm 13.6 mm 9. 5.3mm Dm1 Dm2 Dm3 D2 D3 Dm2 Dm3 D1 D2 D3 Fig. z 1 6 12 18 24 30 Dm 2·d 4·d 6·d 8·d 10 · d D 1·d 3·d 5·d 7·d 9·d 11 · d z 1 7 19 37 61 91 n 1.0 mm D 2.3 mm D 4.6 mm z 2 10 24 44 70 102 Cable Materials The specification profile for SI-POF cable or SI-POF lines in various fields of applications such as in industry.

. the material must be highly resistant to the following properties: Resistance to oil Cooling lubricant resistance Steam Hot gases The demand for materials that are temperature resistant comes from users. which can be seen by the fact that less swelling and cracking occur for polymers with residual tensile stress. Special halogen-free material properties are desired in order to provide on-site safety to customers and consumers alike. which in part can be improved through various methods of crosslinking. In addition.8 Fiber and Cable Production 209 Abrasion Repeating bending characteristics Torsion Acceleration Hammer blow Small bending radii Especially in the automotive field.2. should and must protect the SI-POF cables or SI-POF lines in all types of applications. special plastic optical fiber cables are to have emergency running properties. These customers are in the automotive field. In case of an accident. the resistance to solvents has also been increased. The mechanical properties of thermoplastic materials such as Hardness Density Tensile strength Elongation at break Tensile stress value Compression strain Impact resistance Electrical properties can be found in the relevant data specifications of the standardized norms or the data specifications of the chemical industry. in industry or in the cable-installation field for buildings. Preferred plastic materials are: Polyethylene Polypropylene Polyurethane Cross-linked thermoplastics The properties that have been improved by cross-linking are those of thermal resistance and higher mechanical strength. Today’s selection of modern plastic insulation and cladding mixtures. SI-POF hybrid cable constructions ensure this reliability to a very high degree.

Corrugated Tube Process The UNIWEMA (Universal Corrugated Tube Machine) has become a standard piece of equipment for cable plants worldwide. [Ziem99b] and [Zam00a].1.3.5 Corrugated Micro Tube Cables Corrugated micro tubes have been used to protect cables for quite some time. in aluminum or in copper keeps the SI-POF in an expanded temperature range protected against mechanical and thermal strain.8. with the corrugated micro tube. A very good alternative is a combination of plastic and metal. Metal in the most varied constructions. 2. Because of the small diameter of the POF. Figure 2.6. More detailed descriptions of the mechanical and thermal properties are found in [Schei98]. special corrugated micro tubes (CMT) were needed. The strip edges that form a butt joint are welded into a tube cladding by a laser beam under protective gas (argon and/or helium) and then corrugated in a spiral-shaped way or as rings (Fig. Fig. The origins of the corrugated tube process go back to the 1940’s. whether as a steel alloy. The corrugated tube process as practiced today is a butt-welding process for small dimensions (for example POF wires).210 2. [Ziem99a]. . Nexans was the first company to encase polymer optical fiber wires for manufacturing resistant cables.232). 2. 2.1.8 Fiber and Cable Production The essential physical properties of some of the important materials are listed in section 3. for example.231 illustrates a POF wire with aluminum corrugated tube.3.7. The manufacturing process for corrugated tubes is described below. A thin metal strip is formed around a cable core and formed into a small metal tube.231: POF wires with corrugated micro tubes Possible applications for CMT cables will be discussed later in Chapter 8. [Zam99].

All weldable metals such as copper. 2. Strip thickness’ of 0.8 Fiber and Cable Production 211 Fig. Neither burrs nor bulges are produced at the welding seam (Fig. 2. Fig.05 mm to 4.2. steel and their alloys can be processed.233: Welding seams in laser welding . The process can be used for manufacturing small metal tubes for core diameters ranging from 1 mm to 500 mm. The machine creates smooth and corrugated metal tubing in an economical manner. aluminum. The tube welding process is continuous and fast.0 mm are welded with a laser using the WIG process.232: Corrugated tube for POF The UNIWEMA is used to weld copper. 2.233). aluminum and steel strips or steel alloys or alternative materials.

and POF elements under pressure and in a vacuum. Corrugated Tube for POF Applications Metal tubes manufacture in compliance with the UNIWEMA procedure (Fig. 2. 2.235). As a result.234: Laser welding device ([LZH01]) Laser Welding The laser beam is monochromatic and coherent and can be easily focused. corrugated cable tubes can be easily transported and installed. The corrugated tubing is easy to bend and particularly resistant to external deformation in the radial direction.234) can be used for all POF cables. The heat is quickly dissipated over the tube.8 Fiber and Cable Production Due to the concentrated thermal effect of the welding source. Corrugated copper tubes are used wherever a particularly high conductivity or large dissipation of heat is required. Fig. It is absolutely hermetic. This applies to metal tubes of steel and welded special steel alloys as well as smooth or corrugated copper or aluminum tubes that have been welded lengthwise. 2. the formation of an oxide layer is prevented. a high power density can be achieved at the processing point . This makes it possible to operate corrugated cable tubes. the welding zone is limited on the metal edges.the V-seam between the strip edges (Fig. Since the welding zone is covered by a protective gas shield.212 2. . Due to its comparably small weight when used with thin metal strips.

the coupling properties of the plasma can be controlled. The actual welding joint is produced by the melt converging behind the capillaries (Fig.2.8 Fiber and Cable Production 213 Fig. 2. 2. laser beam laser beam metal vapour laser induced plasma welding zone (fluid) welding zone (solid) vapour (plasma) channel welding zone (fluid) welding zone (solid) conduction limited welding direction of welding keyhole welding Fig. 2.236: Principle of laser welding .235: Welding seam with laser beam ([LZH01]) By applying the auxiliary gases argon and/or helium in such a way that the beam power is absorbed in the capillaries.236).

brass. Typical welding joints are butt-welded or overlapping welding seams. 2.8 Fiber and Cable Production Keyhole welding causes the process heat to be uniformly distributed at minimum levels over the entire welding zone (Fig.237: Structure of a laser welding system . 2. weldable materials steel. aluminum and special metal alloys. ND:YAG-laser beam source laser control device controller data acquisation process computer laser fiber quotient pyrometer partially transparent optic reflects Nd:YAG radiation transmits heat radiation detected heat radiation laser beam laser optics beam-material interaction zone modified track workpiece feed direction Fig.237). Thin clad metal foils made of aluminum/plastic/aluminum can be used for laser welding. copper. special steel. Fluted steel sheets can be welded overlapping or butt-jointed with a YAG laser or a diode laser.214 2.

Relatively simple and specific characteristics can be created with these fibers. which lies between the maximum refractive index of the core and that of the cladding material. In this fiber configuration special field distributions. The different types of fibers and their specific characteristics will be introduced and the methods for producing these different types of fibers will then be shown. modal field radius and others. . J. but on holes along the entire length of the fiber.g. These fibers now only consist of one material. e. We would particularly like to take a close look at the differences between microstructured fibers made of glass and polymers. and have a structure of the cross-section with air holes. al. The core consists of a material with a higher refractive index than the surrounding cladding material. the present state of development will be discussed and we will venture a prognosis as to where the limits for such fibers may lie in the future. These modes experience an effective refractive index of the fiber. so-called modes or eigenmodes. The holes in this structure are as a rule considerably smaller than the wavelength of light so that they do not act like objects on which light is reflected or scattered. The material is changed in such a way that it acquires new kinds of characteristics. dispersion slope. Holes which locally vary the refractive index very strongly are normally put into the fiber along its entire length. Finally. demonstrated a new kind of optical fiber.9 Microstructured Fibers In addition to classic optical fibers which consist of a core and cladding there are also microstructured fibers in which the wave guiding does not rely on a refractive index profile. Normally. for dispersion. Knight et.2. Some of these applications can even be obtained commercially now. thus resulting in possibilities for new kinds of fiber geometries and also potentially new applications. Instead they change the refraction characteristics of the material. 2. This created a variety of completely new possibilities and novel functions ([Kni96] and [Kni97]). These fibers with low temperature processes can be produced on the basis of the low melting point of polymers and other characteristics. usually silica glass. wave guiding in optical fibers is based on the effect of total reflection in the general sense of the term.9. the wave guide characteristics of which were no longer based on a rotation-symmetrical refractive index. can be guided within the fiber. In the following section we would like to deal with the fundamental wave guiding mechanisms. In 1996. These areas with noticeably different refractive indices are very small in relation to the wavelength so that they cannot be resolved by light and only have an indirect influence on the propagation characteristics of the light. Applications which are possible with these fibers and are presently the subject of research will then be introduced.9 Microstructured Fibers 215 2. For some years now microstructured fibers have also been made of polymer.1 Kinds of Wave Guiding Wave guiding in microstructured fibers is determined by the structure of the crosssection along the entire fiber.

g.228). Also. Such fibers are basically not different from traditional fibers in which the core has a higher refractive index than the cladding. At other wavelengths light is not guided. Fibers based on an effective refractive index should have holes relatively small in relation to the wavelength of the light so that the holes as such can no longer be resolved. The holes made must be very small in relation to the wavelength and should be as randomly arranged as possible. one talks about air fraction).1. grid-shaped arrangement so that they act like a kind of meta-material ([Cre99]. The core is mostly undoped glass. 2. The greater the proportion of air. A new kind of wave guiding occurs in such fibers with regular structures. 2. Consequently. in which the light at certain wavelengths can be constructive or destructive overlapped. Such fibers can exhibit effects with a great degree of wavelength dependence since such arrangements have similar characteristics as e. then the light must stay in the core and is guided through this band gap since they cannot exit into the cladding. They are doped with the material by introducing air or other materials. Bragg gratings.216 2. Other materials which have a greatly differing refractive index from that of the core material can also be used).1 Effective Refractive Index Fibers based on the effect of an effective refractive index can intuitively be understood most easily. Such fibers can be described as . One can therefore surmise that such fibers are capable of having strong wavelength-dependent characteristics.9. The effective refractive index then results from the volume ratio of the two materials (e. For wave guiding with total internal reflection it is essential that the core material has an effective refractive index which is higher than that of the cladding. The two-dimensional pendant to such a Bragg grating are the Bragg fibers in which concentric areas with greatly differing refractive indices alternate at regular intervals ([Yeh78]). the cladding area in such fibers is normally structured with holes.g. This wave guiding is possible in cores made of air as opposed to those fibers based on total internal reflection. Since the effective refractive index can fundamentally only be reduced by doping with air. When there are light waves which have permissible energy states within the core area. Because of the regular structure within the fiber band structures are formed analogous to electrical semiconductors in which certain energy states of light waves are allowed and others are rejected resulting in light waves which can remain within the material and others which cannot. these holes should be introduced into the material in an irregular manner as possible so that the geometry and arrangement of the holes do not have any influence on the characteristics of the material (see Fig. the smaller is the effective refractive index of the material. but not in the cladding. there is a form of total reflection.9 Microstructured Fibers There are two fundamental mechanisms which exercise this influence: holes either act as a kind of doping by changing the effective refractive index of the material in average ([Gho99]) or they are put into a regular. Constructive overlapping waves can come about at certain wavelengths thus resulting in wave guiding. This is not necessary with fibers having a “photonic band gap”.

In such fibers the light guiding comes about when the light of a certain wavelength.238: MPOF with effective refractive index according to [Lar02a] 2.2 Photonic Band Gaps In addition to the fibers whose refractive index profile arises from the effective refractive index resulting from the holes there is also wave guiding on the basis of a photonic band gap ([Cre99]). and thus photons with a specific energy. Just as with semiconductors. Thus.9.1.239).9 Microstructured Fibers 217 being similar to normal step index glass fibers. . the photons in this energy state can only stay in the core area of the fiber (see Fig. possess allowed energy states in the core area while the same energy states are not permitted in the cladding area. These fibers must have holes introduced in a specific periodic arrangement so that a kind of meta-crystal comes about. energy bands can be formed which originate from the periodic structure of the material. Fig. 2. In semiconductors these are the periodically arranged atoms of the semiconductor material.2. in fibers with a photonic band gap it is the periodically arranged holes. Fibers based on the principle of a photonic band gap behave fundamentally differently from the fibers with an effective refractive index just discussed. whereby the fiber parameter depends on the wavelength of the light ([Mor03a ] and [Mor05b]). According to the Bloch theorem the neighboring holes act like elementary cells which are repeated regularly in several dimensions resulting in new kinds of characteristics for the meta-crystal. 2. The reason for this is that the influence of the holes varies greatly depending on the wavelength of the light which also depends on the relationship between the hole diameter and the wavelength and whether light can resolve the holes.

D = 4. propagation characteristics such as dispersion.55 μm with neff = 0. sharp-edged filters. Nevertheless. dispersion slope.4 effective index neff 1.g.240: Air-hole . the energy areas. e. effective area.977 (right). The form of the energy bands. etc.MPOF with 220 μm outer diameter/5 μm hole distance.54 μm at = 1.239: Distribution of intensity in a large-mode-area-laser fiber according to [Lim03] (left). Even small deviations can lead to great changes in the energy bands so that with this kind of fiber only slight tolerances are allowed in the arrangement of the holes.218 2. d = 1. As a consequence. i. which correspond to the permissible energy states is greatly dependent on the arrangement of the individual holes. can have relatively large dimensions.1 1.3 1. 2. Effective refractive index of the radiation modes of the cladding (grey) with position of the bound defect mode in the band gap (center) and the magnetic field strength of the linear polarized fundamental mode for = 2.2 1. [Eij03a] . Especially for very narrow-band applications.993 μm.0 0 n air PBGF-mode 1 2 3 4 5 6 normalized frequency 7 Fig. [Mat05b] and [Nie06]). This is also true for high-performance applications in which the linear characteristics of the hole core are used ([Lim03]. Fig. 2.e. fibers with photonic band gaps can be employed quite well.9 Microstructured Fibers nSiO2 1.27 μm. these fibers permit greater possibilities for structuring ([Arg06]).

Refractive index profiles can be produced which have higher or lower refractive indices with specific radii. are also possible where the rings with different refractive indices are realized by hole structures. hybrid fibers have also been introduced which represent a cross between conventional fibers with refractive index profiles and microstructured fibers ([Has01]). however. With all other wavelengths no wave guiding takes place.9 Microstructured Fibers 219 2. the additional holes change the propagation characteristics so that you get other degrees of freedom in fiber design. If the geometry is followed exactly very sharp-edged filters can be produced or fibers which are very selective in regard to the wavelength. This results in wave guiding in only those wavelengths which the Bragg rings reflect. because of the effective index of this layer. acts like a layer with reduced refractive index. In this case rings with holes are arranged at regular distances from the fiber axis which.1. In particular . The fibers thus act like a filter and only let light through with very specific wavelengths ([Yeh78]).3 Bragg Fibers Bragg fibers consist of concentric rings with different refractive indices. Bragg fibers behave similarly to fibers with photonic band gap. 2. These fibers have the same wave guiding as with conventional fibers.2.4 Hole-Assisted Fibers In addition to these new kinds of fibers whose waveguide characteristics are based solely on the structures introduced. 2. However.1.241: Cross section of a Bragg-fiber according to [Arg06] The rings can be produced in a variety of different ways. These rings act like a Bragg grating in radius direction so that they reflect certain wavelengths which are adapted to the spacing between the rings while letting other wavelengths through.9.9. Fig. They are also based on the exact arrangement of the holes or the layers with different refractive indices respectively. Microstructured fibers.

1 Microstructured Glass Fibers The first microstructured fibers were made of glass ([Kni96] and [Kni97]). The outer structure acts like an additional step in the refractive index profile which should hold part of the output emitted in the bend in the cladding area. Since glass has a very high melting point the production possibilities are limited. 2.220 2. The fibers are mostly produced using the so-called stack-and-draw technique in which small glass tubes with different diameters . Various production methods are possible with glass and polymer fibers. the hole spacing and the hole sizes can be put into a rather large range which can lead to diverse design possibilities. These small tubes combined then form the preform. A fiber cladding is generally drawn over the entire preform which then forms the outer area of the fiber. Fig. either a filled glass rod (effective index) or another small glass tube (photonic band gap) is used for the core. 2.2. The fact that the small round glass tubes are combined into a preform generally only allows a few arrangements: rectangular.9. hexagonal or so-called honey comb structures. This measure is supposed to increase the wave guidance without having to make compromises concerning the propagation characteristics of the fiber. Depending on the type of fiber.9 Microstructured Fibers ring-shaped hole structures are arranged around the core in order to reduce the bending sensitivity of the fibers ([Guan04] and [Nak03b]). This only serves the purpose of stabilizing the fiber.2 Production Methods Microstructured fibers can be produced in very different ways.9. .the number depends on the desired hole diameter . Even if you decide on hexagonal structures when arranging the holes. They are melted and drawn into a fiber.242: Cross section of a hole-assisted fiber according to [Guan04] 2.are put together in a bundle.

today fibers based on an effective index with attenuations per unit length can be produced below 0. The ensuing viscous fluid can then be pressed through specifically arranged nozzles which have the structure of the desired preform. silica glass.2. other operating wavelengths. whereby the glass is either melted or liquefied. However. especially since they can be processed at much lower temperatures. In principle.55 μm ([Taj03]). 2. This not only allows simpler production techniques.g. The production engineering of microstructured fibers has improved tremendously in the past few years. lower operating temperatures.2 Microstructured Polymer Fibers (MPOF) Fibers made of plastics can be produced in a variety of different ways. e.2. etc.3 dB/km at a wavelength of 1. . ([Lar06a]). this production method is limited to glass with a low melting point. for example.9. there are also some disadvantages in regard to increased attenuation. However. Consequently. This method of making preforms in effect allows the production of as many hole geometries as one likes. Whereas the first fibers still had attenuations of several 100 dB/km. Whereas glass fibers can be drawn at temperatures around 2000°C. but also permits the introduction of other materials into the fiber which would otherwise decompose. round holes and any kind of arrangement can be produced in this way. fabricated by stack-and-drawtechnology ([Ort04]) Glass melting at low temperatures can also be extruded. Photonic band gap fibers permit attenuations per unit length up to 13 dB/km ([Smi03]). dyes ([Lar04]). This preform can then be used to immediately draw the fiber or to make a preform. MPOF can already be drawn at 200°C ([Lyy04]). 2. cannot be processed.243: Cross section of a microstructured glass fiber.9 Microstructured Fibers 221 Fig.

otherwise the drills would be too long.000 dB/km. In the course of time the individual process parameters have been continuously improved so that the attenuation could be steadily reduced. The fibers introduced back then still had an attenuation of 30. New kinds of process techniques can even produce elliptical holes which give the fiber an intrinsic double refraction. Fibers with metal wires for the poling of the material have been demonstrated as well as fibers with liquids in the capillary for controlling the propagation characteristics and doping materials for changing the optical and electrical characteristics ([Cox03b] and [Cox06]). the technology has continued to develop at an amazing pace. As many geometries as one may wish can be produced in which both the arrangement and the hole diameter can be freely chosen. rinsing and cleaning steps as well as drawing parameters. After the first MPOF was introduced at the end of 2001 ([Lar01b]). Fig. Presentday production processes have hole diameters between 1 mm and 10 mm with minimum spacing in between of about 100 μm which then shrink to their original size through drawing.9 Microstructured Fibers Microstructured polymer fibers can also be extruded and then drawn into fibers. [Poi06e]) Other materials can be introduced into the fiber in addition to the holes.222 2. The process parameters optimized include conditions when drilling the preforms. Preforms can either be poured into molds or around capillary tubes and then drawn into fibers ([Zha06]). Researchers at the University of Sydney ([Bar04c] and [Lar01b]) have developed a particular kind of preform production in which a massive cylinder made of polymer is structured using drills with different diameters. 2. At present.244: Preforms of MPOF ([Lwin06]. . The same limitations regarding geometry and production tolerances are valid for them as for glass fibers. preforms up 65 mm in length can be structured with this method. The best microstructured polymer fibers today have an attenuation of 200 dB/km and are thus not very far away from conventional polymer fibers which have an attenuation of about 120 dB/km at a wavelength of 650 nm.

Fig. 2001 10 1 April 2005 0.1 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 months for the first publications Fig.2. Nevertheless. too.9.3 End Surface Preparation Microtome cutting has proved to be a useful method for working on the end surfaces of conventional polymer fibers. This method of work only produces unsatisfactory results with microstructured fibers since the fine. 2.245: Development of the attenuation of the MPOF 2001-2005 ([Lwin05]) 2. . 2. 1000-fold magnification The direct cutting of the fiber with conventional cutting pliers can destroy the fine structures because of these lateral forces. step-like structure at the end of the fiber in the holes can lead to defects and irregularities (see Fig. These structures can be seen at the ends of all such fibers and on conventional polymer fibers.246: Singlemode-MPOF cut by microtome. These filigree structures absorb the lateral forces and give in again after each thrust. 2.2.9 Microstructured Fibers 223 100 achieved attenuation [dB/m] Sept.246). it can be seen that the mechanical characteristics in particular of the MPOF intensify the step-like effect.

2. The hot plate technique leads to inclusions at the end surfaces so that the original geometry can no longer be recognized. On the other hand. Since such fibers consist almost exclusively of polymer they can almost be worked on like polymer fibers. 2. This layer absorbs a large part of the mechanical forces when cutting and prevents the breaking of the fine webs within the structure.9 Microstructured Fibers Fig. Figure 2.248: End face of an embedded fiber with buffer layer.224 2. A reproducible coupling is therefore not possible since the influence of these inclusions or that of the deposited foreign matter in the structure’s holes is not controllable.248 shows the end surface of such an embedded fiber with a buffer layer. 100-fold magnification . You can see that the fiber is not embedded centrically which leads in practical use to a lateral misalignment of the plugs and thus to plug losses and power redistribution. Better processing characteristics are shown by those MPOF which are surrounded by another. so-called buffer layer made of hard polyester.247: Singlemode-MPOF cut by MOST®-tongs. but did not deliver any good results. however. polishing leads to the deposition of rubbed off shavings and their removal into the holes. Fig. In the future you can expect. 100-fold magnification Other processing methods such as hot plate or subsequent polishing have also been investigated. that the dimensions of the fibers will become greater and that the fibers can be better centered with new drawing techniques.

9. wavelength-dependent effects in particular such as chromatic dispersion can be adjusted very well. Dispersion-compensating microstructured glass fibers are commercially available today.3. Thick fibers with large numerical apertures are characterized by a large fiber parameter V. In step index fibers the existence of one mode is clearly determined by the fiber parameter V which is proportional to the core diameter. their size and distance from one another. This list does not make any claim to being complete. Some possible applications for microstructured fibers are subsequently described. Both kinds of preparation still have to be developed. Because of the additional possibilities for fiber design. Such an application are the so-called endlessly singlemode fibers which have one mode in the entire wavelength spectrum and do not have a cut-off frequency. Processing methods still have to be found for both practical and laboratory use which can meet the necessary requirements.2 Endlessly Singlemode Microstructured fibers also allow applications which are not possible with conventional fibers. the holes have weaker wave guiding at small wavelengths because the light can enter the bridges between the holes.9. the dispersion and higher orders can be adjusted very well. the numerical aperture and the reciprocal value of the wavelength used.1 Dispersion Compensation The first applications for microstructured glass fibers were the compensation for dispersion or its slope respectively. Fibers are only guide .9 Microstructured Fibers 225 No practical solution exists yet which can provide for good reproducibility and a high degree of reliability. Other materials or fluids can be introduced into the fiber through the holes running along the fiber. 2. waveguide characteristics such as chromatic dispersion and its slope can be adjusted as well as the mode field diameter. 2. but is solely intended to present the best-known applications as well as the commercial applications available today.3 Applications for Microstructured Fibers Microstructured fibers allow a number of applications since their characteristics can be adapted to wide areas as desired because of the additional degree of freedom in design and production. As already described above. These materials can change the propagation characteristics through which tunable components or sensors are made possible. preparation with high reproducibility is necessary.2. This causes a different kind of wave guiding so that the fiber behaves as if it had another fiber parameter. By skillfully selecting the diameter of the holes and their spacing. This characteristic can come about when the wave guiding changes with the wavelength.9. 2. selection of the number of holes. For example.3. In the case of termination in the field the end faces must allow acceptable losses. in the laboratory.

In the case of very great differences between the propagation constants of both polarizations they can then only very weakly interact with each other and exchange power. the first zero of the Bessel function of zeroth order. If the wavelength selected is large enough then V will become small enough at some point so that the fiber becomes singlemode. 2.226 2. In microstructured fibers the fiber parameter is not simply anti-proportional to the wavelength since the holes in the cladding area act differently with large wavelengths than with small ones leading to a wavelength-dependent numerical aperture so that fibers can be produced which are singlemode for all wavelengths ([Bir97]. Fig.3. [Mor03b] and [Zag04]).9 Microstructured Fibers only one mode for V < 2. 2.g.3 Birefringence Since microstructured fibers are not rotation-symmetrical such as conventional fibers with a refractive index profile. When only one polarization is launched into the fiber.9. for example.249: High birefringent MPOF by incorporated asymmetry ([Issa04b]) The effect of birefringence can be generated in microstructured fibers in two ways: either the holes are arranged asymmetrically so that a geometric birefrin- . when this symmetry is disrupted. through production tolerances. whereby the high birefringence causes the fibers to retain their polarization ([Ort04]). e. However. then the power in this polarization is retained and is propagated in this way to the end of the fiber. Typical hexagonal structures do not exhibit any birefringence.405. then these fibers are birefringent. they tend to be birefringent. This effect is used positively in some fibers.

Here the light is strongly concentrated in a small area of the core which results in very high intensities with the same power which can lead to nonlinear behavior within the fiber. 2.9. In fibers based on this effective refractive index.3. With very strong wave guiding. these fibers have a very low air-fill factor so that the effective refractive index in the cladding area lies only slightly below that of the core. It is more difficult to control this kind of birefringence. The very high confinement can be achieved by this very high contrast in refractive index. the cladding has to have a very high air fraction. With such materials nonlinear parameters of = 1100 W-1km-1 can be produced ([Lee06c]).4 Highly Nonlinear Fibers The nonlinear characteristics of fibers are influenced on the one hand by the nonlinearity of the material and on the other by the level of confinement which is described by the so-called effective mode area. . or the holes are elliptical and not round which contributes to the birefringence ([Issa04b]).2. Such strong wave guiding can only be attained by means of big differences in the refractive index between the core and cladding.5 Control of the Effective Area Fibers with a particularly high nonlinearity are needed for all optical signal processing.9 Microstructured Fibers 227 gence occurs which can be created in a controlled and thermally stable manner. In addition.5 and holes. which are generally of air (nair 1). In such fibers the opposite path is taken as with highly nonlinear fibers: the material used should be as slightly nonlinear as possible and the effective area of the fiber should be as large as possible so that the intensity within the fiber remains low at the given luminous efficiency. a number of applications in which the nonlinear effects should be particularly weak so that the light propagation in such fibers is not disrupted. The proportion of air in relation to the entire volume has to be so high that the effective refractive index lies near the value for air. There are. light is guided into the center of the core and the optical power can propagate in the area of the core-cladding interface layer or even in the cladding. other materials such as Bi2O3 can be used which have a highly nonlinear susceptibility 3. but it does allow complete freedom of fiber design because the arrangement of the holes and their size can be freely chosen.85 μm2 have been realized using this process ([Lee02]). however. Microstructured fibers on the other hand consist of areas of glass with a refractive index of about nglass 1. Fibers with effective area up to Aeff 2. Even if the difference in refractive index between the core material and the holes continues to remain large you can still see to it through skillful fiber design that the light is guided relatively weakly and the mode field takes up as large an area as possible. Fibers with effective areas of Aeff 100 μm2 have been presented by [Kim06c] and [Sai06]. In general. In conventional fibers the differences in refractive index are in the range of a few percentage points. 2.3.9.

e. lateral pressures can have a very noticeable effect on its behavior ([Eij03b]).g. As a result. Pressure sensors represent another application. the passband of which is changed when pressure is exerted. Thus. Polymer fibers are especially attractive for this kind of application because glass can split and would thus be considered too dangerous in the human body.3. sensors have been introduced which are based exactly on this phenomenon. Fibers based on a photonic band gap can have very sharply delimited wavelength ranges with which light is guided.228 2. Thus. You can also intentionally change the characteristics by means of the controlled introduction of liquids. As described above.9.9.6 Filters Microstructured fibers can show very strong wavelength-dependent effects. filters with specific amplitude response and sharp edges can be produced ([Vill03]. the dispersion can be adapted to a wide area. Especially fibers based on a photonic band gap react very sensitively to changes in the geometry. thereby changing the propagation characteristics of the fiber ([Jen05]). Fibers with an effective refractive index permit the relatively simple adaptation of the group velocity with which one can generate all-pass filters with specific phase responses. Consequently. the dispersion ([Gun06]) or the band gap ([Sun06]) can be adjusted to a lesser or greater extent by introducing liquids. With such methods you can also analyze liquids such as blood in the human body. e.3. [Kim06d] and [Sai05]). group velocity or even the attenuation per unit length of the fiber. microstructured fibers can be produced which work like filters. These materials can be gases or liquids which are guided through the fiber and can alter the characteristics when the composition is changed ([Car06b]). For example. but other wavelength-dependent characteristics can be specifically designed.g. Since the geometry of the holes has a great influence on the fiber’s propagation characteristics. 2. . Tunable Elements The characteristics of microstructured fibers can be manipulated in many ways. Furukawa introduced such fibers at the ECOC in 2004 ([Guan04]) the mode fields of which are adapted to standard singlemode fibers.9 Microstructured Fibers This technique can also be used for controlling the form of the mode field in order to adapt it to other types of fibers and thus minimize coupling losses at the connector. [Kim05c]. a liquid is pushed into the capillaries in the cladding area when the temperature rises. In particular materials can be introduced into the holes along the fiber which can change the characteristics of the microstructured fiber through their different refractive indices. 2.7 Sensor Technology.

3. they either do not influence each other at all or only slightly. The arrangement of the individual cores is retained and so these fibers can be used like a well-ordered fiber bundle. In this way two or more cores can be produced by introducing two or more imperfections within the cladding area in which the light can propagate instead of having just one hole in the middle.9. The core is thus a kind of imperfection within the photonic crystal.250: Double core-MPOF with 9.9 Imaging As we have seen above.2. If you continue to increase the number of cores. Such fibers with several cores can be used for parallel data transmission ([Eij06a]).6 μm spacing between the cores ([Eij03b]) 2. In fibers based on an effective refractive index the core consists of an area in which a hole has been left out of the arrangement. If the individual cores are placed far enough apart.9.9 Microstructured Fibers 229 2. Fig. microstructured fibers can be produced with more than one core for parallel data transmission. However. Each individual pixel reaches the end of the fiber in its definite position so that the image is retained ([Eij04c]). As mentioned above.8 Double-Core and Multi-Core Fibers Most microstructured fibers consist of a cladding area in which the holes are arranged symmetrically or asymmetrically.3. 2. the arrangement of the holes stays the same and the cores along the fiber are retained. these fibers have a considerably smaller diameter and can be laid like individual fibers ([Eij03b] and [Pad04]). you can use the same method to produce image guides in which every individual core transmits a part of the image (a pixel). Each individual location where a hole has been left out and the core material exists can be viewed as a separate fiber in which light can be propagated. .

251: Image guide-MPOF ([Eij04c]) 2. which have the large core diameter of a polymer fiber and the effective graded index profile of a multimode glass fiber (see Fig. 2. graded index multimode fibers made of polymer have also been developed.230 2.9 Microstructured Fibers Fig.10 Multimode Graded Index Fibers The fibers introduced so far are relatively thin singlemode fibers. 2.252).3.9. In addition to these fibers. so-called GI-MPOF ([Kle03b] and [Eij04d]). Fig. 2.252: Schematic cross section of a GI-MPOF ([Kle04b] and [Lwin06]) .

If you stimulate the GI-MPOF with a small spot.2. then you have a parabolic refractive index profile in the radius direction. With aging and especially in combination with increased temperatures they exhibit a flattening of the profile through diffusion of the doping material. For this reason greater research and development in measurement techniques and characterization are necessary before the GI-MPOF is widely used in commercial applications. . 2. Fig. especially with fibers having large core diameters compared to glass fibers (these advantages are also valid for other types of fibers).and 520 μm outer diameter ([Eij04d]) and of a MPOF according to [Lwin06] Figure 2. the differences lie in the detail.253: Cross section of a graded index profile multimode polymer fiber (GI-MPOF) with 135 μm core. depending on whether or not the light hits a hole or the core material. something that cannot happen in conventional fibers. However. These considerably larger core diameters are possible without the fiber becoming inflexible. If you take an average of the entire circumference of the refractive index. Another advantage of these microstructured fibers is the lack of doping material which results in these fibers having very good thermal and aging stability of the profile. This leads to an alignment of the concentrations of the doping materials resulting in a leveling out of the profile. Graded index profile polymer fibers which already exist are not particularly thermo-stable. However. Measurements have shown that these fibers have a similar propagation behavior as a conventional multimode fiber. for example. For this reason graded index polymer fibers have been produced for some years now which attain core diameters into the millimeter range. these fibers have a refractive index profile in the core which has been adjusted through doping and they are quite difficult to produce when the core diameters are very large.253 shows a multimode fiber in which the effective refractive index continuously decreases with increasing distance to the fiber axis.9 Microstructured Fibers 231 Polymer fibers offer a number of advantages. the fiber behaves differently.