At NRL, we are involved in the research and development of specialty infrared optical fibers, glasses, ceramics, and thin films. We have state-of-the-art facilities for making high purity chemicals and unique optical materials of high quality, which are being exploited in optical devices and systems for Navy and DoD applications. One of the core scientific areas that we have pioneered is based primarily on infrared (IR) transmitting glasses and fibers. The IR transmitting glasses are based on chalcogenide materials (S, Se, Te, and their alloys and compounds). One of our major accomplishments has been the purification of these elements and materials to levels well beyond the previous state-of-the-art. This has enabled us to reduce the absorption losses in these materials for both the mid-wave and long wave IR spectral regions. In addition to their use in bulk optics such as windows, we have developed these materials for optical fibers and their applications. The fibers and their applications can be split into two main groups, namely passive and active. In the case of passive fibers, they merely act as a light pipe, transferring infrared energy from one location to another. In the case of active fibers, they actually change the wavelength of light exiting the fiber. Some examples of both are highlighted below.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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