Optical fiber nanowires and microwires: fabrication and applications

Brambilla, Gilberto, Xu, Fei, Horak, Peter, Jung, Yongmin, Koizumi, Fumihito, Sessions, Neil P., Koukharenko, Elena, Feng, Xian, Murugan, Ganapathy S., Wilkinson, James S. and Richardson, David J. (2009) Optical fiber nanowires and microwires: fabrication and applications. Advances in Optics and Photonics, 1, (1), 107-161. (doi:10.1364/AOP.1.000107).


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Microwires and nanowires have been manufactured by using a wide range of bottom-up techniques such as chemical or physical vapor deposition and top-down processes such as fiber drawing. Among these techniques, the manufacture of wires from optical fibers provides the longest, most uniform and robust nanowires. Critically, the small surface roughness and the high-homogeneity associated with optical fiber nanowires (OFNs) provide low optical loss and allow the use of nanowires for a wide range of new applications for communications, sensing, lasers, biology, and chemistry. OFNs offer a number of outstanding optical and mechanical properties, including (1) large evanescent fields, (2) high-nonlinearity, (3) strong confinement, and (4) low-loss interconnection to other optical fibers and fiberized components. OFNs are fabricated by adiabatically stretching optical fibers and thus preserve the original optical fiber dimensions at their input and output, allowing ready splicing to standard fibers. A review of the manufacture of OFNs is presented, with a particular emphasis on their applications. Three different groups of applications have been envisaged: (1) devices based on the strong confinement or nonlinearity, (2) applications exploiting the large evanescent field, and (3) devices involving the taper transition regions. The first group includes supercontinuum generators, a range of nonlinear optical devices, and optical trapping. The second group comprises knot, loop, and coil resonators and their applications, sensing and particle propulsion by optical pressure. Finally, mode filtering and mode conversion represent applications based on the taper transition regions. Among these groups of applications, devices exploiting the OFN-based resonators are possibly the most interesting; because of the large evanescent field, when OFNs are coiled onto themselves the mode propagating in the wire interferes with itself to give a resonator. In contrast with the majority of high-Q resonators manufactured by other means, the OFN microresonator does not have major issues with input-output coupling and presents a completely integrated fiberized solution. OFNs can be used to manufacture loop and coil resonators with Q factors that, although still far from the predicted value of 10. The input-output pigtails play a major role in shaping the resonator response and can be used to maximize the Q factor over a wide range of coupling parameters. Finally, temporal stability and robustness issues are discussed, and a solution to optical degradation issues is presented.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1364/AOP.1.000107
ISSNs: 1943-8206 (electronic)
Related URLs:
Subjects: T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
T Technology > TP Chemical technology
T Technology > TS Manufactures
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Electronics and Computer Science
University Structure - Pre August 2011 > Optoelectronics Research Centre
ePrint ID: 65781
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
January 2009Published
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2009
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:51
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/65781

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