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  • FIBER OPTIC & FIBER LASER HISTORY & AMERICAN OPTICAL Jeff Hecht Author, City of Light: The story of fiber optics Contributing Editor, Laser Focus World

    Hecht fiber history 1

  • 1841 Colladon's Fountain Total internal reflection

    Water-air interface

    Guides along parabola Scattering in water Sparkling at turbulence Dark at smooth areas

    Hecht fiber history 2

  • Paris fountains at night 1889

    Hecht fiber history 3

  • Origins of imaging fiber bundles Patented 1930, Clarence W. Hansell

    Demonstrated 1930, Heinrich Lamm

    Reinvented after World War II

    Hecht fiber history 4

  • Postwar fiber optics

    Holger Mller Hansen Harold H. Hopkins

    Hecht fiber history 5

  • The Road to AO

    A.C.S. Van Heel Brian O'Brien

    Hecht fiber history 6

  • A full agenda at AO

    Van Heel's bundle Todd-AO Oklahoma

    O'Brien Jr, Todd, Fred Zinnermann, O'Brien Sr, Hammerstein

    Hecht fiber history 7

  • Brian O'Brien and Will Hicks

    Brian O'Brien

    Told CIA that fiber bundles could scramble images

    Did nothing for months Busy with Todd-AO Briefed Hicks

    September 1954 gave him 2 plastic-clad fibers

    Went back to Todd-AO

    Will Hicks

    Physicist Furman U, UC Berkeley

    Working on fibers for Milliken Research Trust Textiles, not glass

    CIA hired him for AO Assignment

    Make and clad fibers Assemble into image


    Hecht fiber history 8

  • The O'Brien fiber patent Voided because it was filed Nov. 19, 1954. Van Heel paper was published in Holland on 12/6/53 European style

    Hecht fiber history 9

  • Will Hicks at AO

    Validated need for cladding 'Cover story' medical imaging Real job image scrambler Crucible drawn fiber

    Plastic coated Poor transmission Double crucible glass clad

    Visits OSA Lake Placid meeting October 1956 Meets the competition

    BOSSES Steve MacNeille Walt Siegmund

    Hecht fiber history 10

  • University of Michigan

    Basil Hirschowitz Larry Curtiss

    Hecht fiber history 11

  • The Cladding Problem

    Mller Hansen margarine Van Heel Beeswax Hicks/O'Brien plastic Michigan lacquer, plastic Hicks double crucible glass Curtiss rod-in-tube glass

    Picked fire-polished rods Excellent quality Dec 1956 Needed 40 km of 40-m fiber to make 40,000-fiber flexible bundle

    Cladding essential to prevent crosstalk Needed low-index transparent material But what would work?

    Hecht fiber history 12

  • Hicks and the AO approach Progress stalled Lee Upton-AO glass

    Collapsing glass tubes onto electrical components

    Frederick Norton, MIT Millifiore glass

    Stacking fiber, then drawing down

    Rigid bundles Equipment delays

    Hecht fiber history 13

    Wikipedia art

  • Image scrambler demonstration Problems

    Mechanical polishing Contaminants

    Demonstration Looped fiber around drum Glued one region Sawed in half Scrambled fibers in middle Sawed in half again

    Encoder/decoder pair Shipped to CIA

    Vacation at last! Myrtle Beach Hicks realizes codes can

    wear out Tells CIA only 18 uses

    End of project Switches to faceplates

    Bill Gardner Image intensifiers AO fails to develop

    Hicks launches Mosaic

    Hecht fiber history 14

  • Mosaic Fabrications Fiber-optic faceplates Image intensifiers Fiber tapers Fiber-optic Christmas tree

    Hecht fiber history 15

  • Elias Snitzer joins AO Former professor at Lowell Tech

    Shown bundle photo Identifies patterns as transverse modes

    First single mode fiber With Hicks, Harold

    Osterberg, Michael Polanyi

    Develops mode theory

    Hecht fiber history 16

  • Snitzer and glass lasers Began work in 1960 Neodymium-doped glass laser: 1961

    Clad glass rods First fiber laser First fiber amplifier Later

    Dual-clad fiber 1480-nm pumping

    Hecht fiber history 17

  • Pioneering research

    Dielectric waveguide modes First glass laser, in clad rod (thick fiber)

    Hecht fiber history 18

  • Fiber amplifier

    Hecht fiber history 19

  • Eli at AO Sep 1964 with big glass laser

    Hecht fiber history 20

  • Trends in fiber communications Charles Kao proposed in 1966 Corning first low-loss fiber 1970

    Fiber was single-mode

    Bell Labs wanted multimode early 1970s Naval Research Lab used SM for sensing early 1970s Single-mode 'rediscovered' circa 1980

    British Telecom Research Labs Japanese telecommunications companies Bell Labs submarine cable group

    Global networks spread 1980s Interest in wavelength-division multiplexing Optical amplifiers to simplify design

    Hecht fiber history 21

  • First revival of fiber laser End pumping Nd-doped fiber with laser

    First with dye laser End pump with diode laser

    Prompted by interest in fiber communications

    Hecht fiber history 22

  • Doped fiber sensors Demonstrated 1983

    Hecht fiber history 23

  • Doped fiber lasers to amplifiers David Payne at University of Southampton mid-1980s

    Experiments with doped fibers Demonstrates laser action by end pumping with lasers Tests many rare earths in lasers Demonstrates erbium-fiber laser in 1.55-m band Demonstrates erbium-fiber amplifier in 1.55-m band

    Importance of fiber amplifiers Optical amplification sought for fiber communications Semiconductor optical amplifiers were noisy Single-mode fiber zero dispersion wavelength 1.3 m Single-mode fiber minimum loss 1.55 m

    Needed to be made practical for systems

    Hecht fiber history 24

  • Snitzer OFC 88 postdeadline

    Hecht fiber history 25

    Diode pumping at 1480 nm

  • The importance of fiber amplifiers Can amplify many wavelengths simultaneously Allowing wavelength division multiplexing Multiplying fiber capacity by ~100-fold Vital for long-distance transmission

    Submarine cables, continental backbone networks Developed in early 1990s

    Just as Internet growth takes off Fueled growth of Internet and telecommunications Crucial element of global telecommunications network Fiber system capacity still growing

    Spatial division multiplexing, multiple core, multiple modes 100s of terabits per second per fiber

    Hecht fiber history 26

  • Snitzer OFC 89 postdeadline

    Hecht fiber history 27

    Double-clad or dual-core fiber

  • Evolution of Fiber Lasers Diode pumping Dual-core pumping Erbium fiber lasers

    Communications Short pulse research Frequency combs

    Ytterbium fiber lasers Industrial lasers Materials working lasers High-efficiency lasers

    Advantages High efficiency High power Compact Reliable

    Applications Industrial Instrumentation Research Medical

    Hecht fiber history 28

  • Fiber laser efficiency Diode pumping

    Converts electric power into pump light efficiently ~ 50% electrical to optical efficiency

    Diode matched to absorption line Optical to optical energy conversion

    Small photon deficit between pump and output High excitation and extraction efficiency

    ~ 60-70% optical to optical conversion efficiency

    ~25-35% wall-plug efficiency attainable Reduces energy requirements Reduces cooling requirements Reduces size and weight of laser

    Hecht fiber history 29

  • NAVY LaWS (Laser Weapon System)

    Hecht fiber history 30

    Naval Sea Systems Command test integrated with Raytheon PHALANX for ship defense 6 5.5-kW fiber lasers combined to generate 30 kW Shot down UAV in marine environment, reported June 2010

  • Output beam quality BPP~10 M^2~33 DC EOE ~ 33% Output fiber core diameter 200um Output NA ~ 0.09 Output fiber length 15m Raman level at full power expected to

    be ~ -35dB Linewidth (FWHM) ~5nm Weight ~ 2,500kg Size (HxWxD): 1.8m x 2.7m x 0.8m Delivered August, 2008 Has achieved 50kW in five states and

    traveled > 10,000 highway miles

    Hecht fiber history

    50-kW multimode fiber laser

    IPG photo


  • Precision cutting

    Hecht fiber history 32

    IPG Photonics

  • Femtosecond fiber laser - Calmar Passively modelocked Erbium 1530-1565 nm

    100-500 fs 1-1000 mW avg 10-100 MHz

    Er doubled 780 nm 100 fs, 10-50 MHz 10-50 mW avg

    Yb 1030-1060 100-800 fs, 10-50 MHz 0.5 mW-5W avg Picosecond pulses


    Hecht fiber history 33

  • PolarOnyx single-frequency fiber laser

    Linewidth < 1 kHz 10-30 dBm output 1530-1565 nm Instrument or module Applications

    Fiber gyros Metrology Coherent communications Sensing Spectroscopy

    Hecht fiber history 34

  • Glass lasers

    National Ignition Facility, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Hecht fiber history 35

  • LEGACIES Ideas Inventions Enterprises

    Hecht fiber history 36

  • Enterprises Will Hicks

    Mosaic Fabrications Galileo Electro-Optics

    1984 Inc. Set up in old industrial left Goal was huge

    transmission capacity Sold to Polaroid 1982 Hicks hired Snitzer to run


    Many more

    American Optical Spun off glass lasers Continued fiber bundles Later sold to Schott

    Fiber amplifiers Fiber lasers

    IPG Photonics in Oxford Many other companies

    Hecht fiber history 37

  • Thanks to Dick Whitney IEEE IEEE Photonics Society Richard Linke Gordon Day Optical History Museum