Abstract

A CO2-laser-based laser ablative chemical etching (LACE) technique was used for the rapid (milliseconds) fabrication of micrometer-scale taps in the cladding of multimode silica optical fibers. In the initial experiments the optical-quality surfaces of the etched groove directionally radiate approximately one third of the total tap output. The fraction of the guided optical energy tapped out can be easily and precisely controlled by the laser parameters. The radiation pattern from the tap is in reasonably good agrement with initial theoretical calculations. This novel LACE-based tap manufacturing technique permits computer-controlled, rapid, and inexpensive fabrication of the high-quality fiber-optic taps needed for realizing various fiber-optic signal-processing, interconnection, monitoring, and sensor systems.

© 1990 Optical Society of America

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