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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 18, Iss. 5 — Mar. 1, 2010
  • pp: 4547–4556
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Strong infrared spectral broadening in low-loss As-S chalcogenide suspended core microstructured optical fibers

M. El-Amraoui, J. Fatome, J. C. Jules, B. Kibler, G. Gadret, C. Fortier, F. Smektala, I. Skripatchev, C.F. Polacchini, Y. Messaddeq, J. Troles, L. Brilland, M. Szpulak, and G. Renversez  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 18, Issue 5, pp. 4547-4556 (2010)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.18.004547


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Abstract

We report the fabrication and characterization of the first guiding chalcogenide As2S3 microstructured optical fibers (MOFs) with a suspended core. At 1.55 µm, the measured losses are approximately 0.7 dB/m or 0.35 dB/m according to the MOF core size. The fibers have been designed to present a zero dispersion wavelength (ZDW) around 2 µm. By pumping the fibers at 1.55 µm, strong spectral broadenings are obtained in both 1.8 and 45-m-long fibers by using a picosecond fiber laser.

© 2010 OSA

1. Introduction

In this work, we report the fabrication of the first low loss suspended core chalcogenide microstructured optical fiber, with chromatic dispersion management, together with the demonstration of a spectral broadening toward infrared wavelengths. The realization of these fibers has been reached thanks to a bilateral project Fapesp-CNRS, between ICB-Université de Bourgogne France and The Institute of Chemistry, Araraquara, Brazil.

The article is organized as follows: first we describe the fiber design we have realized to optimize the spectral broadband generation. Then, we present the fabrication process of the As2S3 glass and the fiber drawing. Finally, we show the experimental linear and nonlinear characterizations of our fibers. From comparison with numerical simulations, we are able to validate the experimental results. The presented work has important consequences for the application of future As2S3 MOF-based devices for wavelength conversion in the mid-infrared.

2. As2S3 suspended core fiber design for broadband generation

Our long-term objective is to get an As2S3 MOF to generate a supercontinuum covering the full 3-5 µm range. To reach it, one solution is to shift downward the zero dispersion wavelength (ZDW) of the MOF to a value below 2.2 µm in order to be able to pump the fiber in the anomalous dispersion regime using a source around 2.1 µm. Such a control of the chromatic dispersion can be obtained using two kinds of MOF profiles: the conventional one based on a subset of a triangular lattice of holes and the suspended core one. Nevertheless, the former design with its required tiny pitches needs too many rings of holes for the current chalcogenide MOF technology to get guiding losses below material ones [11

11. L. Brilland, F. Smektala, G. Renversez, T. Chartier, J. Troles, T. Nguyen, N. Traynor, and A. Monteville, “Fabrication of complex structures of Holey Fibers in chalcogenide glass,” Opt. Express 14(3), 1280–1285 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

,20

20. G. Renversez, B. Kuhlmey, and R. McPhedran, “Dispersion management with microstructured optical fibers: ultraflattened chromatic dispersion with low losses,” Opt. Lett. 28(12), 989–991 (2003). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

,26

26. F. Désévédavy, G. Renversez, L. Brilland, P. Houizot, J. Troles, Q. Coulombier, F. Smektala, N. Traynor, and J. L. Adam, “Small-core chalcogenide microstructured fibers for the infrared,” Appl. Opt. 47(32), 6014–6021 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. Consequently, only the suspended core profile can be currently considered to reach our objective.

3. As2S3 glass and suspended core fibers fabrication

Arsenic trisulfide bulk glass (As2S3) is prepared by melting high purity (5N) elemental arsenic and sulfur in evacuated and vacuum sealed silica ampoules, placed in a rocking furnace at 700°C for 12 h. Some distillations are previously realized in order to purify starting elements from their remaining pollutants such as water or carbon. After refining, the silica ampoule containing the glass melt is quenched at room temperature. The solid glass rod obtained is then immediately annealed around glass transition temperature (≈200°C) for 10h. A typical batch weight is 60g. The glass rod is typically 7 cm length for 16 mm diameter. There are several different techniques to elaborate preforms for microstructured fibers depending on the material (silica, non-silica, polymer etc). For soft materials, such as polymers for example, the holes can be directly drilled in the preform [33

33. G. Barton, M. A. V. Eijkelenborg, G. Henry, C. J. Large, and J. Zagari, “Fabrication of microstructured polymer optical fibres,” Opt. Fiber Technol. 10(4), 325–335 (2004). [CrossRef]

]. In the case of silica, the most convenient way is a handy preparation of the preform. The most used technique consists in staking capillaries and rods, thus forming on a macroscopic scale, the desired fiber microscopic geometry [34

34. J. C. Knight, T. A. Birks, P. S. J. Russell, and D. M. Atkin, “All-silica single-mode optical fiber with photonic crystal cladding,” Opt. Lett. 21(19), 1547–1549 (1996) (REMOVED HYPERLINK FIELD) (REMOVED HYPERLINK FIELD). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. This procedure is usually called ‘stack-and-draw’ and is used when it is possible to obtain high optical and geometrical quality tubes that can be subsequently drawn to capillaries. Those are then stacked to form the desired preform, which is finally pulled to fiber. However, this technique presents many disadvantages concerning the optical qualities of MOFs, in particular for chalcogenide ones. It is time consuming due to multiples stages of the elaboration, there are surfaces degradation caused by handy manipulation, and the presence of interstitial holes. These features implicate higher optical losses. To overcome these problems and to avoid the multiple steps imposed by the stack and draw procedure, we have chosen an alternative technique. After annealing, the glass rod undergoes mechanical machining to get three holes of typically 1 mm diameter and 40 mm length around a solid core. The preforms prepared this way are then drawn into fibers.

4. Experimental and numerical results

4.1 Linear optical characterizations

4.1.1 Optical losses of As2S3 single index fibers

Initially we have measured the losses of single index fibers obtained by the drawing of As2S3 glass rods, in order to check the level of losses of the initial bulk glass, before any machining of the preform. The measurements are realized by the cut back technique with the help of a FTIR spectrophotometer, between 2 and 6 µm. Figure 2
Fig. 2 : Typical attenuation curve of a single index As2S3 optical fiber.
presents the typical attenuation curve of these fibers. The results illustrate the good optical quality of the bulks reached in our glass elaboration process.

The background level of losses is around 0.4 dB/m between 2 and 6 µm. We observe an extrinsic S-H absorption band at 4 µm. This absorption (22 dB/m) corresponds to a residual SH pollution of the glass. The extinction coefficient associated to the SH vibration being 2.5 dB/m/ppm [35

35. M. F. Churbanov, I. V. Scripatchev, G. E. Snopatin, V. S. Shiryaev, and V. G. Plotnichenko, “High purity glasses based on arsenic chalcogenides,” J. Optoelectron. Adv. Mater. 3, 341–349 (2001).

] at 4 µm, the residual SH content is of only 9 ppm.

4.1.2 Geometrical profiles of As2S3 suspended core fibers

We have observed the sections of the fibers obtained by the drawing of machined preforms by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). In Fig. 3
Fig. 3 SEM pictures of two As2S3 suspended core fibers with a core size of 2.6µm (a) and 2.3µm (b).
are presented the SEM pictures of the two fibers that are under study in this work. Suspended core fibers presenting three holes around a solid core in a triangular shape have effectively been obtained, with a very good control of the geometry. From these images, we have measured the core diameter of the fibers, defined as the diameter of the circle inscribed in the triangular core. Typically two different core sizes have been obtained, 2.6 µm and 2.3µm. These values are really close to the diameter predicted from numerical simulations in order to reach a zero dispersion wavelength (ZDW) close to 2.1 µm.

4.1.3 Optical losses of As2S3 suspended core fibers

We have then measured the losses of the suspended core MOFs. Due to the small core of these fibers, it was not possible to obtain the spectral attenuation curve using our FTIR spectrophotometer. We have then realized discrete measurements with the help of a fibered source at 1.55 µm. On 2 meters of the 2.6-µm core MOF, the losses are found to be 0.7 dB/m. On 45 meters of the 2.3-µm core MOF, the losses are found to be 0.35 dB/m. These values are fully consistent with the attenuations obtained on single index fibers (see Fig. 2), and illustrate the very good quality of our chalcogenide MOFs. What's more, the machining process we have developed allow to obtain microstructured fibers without any excess of losses due to the preform elaboration process, as it is generally observed with the stack and draw procedure. Thus, the losses level we have obtained is ten times lower than the best one reported for chalcogenide MOF fabricated by the stack and draw technique [24

24. C. Fortier, J. Fatome, S. Pitois, F. Smektala, G. Millot, J. Troles, F. Désévédavy, P. Houizot, L. Brilland, and N. Traynor, “Experimental investigation of Brillouin and Raman scattering in a 2SG sulfide glass microstructured chalcogenide fiber,” Opt. Express 16(13), 9398–9404 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

] and corresponds to the best of our knowledge to the lowest optical losses reported to date on chalcogenide MOFs.

From these loss measurements and the results given in section 2, it can be deduced that, for the fundamental mode, the limiting factor are the material losses and not the guiding ones. The preliminary results already given can be completed taking into account the material losses. The overall losses can be computed adding a global positive imaginary part at the relative electric permittivity of the matrix. It will be named εimag and it depends on the wavelength. Since the average material loss level is 0.4 dB/m in the range 2-6 µm (except around the SH peak), we get εimag= 5.54 10−6 at 1.55 µm (assuming that the material losses at 1.55µm are equal to the average loss level), εimag=1.07 10−6 at 3 µm, and εimag=1.79 10−6 at 5 µm. For the 2.3 µm core size MOF profile and the three considered wavelengths, the fundamental mode losses are around 0.4 dB/m whereas the second mode ones are now similar to the fundamental mode one (around 0.4 dB/m up to 2 µm) but around 2 dB/m at 3 µm, and above 70 dB/m for λ above 4 µm. Consequently, we can confirm that, taking into account the material losses, the MOF cannot be considered as single mode in the short wavelength window of the infrared atmospheric transmission band but it remains single mode, as stated in section 2, in its upper part due to the differential guiding loss between the fundamental and the second modes. The remaining issue is that the pump wavelength fixed either around 1.55 µm or around 2 µm will be in the multimode regime of the suspended core MOF. While these characteristics may have some negative influence on the supercontinuum generation, reasonable broadening is still expected, as demonstrated in probably multimode tellurite suspended core MOF already [21

21. P. Domachuk, N. A. Wolchover, M. Cronin-Golomb, A. Wang, A. K. George, C. M. B. Cordeiro, J. C. Knight, and F. G. Omenetto, “Over 4000 nm bandwidth of mid-IR supercontinuum generation in sub-centimeter segments of highly nonlinear tellurite PCFs,” Opt. Express 16(10), 7161–7168 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

].

4.1.4 Suspended core MOF dispersion properties

We have measured the chromatic dispersion of our suspended core fiber (core diameter 2.3 µm and 2.6 µm) around 1.55 µm, on 50 cm fiber length (Fig. 4
Fig. 4 : Comparison between the experimental chromatic dispersion curves of 2.3-µm (circles) and 2.6-µm (triangles) As2S3 suspended core fibers and their corresponding numerical results (blue and red solid lines, respectively).
).

The measurement setup is based on the well-known interferometric method, which is particularly suitable to characterize short segments of optical fiber [36

36. J. Fatome, C. Fortier, T. N. Nguyen, T. Chartier, F. Smektala, K. Messaad, B. Kibler, S. Pitois, G. Gadret, C. Finot, J. Troles, F. Désévédavy, P. Houizot, G. Renversez, L. Brilland, and N. Traynor, “Linear and Nonlinear Characterizations of Chalcogenide Photonic Crystal Fibers,” J. Lightwave Technol. 27(11), 1707–1715 (2009). [CrossRef]

]. The home-made interferometric setup consists of an all-fiber Mach-Zehnder interferometer, in which the reference arm was made of an integrated fiber delay-line spliced to two broadband 50:50 couplers. The chalcogenide MOF under-test was inserted into the test path by means of two fiber splicers and micro-lens fibers in order to minimize injection losses. The resulting interference pattern was monitored in the frequency domain thanks to an optical spectrum analyzer (OSA) and the chromatic dispersion was deduced from the evolution of the central fringe wavelength with respect to the reference arm delay [36

36. J. Fatome, C. Fortier, T. N. Nguyen, T. Chartier, F. Smektala, K. Messaad, B. Kibler, S. Pitois, G. Gadret, C. Finot, J. Troles, F. Désévédavy, P. Houizot, G. Renversez, L. Brilland, and N. Traynor, “Linear and Nonlinear Characterizations of Chalcogenide Photonic Crystal Fibers,” J. Lightwave Technol. 27(11), 1707–1715 (2009). [CrossRef]

]. Experimental results (circles and triangles) are plotted in Fig. 4 and compared with numerical simulations for both chalcogenide MOFs.

The experimental chromatic dispersion was found to be D = −240 and −280 ps/nm.km around 1550 nm for the 2.3-µm and 2.6-µm core MOFs respectively, with dispersion slope about 1 ps/nm2.km. One can notice the good agreement between experimental and theoretical values. Since the computed ZDW are around 2.1 µm and 2.2 µm for the 2.3 µm and the 2.6 µm core MOFs respectively, we can expect that the experimental ZDW of the two fibers are close to the targeted value of 2.1 µm.

4.2 Non linear optical characterizations

4.2.1 Self-phase modulation and Raman scattering

The nonlinear features of our suspended core chalcogenide fibers were first characterized in a 1.8-m long sample (2.6 µm of core diameter and 0.7 dB/m losses). An amplified PRITEL mode-locked fiber laser generating 8-ps pulses at a repetition rate of 22 MHz around 1550 nm was injected into the PCF. The injection test-bed consists of a 2.7-µm mode filed diameter micro-lens fiber aligned with a splicing machine, which allow us to achieve 4-dB insertion losses. The input average power is controlled by a variable attenuator coupled with an inline power-meter. Note that a polarization controller is also placed just before injection in order to maximize the self-phase modulation (SPM) induced spectral broadening within the chalcogenide fiber. At the output of the fiber, the signal is finally monitored thanks to an optical spectrum analyzer (OSA).

Figure 5
Fig. 5 : Output spectra (blue solid line) recorded from the 1.8-m long 2.6-µm core diameter suspended core fiber for input peak powers of (a) 18 W (b) 28 W and (c) 54 W. Corresponding numerical simulations are also reported with black lines and crosses.
shows the experimental results (blue lines) obtained for increasing input powers. We can observe in Fig. 5a that pulses undergo typical self-phase modulation behaviour with induced spectral broadening and oscillations appearance. On the other hand, as illustrated in Fig. 5 (b, c) on a wide range of wavelengths, we note the generation of a spontaneous Raman scattering stokes wave centred on 1635 nm, which confirms the strong Raman gain and the 10.1-THz (85-nm) Raman shift exhibit by MOF chalcogenide fibers [24

24. C. Fortier, J. Fatome, S. Pitois, F. Smektala, G. Millot, J. Troles, F. Désévédavy, P. Houizot, L. Brilland, and N. Traynor, “Experimental investigation of Brillouin and Raman scattering in a 2SG sulfide glass microstructured chalcogenide fiber,” Opt. Express 16(13), 9398–9404 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

].

4.2.2 Broadband spectrum generation

5. Conclusion

Acknowledgements.

We would like to acknowledge the Conseil Regional de Bourgogne, the French DGA (contract 05.34.053), the bilateral French Brazilian CNRS Fapesp program, the Mission des Ressources et Compétences Technologiques du CNRS (project Chalcocapir), the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (FUTUR project 2006 TCOM 016) and the European COST Action 299.

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OCIS Codes
(060.2270) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber characterization
(060.2280) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber design and fabrication
(060.2390) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber optics, infrared
(160.2750) Materials : Glass and other amorphous materials
(160.4330) Materials : Nonlinear optical materials
(190.4370) Nonlinear optics : Nonlinear optics, fibers
(060.5295) Fiber optics and optical communications : Photonic crystal fibers

ToC Category:
Fiber Optics and Optical Communications

History
Original Manuscript: December 18, 2009
Revised Manuscript: February 5, 2010
Manuscript Accepted: February 7, 2010
Published: February 19, 2010

Citation
M. El-Amraoui, J. Fatome, J. C. Jules, B. Kibler, G. Gadret, C. Fortier, F. Smektala, I. Skripatchev, C.F. Polacchini, Y. Messaddeq, J. Troles, L. Brilland, M. Szpulak, and G. Renversez, "Strong infrared spectral broadening in low-loss As-S chalcogenide suspended core microstructured optical fibers," Opt. Express 18, 4547-4556 (2010)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-18-5-4547


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