A Look at the Future of Infrared Fibers

James A. Harrington

Since the development of the first polycrystalline infrared fibers more than seven years ago at Hughes Research Laboratories, there have been a wide variety of infrared transmissive waveguides fabricated for sensor, power delivery, and future long distance communication links. These fibers transmit wavelengths between 2 and 25μm, but their losses are well above those of conventional silica-based fibers; thus, the near-term applications involve fibers 1 to 10 m in length. In the future, these waveguides may be suitable for long-distance applications if their losses can be reduced to the theoretical minimum of 10^-3 dB/ km.

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