Brillouin Optical Fiber that Resists Heat Stress (2012-082)

Market Overview:

Optical fibers enable of a wide variety of modern technologies. However, during use optical fibers generate heat, negatively impacting their performance.  This form of thermal dependence is especially problematic for high-energy fiber laser and optical fiber sensor systems.  Currently, the market for optical fiber sensors is projected to be $4 billion by 2017 and experience a growth rate of 20.3%. The addition of alumina to the silica fibers can mitigate the thermal effects on the fibers, however, conventional methods severely limit the addition of alumina. In order to solve this problem and take advantage of the optimal market environment, Clemson University researchers developed a novel process that uses a molten-core technique to add sapphire (Al2O3) to silica (SiO2) glass.  Ultimately, this is a scalable manufacturing technique that allows for unstable glasses to be directly obtained in fiber form, creating an optical fiber that has a temperature-independent acoustic spectrum.


Application                                                          Stage of Development

High energy fiber lasers; optical fiber sensors                       Validated Prototype



•       Manufacturing method drastically reduces acoustic scattering, eliminating a significant drawback of current high -powered systems

•       Precursor materials are relatively low-cost, enabling scalability and competitive pricing for entry into new markets

•       Process utilizes a continuous high-speed manufacturing compatible with existing commercial techniques, allowing for easy adaption and implementation


Technical Summary

Clemson University researchers developed a molten-core technique to add sapphire (Al2O3) to silica glass (SiO2).  The addition of alumina to silica fibers greatly enhances the fiber’s immunity to selected optical non-linearities.  The core material is able to melt at the temperature in which the cladding glass draws into the fiber.  The high quench rate permit s previously unrealizable core compositions to be directly obtained in fiber form.  This invention accomplishes the formation of an optical fiber whose acoustic (Brillouin) spectrum is temperature-independent, a characteristic that has never been previously validated.

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Inventor:                        Dr. John Ballato & Dr. Peter Dragic

Patent Type:                  Utility

Serial Number:              14/245,448

CURF Ref No:              2012-082

Patent Information:
Advanced Materials
For Information, Contact:
Chris Gesswein
Director of Licensing
Clemson University Research Foundation
John Ballato
Peter Dragic
Optical Fibers/Materials/Other
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