A Novel Continuous Production Method for Rugged GRIN Plastic Optical Fiber

Period of Performance: 05/18/1998 - 08/11/2000

$750K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Nanoptics, Inc.
3014 NE 21st Way
Gainesville, FL 32609
Principal Investigator

Abstract

This proposal is to set up a prototype facility for a continuous production process of rugged, low moisture content, high bandwidth, gradient index plastic optical fiber. This type of fiber is expected to have great utility in high speed local area networks. The objective is to produce the lowest cost, highest quality, gradient index plastic optical fiber in the world. Existing Japanese production methods result in bandwidths which are three to ten times less than theoretically possible and the bandwidth of the fiber is not stable and reproducible. The production rate is intrinsically limited by the batch nature of the process and, or, multi-step procedure as distinct from the continuous process being proposed here. The proposed manufacturing process is fundamentally different from that used in Japan. It is unique in having a low capital investment cost. This advantage will permit the cost of the Nanoptics gradient index fiber to be comparable to the Japanese step index fiber. The Nanoptics gradient index fiber will be unique in containing only ploymeric material and now low molecular weight additives. This will ensure a long term, thermally stable product. The feasibility of each step of the Phase II program was established in Phase I. Specifically, the present proposal is to develop a novel, low cost, continuous production process for gradient index fiber designed to operate at 650 nm. The fiber will have a stable bandwidth of > 10 GHz 100m, be stable from -40C to +150C, have low moisture uptake, attenuation of about 100dB/kilomemter and be stable to radiation exposure up to 1000 Rad.