Stable low-loss optical nanofibres embedded in hydrophobic aerogel


Xiao, L., Grogan, M. D. W., Wadsworth, W. J., England, R. and Birks, T. A., 2011. Stable low-loss optical nanofibres embedded in hydrophobic aerogel. Optics Express, 19 (2), pp. 764-769.

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    Nanofibres, optical fibres narrower than the wavelength of light, degrade in hours on exposure to air. We show that encapsulation in hydrophobic silica aerogel (refractive index 1.05) provides protection and stability (over 2 months) without sacrificing low attenuation, strong confinement and accessible evanescent field. The measured attenuation was 0.03 dB/mm, over 10 lower than reported with other encapsulants. This enables many nanofibre applications based on their extreme small size and strong external evanescent field, such as optical sensors, nonlinear optics, nanofibre circuits and high-Q resonators. The aerogel is more than a waterproof box, it is a completely-compatible gas-permeable material in intimate contact with the nanofibre and hydrophobic on both the macroscopic and molecular scales. Its benefits are illustrated by experiments on gas sensing (exploiting the aerogel's porosity) and supercontinuum generation (exploiting its ultra-low index). 2011 Optical Society of America.


    Item Type Articles
    CreatorsXiao, L., Grogan, M. D. W., Wadsworth, W. J., England, R. and Birks, T. A.
    Related URLs
    URLURL Type
    DepartmentsFaculty of Science > Physics
    Research CentresCentre for Photonics and Photonic Materials
    Publisher StatementBirks_OE_2011_19_2_764.pdf: © The Optical Society. This paper was published in Optics Express and is made available as an electronic reprint with the permission of OSA. The paper can be found at the following URL on the OSA website: Systematic or multiple reproduction or distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.
    ID Code22624


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