Abstract

Gas heating has been widely used in the process of fused biconical tapering. However, as the instability and asymmetric flame temperature of gas heating exist, the performance of the optical devices fabricated by this method was affected. To overcome the problems resulting from gas combustion, an electric heater is designed and manufactured using a metal-ceramic (MoSi2) as a heating material. Our experimental data show that the fused-taper machine with an electric heater has improved the performance of optical devices by increasing the consistency of the extinction ratio, excess loss, and the splitting ratio over that of the previous gas heating mode. Microcrystallizations and microcracks were observed at the fused region of the polarization-maintaining (PM) fiber coupler and at the taper region with scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy respectively. The distribution of the microcrystallizations and microcracks are nonuniform along the fiber with gas heating, while their distribution is rather uniform with electric heating. These findings show that the novel optical fiber coupler with an electric heater has improved the performance of optical fiber devices by affecting the consistency of the optical parameters and micromorphology of the surface of PM fiber.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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