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Cu & Al Coatings High T°
 
Home / Products / FIBERS & CABLES / Special Fibers / Harsh Environments/ Cu & Al Coatings High T°
 
 
description

In order to give protection to a silica optical fiber it must be coated with some material, usually a polymer. Acrylate is the most commonly used and this restricts the maximum temperature of use to about 100 °C. Polyimide coated fibers can operate at temperatures up to 300 °C. For higher performance, metal-coated fibers using pure metals of copper, aluminium and gold have been available for some time.
These give higher temperature use, better hermeticity, and higher strength than polymer coated fibers.

The copper alloy coating allows use at temperatures up to 600 °C or higher for short periods and 500 °C for long periods. This compares well with gold-coated fibers but at a fraction of the cost. In addition the fibers can be made in long lengths (several kilometres) and in a wide variety of fiber types such as single mode, graded index, and step index large core fibers in UV and IR grades of silica. The graded index types will be of particular interest to users of Distributed Sensors (e.g. Temperature and Strain) where the fiber is used as the sensing element.
The new fibers will allow higher temperature use over long lengths at a price only slightly higher than polymer coated fibers. Other applications include UHV use where outgassing from polymer coated fibers causes problems. The high temperature operation, improved hermeticity and availability in long lengths will be of interest to those involved with deep well or mining applications.

   
 
 

applications

High hermeticity
Copper & Aluminium fibers exhibit excellent hermeticity. In some environments where gases such as hydrogen or hydrogen sulphide are present, diffusion through the coating of polymer coated fibers has been found to cause increases in attenuation and premature failure of the fiber. Copper fibers have much better resistance to diffusion through the coating compared to polymer coatings.

Low luminescence
Optical fibers are frequently required to transmit very low levels of fluorescent light. Most polymers exhibit some fluorescence and so should be avoided for sensitive measurements. These metal coated fibers should be used for the most demanding applications..

High light isolation
When an optical fiber is bent in a small radius, light from outside the fiber can enter the fiber and can be a source of crosstalk in sensitive measurements. This phenomenum is frequently used by fusion splicers to induce light into the fiber for dynamic alignment of the cores but is usually undesirable in virtually all other cases. The opaque nature of the copper or aluminium cladding ensures that crosstalk or stray light input is at a minimum.

Solderable
Copper & Aluminium fibers are readily solderable using conventional techniques which lends itself to a number of useful applications. A soldered fiber can be used in vacuum applications where an epoxy joint could allow outgassing and contamination of the vacuum. Fibers can be soldered to connectors to make epoxy free connectors for vacuum use.
Multiple fibers can be soldered together to make fiber bundles which do not require epoxy. This can be of use in applications where fiber bundles are used to make low fluorescence measurements. Most conventional epoxies can fluoresce to a significant degree.

 
 
 

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Copper & Alu Fibers
 
 
Home / Products / FIBERS & CABLES / Special Fibers / Harsh Environments/ Cu & Al Coatings High T°
 
 
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