Semi-conductor Core Optical Fibers and Fabrication Dependence of the Grain Structure

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Virginia Tech

The production and fabrication of semi-conductor core optical fibers was shown to be feasible and controllable. This was accomplished through the step sequence of fabrication and characterization of 4 fiber types, an experiment on controlling the grain length in the core and a simple model of the heat transfer during fabrication. Fibers were first made with a silicon core, followed by a phosphorous doped n-type silicon core, then a boron doped p-type silicon core, and a tellurium doped n-type gallium antimonide core. Characterization of the fibers was accomplished with energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) for compositional analysis, electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) for crystal orientation and grain size, optical and electron microscopy for physical fiber quality and optical transmission for core optical quality. A model was developed to relate the heat transfer with the grain structure of the fiber core. All of the fibers fabricated had a polycrystalline core with either no detectable oxygen in the case of the silicon fibers or low amounts of oxygen diffusion into the core as in the case of the GaSb fibers. Fiber lengths ranged from 7 cm for the initial silicon fibers to 60 cm and outside diameters down to 100 µm for n and p type silicon fibers. Core diameters for all fiber types ranged from 10 – 200 µm depending on the fabrication parameters. Lengths of major grains in the core are dependent on the core diameter and the pulling speed. The grain lengths of the major grains in the core generally increase in length with an increase in core diameter. Grain lengths in all fibers are thought to be suitable for use in fabrication of electronic structures in the core region with even the smallest average grain length of around 300 µm. This grain structure satisfies the grain boundary requirements for fabrication of boundary free p-n junctions and other more complicated electronic structures. Small core diameter fibers had better physical quality with fewer cracks and longer continuous length than the larger core fibers.

Gallium Antimonide, Silicon, Silicon Optical Fiber Grain length, EBSD