Abstract

The Gaussian approximation that is typically used to estimate single-mode fiber microlens performance is investigated. It is applied to hemispheric lenses on two types of tapered single-mode fiber. Theoretical and experimental results are compared. The first type of taper, which is fabricated by pulling a fiber while it is melted, has a tapered core and a tapered cladding. The second type of taper, which is fabricated by etching the cladding, has a tapered cladding only. For a tapered-core fiber, coupling to the cladding-guided modes and the finite radius of curvature of the wave front before the lens must be considered to predict the lens spot size accurately, whereas the spot size of a tapered-cladding lens can be predicted from the lens diameter alone. Thus the spot size of a lens on a tapered-cladding fiber is easier to predict and control than that of a lens on a tapered-core fiber. It is also shown that the usual theory used to predict the spot size gives accepted values for tapered-cladding lenses but not for tapered-core lenses.

© 1993 Optical Society of America

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