Abstract

The optical phase accumulated when light propagates through an optical fiber changes with temperature. It has been shown by various authors that this thermal phase sensitivity is significantly smaller in hollow core fibers (HCFs) than in standard single-mode fibers (SSMFs). However, there have been considerable differences in the level of sensitivity reduction claimed, with factors in the range $\times {3}$ to $\times {20}$ improvement for HCFs relative to SSMFs reported. Here we show experimentally that this large variation is likely attributable to the influence of fiber coating, which is exacerbated in HCFs with a relatively thin silica glass outer wall (e.g., the wall thickness is typically just 20 µm in a 125 µm diameter HCF). Further, we show that the coating also causes the optical phase stability to suffer from relaxation effects, which have not been previously discussed in the HCF literature, to the best of our knowledge. In addition to demonstrating these relaxation effects experimentally, we analyze them through numerical simulations. Our results strongly suggest that they originate from the viscoelastic properties of the coating. To minimize the adverse effects of the coating, we have fabricated a HCF with a relatively thick wall (${\sim}{50}\;{\unicode{x00B5}{\rm m}}$) and a very thin coating (10 µm). This results in an almost 30-fold reduction in HCF thermal phase sensitivity relative to SSMFs – a significantly lower sensitivity than in previous reports. Moreover, our thinly coated HCF exhibits no discernable relaxation effects while maintaining good mechanical properties.

© 2021 Optical Society of America

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Data Availability

The data for this Letter are accessible through the University of Southampton Institutional Research Repository [20].

20. B. Shi, H. Sakr, J. Hayes, X. Wei, E. Numkam Fokoua, M. Ding, Z. Feng, G. Marra, F. Poletti, D. J. Richardson, and R. Slavík, “Dataset for ‘Thinly-coated hollow core fiber for improved thermal phase-stability performance,’” University of Southampton Institutional Repository (2021), https://doi.org/10.5258/SOTON/D1964.

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