Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Hollow optical fibres for UV light


If you want to send light on a trip through optical fibres - with as little loss as possible, you should opt for infrared light, as is the case, for example, in the telecommunication networks worldwide.

For certain applications, such as spectroscopic investigations on ions or atoms, however, (laser) light in the ultraviolet range is required. But this type of light would quickly damage conventional optical fibres.

Microscopic image of a hollow-core optical fibre

(Photo: MPL)

Nearfield intensity profiles of a fibre measured with the UV beam coming from different directions. These profiles show that the light is single-mode (figure: PTB).

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light (MPL) in Erlangen/Germany and of the QUEST Institute, based at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), have tested a new type of optical fibre with a hollow core and have found out that this type of optical fibre was able to guide UV laser light without being damaged and with acceptable loss.

Their investigations, which they have recently published in the journal "Optics Express", are interesting for numerous applications: besides precision spectroscopy on atoms or ions and their use in optical atomic clocks or quantum computers, fluorescence microscopy in biology, the investigation of process plasmas, combustion studies on soot or the spectroscopy of greenhouse gases would be other possible fields of application.

... more about:
»MPL »PCF »PTB »QUEST »glass »ions »wavelength

Optical fibres usually have a solid glass core. This glass core is coated with an optically thinner material. The laws of physics ensure that a light beam is kept inside such a fibre thanks to total reflection and that it can be transported over long distances without significant loss.

Such optical fibres are therefore widely used worldwide to transport light of different spectral ranges - from the infrared up to the visible light range. UV light, however, has a shorter wavelength and is therefore strongly absorbed by the glass used in most types of optical fibres and the fibres are quickly damaged by UV light.

At the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light (MPL) in Erlangen, experiments with other types of optical fibre have been carried out for a few years. Now, it has turned out that a certain type of optical fibre is particularly well-suited for UV light: a microstructured photonic crystal fibre (PCF) with a so-called "Kagome structure" - a special pattern consisting of triangles and of hexagons in a regular arrangement - and a hollow core of 20 µm in diameter.

This core ensures a single-mode guiding of the light - i.e. with a spatial intensity distribution similar to the shape of a Gaussian bell-shaped curve. The crucial question was to know whether this transport was really single-mode and damage-free, and this is what the metrological experts from the QUEST Institute at PTB had to find out. Their investigations have shown that in the case of the UV beam used, with a wavelength of 280 nm, single-mode transmission was possible and that even after more than 100 hours in operation at a power of 15 mW, no UV-induced damage could be detected.

The optical fibres have even passed a first application test: the researchers at the QUEST Institute have used them successfully for their spectroscopic investigations on trapped ions. Stabilized by the new fibre, the UV laser beam allows an improved interrogation of the ions' internal state. Besides the users of such spectroscopic methods (for example in astronomy, chemistry or fundamental research in physics), this could also be useful for researchers who are developing quantum computers, since in that field, the internal states of a particle are the new digital 0s and 1s. 

Contact at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light

Dr. Michael H. Frosz, Head of Fibre Fabrication, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light,
Günther-Scharowsky-Str. 1, 91058 Erlangen/Germany,
Phone: +49 (0)9131 6877-321,

Contact at PTB

Prof. Dr. Piet O. Schmidt, QUEST Institute at PTB,
Phone: +49 (0)531 592-4700,

Original publication

F. Gebert, M. H. Frosz, T. Weiss, Y. Wan, A. Ermolov, N. Y. Joly, P. O. Schmidt, and P. St. J. Russell: Damage-free single-mode transmission of deep-UV light in hollow-core PCF. Optics Express 22, 15388 (2014)

Joint press release of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Erlangen/Germany, (MPL) and the QUEST Institute of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)

Piet O. Schmidt | Eurek Alert!

Further reports about: MPL PCF PTB QUEST glass ions wavelength

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus
20.10.2016 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>