Glass printing on a small scale has been extended by several orders of magnitude by a team led by Dr. Yushi Chu and Professor Jianzhong Zhang of Harbin Engineering University and Professor Gang-Ding Peng of the University of New South Wales. Optical fibre preforms can be 3D printed, according to a study titled “Additive Manufacturing Fiber Preforms for Structured Silica Fibers with Bismuth and Erbium Dopants.”
Using DLP 3D printing technology, a centimeter-scale optical fibre preform was successfully created, and single-mode and multi-mode optical fibres were obtained by carefully controlling the parameters during the fibre drawing process. According to the research team, Bismuth ions and Erbium ions were added to the fibres in order to further extend this work. They figured out how to make fibres with multiple components and fibres with complex structures. IDTechEx’s 3D Printing Hardware 2022–2032: Technology and Market Outlook report has more information.
3D printing technology’s ability to create complex fiber structures must be taken into account. reduced separation and integration time due to the demonstration of these additive capabilities. Dopants derived from five different elements were also introduced by the researchers. Bismuth, erbium, germanium, titanium, and aluminium were among the elements used. To enhance luminescence in the core glass network, Germanium, titanium, and aluminium were used to form waveguides. Under a single-wavelength excitation, bismuth and erbium provided the O-L band with broadband luminescence.
Fiber loss, considered to be the most important property limiting 3D printing optical fibre, was also discussed by the researchers as part of their experiments. In their experiments, they found that increasing core and cladding roundness resulted in better performance. It also helped to reduce fibre loss by reducing the amount of moisture in the optical fibre. Temperature and pressure can be carefully controlled during the fabrication process to achieve these results.
3D printing has the potential to revolutionize specialty optical fibres, allowing for new applications. In the future, society may see the development of multicore fibre fan-in/fan-out or ideal mode coupling in space division multiplexing without optical fibre splicing.