Fusion splicing optical fibers
With electric cables, it is possible to make an electrical connection by bringing the copper wires through which the electricity flows into contact with each other in some form. In contrast, optical fiber cables have a two-layer structure consisting of a core and the clad. Since light travels through the core, it is impossible to establish a connection optically even if the clads are brought into contact with one another. Such a connection requires the cores within which the light travels to be accurately aligned. The point in which this connection is made is generally referred to as the alignment. In addition, although the fusion splicer melts the tips of the opposing optical fiber cables with the heat generated by an arc discharge and connects the two, the two-layer structure must be maintained to prevent light from leaking. A fusion splicer must possess the following features in order to correctly fusion splice optical fiber cables with high precision and low loss.
(1) Ability to accurately recognize core position
In low-quality optical fibres, the core centre position may deviate from the center of the cladding (known as eccentricity or Core to Cladding Concentricity Error). When joining such fibres, the cores may be misaligned even when the cladding centres are aligned.
(2) Mechanism that aligns core positions of opposing fiber optic cables
Light leaks out when the cores are not aligned, increasing connection loss. The core positions may be misaligned if there is dirt or contamination on the part of the fusion splicer known as the V groove that sets the fiber optic cable.
(3) Ability to set appropriate arc discharge conditions
Because materials and structures are different depending on the type and number of cores of a fiber optic cable, appropriate discharge conditions differ for each. Connection of cables under the wrong conditions may cause the two-layer structure to collapse, leaving them unable to connect correctly. Although the arc appropriate discharge conditions differ depending on the type and number of cores of the fiber optic cable due to the difference in materials and structure, connecting cables under the wrong conditions may destroy the two-layer structure.
(4) The advantages of a core alignment splicer
A core alignment splicer is a fusion splicer that uses the core alignment method to observe the core from two directions with a built-in microscope and determine through image processing the position in which the central axes of the cores are aligned.
Core alignment splicers possess all three features mentioned above. Starting with (1), the core alignment splicer uses a high-precision microscope and CMOS camera to observe the core in detail, enabling accurate detection of the core position even with an eccentric fiber optic cable. As for (2), even if the position of the optical fibers are deviated due to dust or contamination on the V groove, the V groove is moveable and equipped with a drive system that can be controlled in submicron order, allowing the optical fibers to be adjusted to the proper position. Furthermore, with regard to (3), the core alignment splicer uses a high-precision microscope and is equipped with advanced image processing technology with which the type of optical fiber can be identified, making it possible to automatically set appropriate conditions depending on the type of optical fibers being fused. For that reason, even less experienced workers can carry out construction projects with confidence.
A core alignment splicer is a high-end piece of equipment capable of establishing a connection with extremely low loss. It is primarily used for the construction of the trunk lines and access networks. Sumitomo Electric’s lineup features our flagship model the TYPE-81C, the entry model the Z1C. Follow the links below for details on each product to help you consider your purchase.