RESEARCH ARTICLE


Rapid Constructions of Microstructures for Optical Fiber Sensors Using a Commercial CO2 Laser System



Rudi Irawan*, 1, 3, Tjin Swee Chuan2, Tay Chia Meng1, Tan Khay Ming2
1 SUWA, BioMedical Engineering Research Centre, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 637553
2 Photonics Research Centre, School of EEE, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639798
3 Department of Physics, University of Lampung, Bandar Lampung 35145, Indonesia


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© Irawan et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/), which permits unrestrictive use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Block 418, Bedok North Avenue 2, #08-69, Singapore 460418; Tel: +65-64412471; E-mail: erirawan@ntu.edu.sg


Abstract

Exposing an optical fiber core to the measurand surrounding the fiber is often used to enhance the sensitivity of an optical fiber sensor. This paper reports on the rapid fabrication of microstructures in an optical fiber using a CO2 laser system which help exposing the optical fiber core to the measurand. The direct-write CO2 laser system used is originally designed for engraving the polymeric material. Fabrications of microstructures such as in-fiber microhole, D-shaped fiber, in-fiber microchannel, side-sliced fiber and tapered fiber were attempted. The microstructures in the fibers were examined using a SEM and an optical microscope. Quality of microstructures shown by the SEM images and promising results from fluorescence sensor tests using in-fiber microchannels of 100μm width, 210μm depth and 10mm length show the prospect of this method for use in optical fiber sensor development. The direct-write CO2 laser system is a flexible and fast machining tool for fabricating microstructures in an optical fiber, and can possibly be a replacement of the time consuming chemical etching and polishing methods used for microstructure fabrications of optical the fiber sensors reported in other literatures.

Keywords: Optical fiber, chemical or biological sensing, rapid construction of optical fiber sensors, fluorescence-based detection..