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Semiconductor optical fibers marry the enablement of modern electronic devices of semiconductors with the light-guiding capability of fiber optics. Combining these attributes allows for the desirable material properties of important semiconductor phases in the form of long lengths of fiber. Semiconductor optical fibers are made using one of two approaches: the molten core method and a chemical vapor deposition method. The molten core method melts the semiconductor at a temperature where the glass cladding softens and draws to fiber. Historically, technologically important semiconductors, such as GaAs and ZnSe, cannot be made into semiconductor optical fiber using this method because of high vapor pressure exploding the preform before the fiber can be formed. Clemson University researchers have developed an improvement upon the molten core method that adds a secondary phase to the semiconductor precursor allowing for a lower vapor pressure. A plurality of phases may form upon cooling, including the desired compound. The other phase can be removed via conventional thermal or laser annealing.

Applications:

Laser, Optic Fiber, Vapor Pressure, Molten Core, Electronics

Technical Summary:

The molten core flux method builds upon the molten core method. The molten core method approach creates semiconductor optical fibers by melting the semiconductor at a temperature where the glass cladding softens and draws to fiber. The improved process adds a secondary phase to the semiconductor precursor that the two phases form a homogenous solution about the liquidus. The liquidus temperature is reduced relative to the melting point of either of the pure compositions. The homogenous liquid has a low enough vapor pressure to prevent the explosion of the semiconductor/glass preform prior to the drawing of the fiber. Therefore, the low vapor pressure allows the glass-clad fiber to be drawn. The molten core flux method has demonstrated promising initial results with both GaAs and ZnSe. GaAs semiconductor optical fiber was achieved as the dominant core phase with single secondary phase that is relatively low melting.

Advantages:

  • Low vapor pressure allows for semiconductor optical fibers to be made from desirable materials, such as GaAs and ZnSe.
  • Uses industry-accepted draw methods and established laser post-processing, enabling scalability.

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Technology Overview

State of Development

TRL3: Proof of Concept

Patent Type

N/A

Category

Advanced Materials, Manufacturing, Fiber and Films

Serial Number

63/288,925

CURF Reference No.

2021-041

Inventors

John Ballato, Thomasina Zaengle, Baris Kukuoz, Ursula Gibson


For More Info, Contact:

Andy Bluvas
Technology Commercialization Officer
bluvasa@clemson.edu

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