Dual Hybrid Glass Non-Polymer Coatings for Optical Fibers

Period of Performance: 05/22/2003 - 11/22/2003

$99K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Hybrid Glass Technologies, Inc.
Princeton Corporate Plaza1 Deer park Drive, Suite
Monmouth Junction, NJ 08852
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Hybrid Glass Technologies Inc.(HGT) proposes to develop novel, hybrid glass based protective coatings for optical fibers. These dual layer coatings not swellable by water or organic solvents will possess the hermetic properties that eliminate water corrosion of the fiber, provide mechanical protection, significantly reduce the diameter of the coated fiber and substantially improve the fiber lifetime and reliability performance. The hybrid glass formulation is either heat or UV-curable and will be fully compatible with current coating techniques and systems. Due to the hybrid material viscoelastic properties and its ability to form strong chemical bonds with the glass surface, the novel coatings will eliminate the problems with fiber terminations and splicing and reduce microbending losses of the fiber. The coating components will be synthesized by a well controlled, cost effective, environmentally benign modified sol-gel process. The formulations for the hybrid glass coatings will be low viscosity, solvent free clear liquids, stabilized to achieve a long shelf life. They will be able to cure rapidly and therefore be applied on-line during fiber drawing. The planned process will produce a class of inorganic-organic hybrid glass formulations yielding superadherent, hermetic coatings with tailored hardness and of excellent mechanical, chemical and environmental stability. While the most immediate applications of the non-polymer hybrid coatings being developed under this phase I SBIR project, are targeted to optical fibers in adverse military environment, all of today's commercial telecom fibers as well as photonic components can potentially be impacted by the proposed HGT effort. More than 99% of all current optical fibers employ UV-cured polymer coatings that make them vulnerable to significant strength reduction and eventual failure in the field. This is clearly a dual use materials technology that is being proposed. Major fiber manufacturers such as Corning Incorporated, OFS-Fitel and Alcatel are potential licensees of a next generation optical fiber coatings. In addition, low cost hermetic packaging technology for electronic and optoelectronic circuity might also benefit from this R&D effort. Emerging civilian markets for next generation optical fibers will include a diversity of applications including fiber to home(FTTH), intelligent infrastracture, environmental monitoring, biomedical imaging, automative sensing and smart packaging.