Abstract

A major difficulty in using a laser to draw optical fibers from a glass preform has been uniformally distributing the laser’s energy around the melt zone. Several systems have evolved in recent years, but to date the most successful technique has been the off-axis rotating lens system (RLS). The inability of this device to structure efficiently and dynamically the heat zone longitudinally along the preform has restricted its use to preform of less than 8-mm diameter. A new technique reported here employs two orthogonal mounted mirrors, driven by galvanometers to distribute the laser energy around the preform. This system can be retrofitted into the RLS to replace the rotating lens element. The new system, the galvanometer scanning system (GSS), operates at ten times the rotational speed of the RLS and can instantaneously modify the melt zone. The ability of the GSS to enlarge the melt zone reduces the vaporization rate at the surface of the preform permitting efficient use of higher laser power. Experiments indicate that fibers can be drawn from significantly larger preforms by using the expanded heat zone provided by the GSS.

© 1979 Optical Society of America

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