Chalcogenide Infrared Fiber Manufacturing Technology

Period of Performance: 06/25/2012 - 04/26/2013

$80K

Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Irflex Corp.
300 Ringgold Industrial Parkway
Danville, VA 24540
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

University of North Carolina Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28223
Institution POC

Abstract

Chalcogenide glass fibers are extensively used for delivery of mid-infrared (2 to 5 micron) laser wavelengths. They are needed for development of next-generation directed infrared countermeasure (DIRCM) systems. These new systems will have a reduction of both weight and size allowing their installation in vehicle and aircraft with stringent weight and size requirements. These fibers have industrial uses, such as remote sensing, environmental monitoring, and spectroscopy. Chalcogenide fibers, however, lose about 50% transmission beyond ~ 10 meters and suffer from low mechanical strength passing the 15 kpsi tensile proof test. The main contributors to the loss level and mechanical strength are the various impurities in the glass, and contaminant exposure and imperfections introduced during the fiber draw. Therefore, to obtain good fiber transmission over 10 meters and improved mechanical properties, a novel manufacturing process will be developed. The proposed work will demonstrate the feasibility and plan of developing an innovative manufacturing process for producing improved chalcogenide glass fibers. This new process will bring modification to both glass and fiber production processes. The new manufacturing technology will enable production of optical fibers with losses below 0.15 dB/m and tensile proof strength at 20 kpsi or greater.