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Research sheds light on efficiency of materials used in fibre optics

Sussex chemists have analysed the efficiency and damage thresholds of materials used in fibre optics in a step towards a new generation of opto-electronics and solar technology.

The research, conducted by Dr Aidan Fisher and Dr Mark Osborne, along with colleagues at the University of Cambridge, investigated the efficiency and laser damage thresholds of novel perovskite microwires; a material which may find use in miniaturised fibre optic applications.

Fibre optics, the technology used to transmit information as pulses of light through strands of fibre, was pioneered by Nobel Prize winner Charles K. Kao in the 1960s. Since then, its applications have become increasingly present in everyday life.

While perhaps most commonly associated with fast broadband delivery, the field has expanded into solar technology and small microscale computing devices and it is expected optical computing may one day replace traditional electronic circuits.

In order to ensure this next generation of ‘opto-electronics’ are fit for purpose, it is important to explore the efficiency and damage thresholds of the materials used.

The researchers therefore examined the waveguide efficiency and optical losses of novel perovskite microwires using a variety of laser wavelengths and intensities. They also investigated laser induced degradation pathways of the microwires using state-of-the-art microdiffraction and elemental mapping techniques, courtesy of the Department of Materials and Metallurgy at Cambridge.

Dr Aidan Fisher said: “At near-UV wavelengths we found that the microwires may be cleaved at the microscale using an intense diffraction limited laser. This offers potential routes to the ‘re-wiring’ of optical circuits in coming years.”

“At longer wavelengths we found laser ablation of the microwires is totally supressed and report light propagation efficiencies in excess of 20 % which exceeds previously reported values of their methylammonium cousins. Efficient photon propagation through the microwire is vital if these materials are to find use in next-generation opto-electronics and solar concentrator applications.”

Crystallographic phase changes and damage thresholds of CsPbI3 microwire waveguides through continuous wave photoablation is published in Materials Advances.

By: Jessica Gowers
Last updated: Thursday, 21 May 2020