Non-contact Fiber optic connectors: A new category of fiber optic connectors

author:Arrayed Fiberoptics  Upload time : 2019-11-05  view count : 292 time

Abstract: We report on a new category of fiber connectors called non-contact connectors. By introducing a gap between anti-reflection coated fiber facets, a connector with outstanding optical performance, reliability and low cost is achieved. OCIS codes: (060.2340); (060.2360) There are two categories of optical fiber connectors in general today. In the first category are conventional connectors; these are based on physical contact and were developed in the 1980s with an eye toward simplicity and ease of implementation. If there is a gap between two fiber facets of optical fiber connectors, there are multiple reflections at the facets which interfere coherently and cause insertion loss to vary by as much as 0.6dB, resulting in a potentially bad connection [1]. The simplest way to remove the multiple reflections is to eliminate the gap through tight physical contact. The advantages of this approach included low manufacturing cost and the ability to create connector terminations in the field. Since the performance of the physical contact connector was sufficient for most purposes, it is no surprise that it quickly became the standard for the fiber optics industry and has remained so for the past three decades. However, connectors based on the physical contact mechanism frequently suffer from problems because there can sometimes be an unintended air gap. An air gap can occur due to various means, such as dust and other contaminants, and imperfect match of connector geometry. Finally, repeated physical contact results in surface damage and limited lifetime. A second category of connector is the expanded beam connector, where a lens is used to collimate an expanded beam. This type of connector is very robust at maintaining tolerable optical connection but suffers from poor optical performance, higher cost and complexity. Insertion loss is typically 0.8 dB and return loss is 34 dB, both very poor values compared to physical contact connectors. This type of connector finds very limited applications in harsh environments. In this paper, we report a new category of optical fiber connectors called non-contact (NC) optical fiber connectors (patent pending), which is based on a new operating principle of proximity coupling. Figure 1 shows an angled non-contact connector (ANC), which is made by modifying physical contact connectors. For clarity, only the fiber-ferrule assembly is shown. Other necessary parts of a connector including the housing, the spring, the latching

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