PatentDe  


Dokumentenidentifikation EP1845399 29.11.2007
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0001845399
Titel Einfachmodus-Glasfaser mit geringem Krümmungsverlust, die der ITU-T G.652 Spezifikation noch entspricht
Anmelder Draka Comteq B.V., Amsterdam, NL
Erfinder Molin, Denis, 91210 Draveil, FR;
Petitfrere, Emmanuel, 59650 Villeneuve d'Ascq, FR;
Bigot-Astruc, Marianne, 78150 Le Chesnay, FR;
Nouchi, Pascale, 92410 Ville d'Avray, FR;
Sillard, Pierre, 78150 Le Chesnay, FR;
Achten, Franciscus Johannes, 5032 EM Tilburg, NL;
Lumineau, Yves, 95220 Herblay, FR;
Gooijer, Frans, 5627 ME Eindhoven, NL;
Matthijsse, Pierre, 5522 AA Hapert, NL;
De Montmorillon, Louis-Anne, 78000 Versailles, FR
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, BG, CH, CY, CZ, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, HU, IE, IS, IT, LI, LT, LU, LV, MC, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SE, SI, SK, TR
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 03.04.2007
EP-Aktenzeichen 070069091
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 17.10.2007
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 29.11.2007
IPC-Hauptklasse G02B 6/036(2006.01)A, F, I, 20070918, B, H, EP

Beschreibung[en]

The present invention relates to the field of transmissions through optical fiber, and more specifically to a line fiber having reduced bending and microbending losses.

For optical fibers, the index profile is generally described as the appearance of the graph of the function which associates the refractive index with the radius of the fiber. Conventionally, the distance r to the centre of the fiber is represented on the abscissa and the difference between the refractive index and the refractive index of the fiber cladding is represented on the ordinate. The index profile is thereby termed as a "step", "trapezium" or "triangle" for graphs which respectively have the shapes of a step, a trapezium or a triangle. These curves are generally representative of the theoretical or set profile of the fiber; constraints in manufacturing the fiber may lead to a substantially different profile.

An optical fiber conventionally consists of an optical core, which has the function of transmitting and possibly amplifying an optical signal, and of an outer optical cladding, which has the function of confining the optical signal in the core. For this purpose, the refractive indexes of the core nc and of the outer optical cladding ng are such that nc>ng. As is well known, propagation of an optical signal in a single-mode optical fiber is broken down into a fundamental guided mode in the core and into secondary modes guided over a certain distance in the core-cladding assembly, called cladding modes.

Conventionally, step-index fibers also called single mode fibers (SMFs), are used as a line fiber for transmission systems with optical fibers. These fibers exhibit chromatic dispersion and a chromatic dispersion slope meeting specific telecommunications standards.

For requirements of compatibility between optical systems from different manufacturers, the International Telecommunication Union, the acronym of which is ITU, defined a standard with a specification referenced as ITU-T G.652, with which an optical fiber for standard transmission should comply, called SSMF for standard single mode fiber.

This specification G.652 recommends i.a. for a transmission fiber, the range [8.6; 9.5 µm] for the value of the mode field diameter (MFD), at a wavelength of 1310 nm; a maximum of 1260 nm for the value of the cable cut-off wavelength; the range [1300; 1324 nm] for the zero dispersion wavelength, noted as &lgr;0; a maximum of 0.092 ps/nm2-km for the value of the chromatic dispersion slope. The cable cut-off wavelength is conventionally measured as the wavelength at which the optical signal is no longer single mode after propagation over twenty-two meters of fiber, such as defined by the sub-committee 86A of the International Electrotechnical Commission in the IEC 60793-1-44 standard.

Moreover for a given fiber, a so-called MAC value defined as the ratio of the mode field diameter of the fiber at 1550 nm and the effective cut-off wavelength &lgr;Ceff is defined. The effective cut-off wavelength is conventionally measured as the wavelength at which the optical signal is no longer single mode after propagation over two meters of fiber, as defined by the sub-committee 86A of the International Electrotechnical Commission in the IEC 60793-1-44 standard. MAC is a parameter for appreciating the performances of the fiber, in particular for finding a compromise between the mode field diameter, the effective cut-off wavelength and the bending losses.

Fig. 1 illustrates the experimental results from the applicant and illustrates the bending losses at the wavelength of 1625 nm with a bending radius of 15 mm in a step-index SSMF versus the value of MAC at the wavelength of 1550 nm. It is seen that the value of MAC influences the bending losses of the fiber and that these bending losses may be reduced by reducing MAC.

Now, a reduction in MAC, by reducing the mode field diameter and/or by increasing the effective cut-off wavelength, may lead out away from the G.652 standard and make the fiber commercially incompatible with certain transmission systems.

Indeed, the value of the effective cut-off wavelength &lgr;Ceff cannot be increased beyond a limiting value in order to observe the maximum value of 1260 nm for the cable cut-off frequency &lgr;CC. Also, the value of the mode field diameter for a given wavelength is strictly imposed in order to minimize coupling losses between the fibers.

Reduction of the MAC criterion for limiting the bending losses should therefore be combined with a limitation of the value of the effective cut-off wavelength &lgr;Ceff in order to limit propagation of modes of higher orders in the fiber, while retaining a sufficient mode field diameter to provide coupling without too many optical losses.

In particular, compliance with the G.652 standard and reduction of the bending losses are a real wager for applications to fibers intended for fiber optical systems up to the individual, so-called fibers to the home (FTTH) or fiber optical systems up to the curb or up to the building, so-called fibers to the curb (FTTC).

Indeed, a transmission system through optical fibers comprises storage boxes in which fiber overlengths are provided in the case of future interventions; these overlengths are wound in the boxes. Because of the intention to miniaturize these boxes for FTTH or FTTC applications, the single mode fibers in this context are intended to be wound on increasingly small diameters (so as to reach bending radii as small as 15 mm). Moreover, within the scope of FTTH or FTTC applications, the fiber risks being subject to harsher installation constraints than in applications at longer distances, i.e., the presence of accidental bendings related to the low cost of the installation and to the environment. Provision must be made for the presence of accidental bending radii equal to 7.5 mm or even 5 mm. It is therefore absolutely necessary in order to meet the constraints related to the storage boxes and to the installation constraints that the single mode fibers used for FTTH or FTTC applications have limited bending losses. Nevertheless it is understood that this reduction in bending losses should not be achieved to the detriment of a loss of the single mode character of the signal which would strongly deteriorate the signal or to the detriment of introducing significant junction optical losses.

US 4,852,968 relates to a single mode optical fiber having an index profile consisting of a core region a first cladding region trench region, and a second cladding region and optionally a second trench region. This document is related to optimizing dispersion characteristics.

In order to obtain optical fibers that meet the requirement for a reduction of bending losses, three types of solutions have been proposed in the prior art.

A first solution found in the prior art consists of producing conventional step-index fibers with a reduced mode field diameter. The bending losses are indeed reduced, by decreasing MAC because of the reduction in mode field diameter, and a single mode character is retained with a cable cut-off wavelength which remains less than 1260 nm. Nevertheless, such fibers have significant coupling losses and are not adapted to the FTTH applications described above.

The publication of I. Sakabe et al., "Enhanced Bending Loss Insensitive Fiber and New Cables for CWDM Access Networks", Proceeding 53rd IWCS, pp 112-118 (2004 ), suggests reducing the mode field diameter of the fiber in order to reduce the bending losses. This reduction in mode field diameter however leads out away from the G.652 standard.

The publication of T. Yokokawa et al., "Ultra-low Loss and Bend insensitive Pure-silica-core Fiber Complying with G.652 C/D and its Applications to a Loose Tube Cable, Proceedings 53rd IWCS, pp 150-155 (2004 ), proposes a pure silica core fiber (PSCF), having reduced transmission and bending losses, but with a reduced mode field diameter which is located outside the G.652 standard.

A second solution found in the prior art consists of producing step-index fibers with a depressed section; i.e., a central core, an intermediate cladding and a depressed cladding. With such a structure, it is possible to actually reduce the bending losses with constant MAC for small bending radii, typically 10 mm.

The publications of S. Matsuo et al., "Low-bending-loss and low-splice-loss single-mode fibers employing a trench index profile", Journal of Lightwave Technology, Vol. 23 no. 11, p. 3494-3499, (2005) and of K. Himeno et al., "Low-bending-loss single mode fibers for fiber-to-the home", Journal of Lightwave Technology, Vol. 23, No. 11, p. 3494-3499, (2005) propose such fiber structures with depressed section in order to reduce the bending losses.

Now, analyses conducted by the applicant have shown that if the bending losses may be substantially improved with a fiber profile with depressed sections, such a profile also causes an increase in the effective cut-off wavelength by the occurrence of resistant leakage modes which mainly propagate in the intermediate cladding and the depressed section.

This observation then requires that fibers having a MAC less than 7.9 at 1550 nm be selected in order to compensate the fact that the effective cut-off wavelength is much higher than expected while guaranteeing bending losses at 1625 nm less than 0.1 dB/turn for a winding with a radius of 15 mm; whereas for a SSMF, it is sufficient to select fibers with a MAC less than 8.1 at 1550 nm in order to guarantee losses less than 0.1 dB/turn at 1625 nm for a bending radius of 15 mm (from the results of Fig. 1). The manufacturing yield for such step-index fibers with a depressed section is therefore reduced.

A third solution found in the prior art consists of producing hole-assisted step-index fibers.

The publication of K. Bandou et al., "Development of Premise Optical Wiring Components Using Hole-Assisted Fiber", Proceedings 53rd IWCS, pp 119-122 (2004 ), proposes a fiber with holes which fiber has the optical characteristics of a step-index SSMF with reduced bending losses.

Such hole-assisted step-index fibers for reducing the bending losses have also been described in the publications of T. Hasegawa et al., "Bend-insensitive single-mode holey fiber with SMF-compatibility for optical wiring applications", in Proceedings ECOC'03, paper We2.7.3, Rimini, Italy, (2003 ); of D. Nishioka et al., "Development of holey fiber supporting extra-small diameter bending", SEI Technical Review, No.58, pp 42-47, (2004 ); of K. Miyake et al., "Bend resistant photonic crystal fiber compatible with conventional single mode fiber", in Proceedings ECOC'04, paper Mo3.3.4, Stockholm, Sweden, (2004 ); of Y. Tsuchida et al., "Design and characterization of single-mode holey fibers with low bending losses", Optics Express, Vol. 13, No.12, pp 4470-4479, (2005) ; of K. Ohsono et al., "High performance optical fibers for next generation transmission systems", Hitachi Cable Review, No. 22, pp. 1-5, (2003 ); of K. Nakajima et al., "Hole-assisted fiber design for small bending and splice loss", IEEE Photonics Technology Letters, Vol. 15, No. 12, pp. 1737-1739, (2003) ; of K. leda et al., "Transmission characteristics of a hole-assisted fiber cord for flexible optical wiring", Proceedings 54th IWCS, pp 63-68 (2005 ); of N. Guan et al., "Hole-assisted single mode fibers for low bending loss", in Proceedings ECOC'04, paper Mo3.3.5, Stockholm, Sweden (2004 ), and of K. Himeno et al., "Low-bending-loss single-mode fibers for fiber-to-the-home", Journal of Lightwave Technology, Vol. 23, No. 11, pp. 3494-3499, (2005) .

The cost for manufacturing such a fiber and the presently high attenuation levels (>0.25dB/km) make it however difficult to be utilized commercially in FTTH or FTTC systems. Further, with these fibers, it is simply not possible to achieve the optical characteristics recommended by the G.652 standard, notably in terms of chromatic dispersion.

Therefore there is a need for a transmission fiber with which it is possible to meet the criteria of the G.652 standard, i.e., which is commercially utilizable in transmission systems of the FTTH or FTTC type, and which has reduced bending and microbending losses. In particular, there is a need for a fiber which has reduced losses for a bending radius of 15 mm and also for a bending radius as small as 7.5 mm. Indeed, in FTTH applications, overlengths of fibers are generally wound in increasingly miniaturized storage boxes; moreover the fiber will be subject to significant bending stresses related to the environment of its installation.

For this purpose, the invention proposes an optical fiber having a particular step-index profile with a first highly depressed section and a weakly depressed second section.

With such a structure, it is possible to effectively reduce the bending losses at constant MAC while strongly minimizing the leakage modes of a higher order. Thus, unlike the fibers from the prior art having a step-index structure with a depressed section, the fiber of the invention has a cable cut-off wavelength which remains less than 1260 mm. The fiber of the invention therefore complies with the G.652 standard.

More particularly, the invention proposes an optical transmission fiber comprising:

  • a central core having an index difference Dn1 with an outer optical cladding;
  • a first intermediate inner cladding having an index difference Dn2 with the outer optical cladding;
  • a first depressed inner cladding having an index difference Dn3 with the outer optical cladding which is less than or equal to -5.10-3;
  • a second intermediate inner cladding having an index difference Dn4 with the outer optical cladding;
  • a second depressed inner cladding having an index difference Dn5 with the outer optical cladding which is inferior, in absolute value, to the index difference Dn3 of the first depressed inner cladding with the outer optical cladding;
the optical fiber having for a wavelength of 1625 nm, bending losses less than or equal to 0.1 dB/10 turns for a bending radius of 15 mm and bending losses less than or equal to 0.5 dB/turn for a bending radius of 7.5 mm.

According to the embodiments, the fiber of the invention may comprise one or more of the following characteristics:

  • the index difference between the second depressed inner cladding and the outer optical cladding is between -0.3.10-3 and -3.10-3;
  • the index difference between the central core and the first intermediate inner cladding is between 4.5.10-3 and 6.0.10-3;
  • the central core has a radius between 3.5 µm and 4.5 µm for an index difference with the outer optical cladding between 5.0.10-3 and 5.6.10-3;
  • the first intermediate inner cladding has a radius between 9 µm and 12 µm:
  • the first depressed inner cladding has a radius between 14 µm and 16 µm;
  • the second intermediate inner cladding having a substantially zero index difference with the outer optical cladding;
  • the second intermediate inner cladding has a radius between 18 µm and 20 µm;
  • the second depressed inner cladding has a radius between 25 µm and 40 µm;
  • bending losses less than or equal to 0.1 dB/100 turns for a bending radius of 20 mm, at the wavelength of 1625 nm;
  • bending losses less than or equal to 1 dB/turn for a bending radius of 5 mm, at the wavelength of 1625 nm;
  • microbending losses, according to the so-called method of the fixed diameter drum ("touret ą diamčtre fixe" in french), less than or equal to 0.8 dB/km up to a wavelength of 1625 nm;
  • a cable cut-off wavelength less than or equal to 1260 nm;
  • a mode field diameter between 8.6 µm and 9.5 µm for a wavelength of 1310 nm;
  • a ratio (MAC) of the mode field diameter of the fiber at 1550 nm over the effective cut-off wavelength ICeff less than 8.2;
  • a zero chromatic dispersion wavelength (&lgr;0 between 1300 nm and 1324 nm with a chromatic dispersion slope inferior or equal to 0.092 ps/nm2/km at this wavelength.

The invention also relates to an optical module including a housing in which is rolled up at least one fiber portion according to the invention; as well as to a storage box in which is wound at least a fiber portion according to the invention.

According to some embodiments, the fiber is rolled up with a bending radius less than 15 mm, and/or with a bending radius less than 7.5 mm.

The invention further relates to a Fiber To The Home (FTTH) or Fiber To The Curb (FTTC) optical system comprising at least an optical module or a storage box according to the invention.

Other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the description which follows, of embodiments of the invention, given by way of example and with reference to the appended drawings, wherein:

  • Fig. 1, described earlier, shows a graph illustrating the bending losses at the wavelength of 1625 nm with a bending radius of 15 mm in a standard step-index fiber versus the MAC value at the wavelength of 1550 nm;
  • Fig. 2, shows a graphical illustration of the set profile of a step-index fiber according to one embodiment of the invention;
  • Fig. 3 shows graphs illustrating the bending losses at the wavelength of 1625 nm versus the bending radius for a step-index SSMF, for another fiber of the prior art and for a fiber according to the invention.

The fiber of the invention has a central core, a first intermediate inner cladding and a first depressed inner cladding. The fiber also has a second intermediate inner cladding and a second depressed inner cladding. By depressed inner cladding, it is meant that a radial portion of the fiber has a refractive index less than the index of the outer optical cladding. The first depressed inner cladding has a strong index difference with the outer optical cladding, being less than -5.10-3 and which may reach -15.10-3. The second depressed inner cladding has a smaller index difference with the outer cladding than the first depressed inner cladding; which preferably is be between -0.3.10-3 and -3.10-3.

Fig. 2 illustrates an index profile for a transmission fiber according to the invention. The illustrated profile is a set profile, i.e., representative of the theoretical profile of the fiber, the fiber actually obtained after fiber drawing of a preform may have a substantially different profile.

The step-index transmission fiber according to the invention comprises a central core having an index difference Dn1 with an outer optical cladding, acting as an optical cladding; a first intermediate inner cladding having an index difference Dn2 with the outer optical cladding; a first depressed inner cladding, having a index difference Dn3 with the outer optical cladding; a second intermediate inner cladding having an index difference Dn4 with the outer optical cladding and a second depressed inner cladding having a index difference Dn5 with the outer optical cladding. The index difference Dn5 is in absolute value inferior to index difference Dn3. The refractive indexes in the central core, in the first and second depressed inner claddings and in the first and second intermediate inner claddings, are substantially constant over the whole of their widths. The set profile is a step-index fiber. The width of the core is defined by its radius r1 and the width of the claddings is defined by their respective outer radii, r2-r5.

In order to define a set index profile for an optical fiber, the index value of the outer cladding is generally taken as a reference. Figure 2 only shows a small part of the outer optical cladding and is intended to be a schematical illustrate of the index differences in the core. The outer optical cladding of substantially constant index stretches out until the outside of the optical fiber, meaning, there are no further optical cladding having different refractive indices outside of the outer optical cladding. The index values for the central core, the depressed inner claddings and the intermediate claddings are then shown as index differences Dn1.2.3,4.5. Generally, the outer optical cladding consists of silica, but this cladding may be doped in order to increase or reduce its refractive index, for example in order to change the propagation characteristics of the signal.

The table below gives preferred limiting values for the radii and the index differences which allow a fiber profile to be achieved so that the fiber has reduced bending losses while meeting the criteria for optical propagation from the G.652 standard for transmission fibers. The values from the tables correspond to set fiber profiles. TABLE r1 (µm) r2 (µm) r3 (µm) r4 (µm) r5 (µm) Dn1 (10-3) Dn1-Dn2 (.10-3) Dn3 (.10-3) Dn5 (.10-3) min 35 9.0 14.0 18.0 25.0 5.0 4.5 -5 -0.3 Max 4.5 12.0 16.0 20.0 40.0 5.6 6.0 -15 -3

The presence of the second depressed inner cladding (r5, Dn5) which is less depressed than the first depressed inner cladding provides a limitation of the presence of leakage modes capable of propagating along the fiber and which induce an increase in the effective cut-off wavelength. By the presence of the first intermediate inner cladding (r2, Dn2), it is possible to ensure proper confinement of the single mode signal in the central core and to retain a mode field diameter compatible with the G.652 standard. By the presence of the first, deeply depressed inner cladding (r3, Dn3) the bending losses may be further reduced.

The transmission fiber according to the invention, having an index profile such as described earlier, has reduced bending losses at wavelengths of use. In particular, the fiber according to the invention has, for a wavelength of 1625 nm, bending losses less than or equal to 0.1 dB for a winding of 100 turns around a spool with a bending radius of 20 mm; bending losses less than or equal to 0.1 dB for a winding of 10 turns around a spool with a bending radius of 15 mm; bending losses less than or equal to 0.2 dB for a winding of 1 turn around a spool with a bending radius of 10 mm; bending losses than or equal to 0.5 dB for a winding of 1 turn around a spool with a bending radius of 7.5 mm; bending losses than or equal to 1 dB for a winding of one turn around a spool with a bending radius of 5 mm. The fiber according to the invention has even smaller bending losses at the wavelength of 1550 nm. In particular, the fiber according to the invention has, for a wavelength of 1550 nm, bending losses less than or equal to 0.02 dB for a winding of 10 turns around a spool with a bending radius of 15 mm; bending losses less than or equal to 0.05 dB for a winding of 1 turn around a spool or a bending radius of 10 mm; bending losses less than or equal to 0.2 dB for a winding of 1 turn around a spool with a bending radius of 7.5 mm.

Further, the fiber according to the invention also has reduced microbending losses as compared with a SSMF. The microbending losses may be estimated with a test, a so-called grid test (10 needles of 1.5 mm) at the wavelength of 1550 nm. In this test, a grid is used, formed with 10 polished needles with a diameter of 1.5 mm, spaced apart by 1 cm. The fiber passes through the grid over two passages, orthogonally to the axis of the needles. The fiber and the grid are pressed between two rigid plates covered with a layer of about 3 mm of high density polyethylene foam. The layers of the assembly (plates, grids, fiber) are positioned horizontally and the whole is covered with a weight of 250 g. With this test, the fiber according to the invention has microbending losses less than or equal to 0.025 dB at 1550 nm. The microbending losses may also be estimated by the so-called fix diameter drum method at the wavelength of 1625 nm. This method is described in the technical recommendation of the International Electrotechnical Commission from subcommittee 86A under reference IEC TR-62221. The diameter of the drum used is 60 cm; the drum is covered with extra fine sand paper. With this method, the fiber according to the invention has microbending losses less than or equal to 0.8 dB/km at 1625 nm.

Further, the fiber of the invention meets the criteria of the G.652 standard.

In particular, it has an effective cut-off wavelength ICeff less than 1330 nm so that the cable cut-off wavelength ICC is less than 1260 nm, in compliance with the G.652 standard. The fiber according to the invention also has an MFD for a wavelength of 1310 nm, between 8.6 µm and 9.5 µm.

The fiber according to the invention may also have a MAC ratio ranging up to 8.2; the yield for manufacturing the fiber according to the invention is therefore better as there is no longer any obligation of exclusively selecting fibers with a MAC less than 7.9.

The graph of Fig. 3 illustrates the bending losses at 1625 nm versus the bending radius for a SSMF, for a fiber identical with the invention but without the second depressed section and for two fibers according to the invention.

A first curve (3A) shows the bending losses of a step-index SSMF. This fiber has a MAC of 8.1. It is noted that for small bending radii less than 7.5 mm, the bending losses considerably increase and exceed the value of 1 dB for a winding of 1 turn. Such a conventional fiber, currently used for long distance transmissions, is therefore not very suited for an FFTH or FTTC application as it may neither be wound in a miniature box of an optical module, nor be subject to possible accidental bendings related to the installation without inducing strong optical losses.

A second curve (3B) shows the bending losses of a fiber similar to the invention but without any second depressed section. This fiber has a MAC of 8.2 and meets the criteria of the G.652 standard. It is noted that for small bending radii less than 7.5 mm, the bending losses are less than 1 dB/turn. On the other hand, the bending losses remain relatively significant for larger bending radii. Thus, the fiber has bending losses of the order of 0.5 dB for a winding of 10 turns around a spool with a radius equal to 20 mm and of the order of 0.4 dB for a winding of 100 turns around a spool with a radius equal to 20 mm. These bending loss values for bending radii of 15 mm and 20 mm do not allow this fiber to be used in storage boxes with such winding radii.

A third curve (3C) shows the bending losses of a fiber according to the invention. The fiber corresponding to this curve has a MAC of 8.2 and meets the criteria of the G.652 standard. It is noted that for small bending radii, less than 7.5 mm, the bending losses are of the order of 0.4 dB/turn, less than the preferred maximum value of 0.5 dB/turn; and for a bending radius of 10 mm, the fiber according to the invention has bending losses of the order of 0.2 dB/turn, i.e., the targeted upper limiting value. Also, for larger bending radii, bending losses remain limited; thus, for a bending radius of 15 mm, the fiber according to the invention has bending losses of the order of 0.04 dB/10 turns, less than the preferred maximum value of 0.1 dB/10 turns; and for a bending radius of 20 mm, the fiber according to the invention has bending losses of the order of 0.03 dB/100 turns, less than the preferred maximum value of 0.1 dB/100 turns.

A fourth curve (3D) shows the bending losses of another fiber according to the invention. The fiber corresponding to this curve has a MAC of 8.1 and meets the criteria of the G.652 standard. It is noted that for small bending radii less than 7.5 mm, the bending losses are of the order of 0.1 dB/turn, less than the preferred maximum value of 0.5 dB/turn; and for a bending radius of 10 mm, the fiber according to the invention has bending losses of the order of 0.07 dB/turn, less than the preferred maximum value of 0.2 dB/turn. Also, for larger bending radii, the bending losses remain limited; thus, for a bending radius of 15 mm, the fiber according to the invention has bending losses of the order of 0.04 dB/10 turns, less than the preferred maximum value of 0.1 dB/10 turns; and for a bending radius of 20 mm, the fiber according to the invention has bending losses of the order of 0.01 dB/100 turns, less than the preferred maximum value of 0.01 dB/100 turns.

The transmission fiber according to the invention may be made by fiber drawing of a preform having an index profile as described above.

In a known way per se, an optical fiber is made by drawing a preform on a fiber-drawing tower. A preform for example comprises a primary preform consisting of a very high quality glass tube making up a portion of the cladding and core of the fiber. This primary preform is then re-loaded or sleeved in order to increase its diameter and to form a preform which may be used on a fiber-drawing tower. The scaled fiber-drawing operation consists of placing the preform vertically in a tower and of drawing a fiber strand from the end of the preform. For this, a high temperature is locally applied at one end of the preform until the silica is softened, the fiber-drawing rate and the temperature are then permanently monitored during the fiber drawing as they determine the diameter of the fiber. The geometry of the preform should perfectly observe the ratios of the refractive indexes and of the core and cladding diameters of the fiber so that the drawn fiber has the required profile.

Component deposition in the tube is commonly referred to by the expression "doping", i.e., "impurities" are added to the silica in order to change its refractive index. Thus, germanium (Ge) or phosphorus (P) increases the refractive index of silica; they are often used for doping the central core of the fiber. Moreover, fluorine (F) or boron (B) lowers the refractive index of silica; fluorine is often used for forming depressed claddings.

Making a preform with a highly depressed cladding is delicate. Indeed, fluorine is poorly incorporated in heated silica beyond a certain temperature whereas a high temperature is required for making glass.

By compromising between a high temperature required for making glass, and a low temperature promoting proper incorporation of fluorine, it is not possible to obtain indexes much less than that of silica.

It is preferred that the preform of the fiber according to the invention is made according to a plasma chemical vapor deposition (PCVD) technique because the reactions may be conducted at lower temperatures than in conventional techniques, (CVD, VAD, OVD) by ionization of the reaction compounds. Such a manufacturing technique is described in documents US RE 30,635 and US 4,314,833 ; it allows fluorine to be significantly incorporated into silica in order to form highly depressed claddings. However, the preform of the fiber according to the invention may also be made with CVD, VAD, or OVD techniques.

A silica tube, either pure or slightly doped with fluorine, is provided and mounted in a glasswork latch. A gass mixture of glass forming precursors on which may or may not be doped is injected in the tube. A plasma generated by microwaves traverses along the tube. In the plasma the glass forming precursors are reacted into glass which is deposited on the internal surface in the tube.

The high reactivity of the dopants, generated by the microwave heating, enables a high concentration of dopants to be incorporated into the silica layers. In particular, in the case of fluorine, which is poorly incorporated in silica with local heating by a blowtorch, with PCVD, a silica layer may be doped with a high concentration of fluorine in order to make up the first highly depressed cladding (r3, Dn3). The second slightly depressed inner cladding (r5, Dn5) may also be obtained by PCVD type deposition as for the first highly depressed inner cladding, or may be made up with the actual silica tube, slightly doped with fluorine, or even it may be made during sleeving or reloading of the preform, for example by using a slightly fluorinated intermediate sleeving tube or by making a reloading portion with slightly fluorinated silica grains.

The transmission fiber according to the invention may be used in a transmitting or receiving module in an FTTH or FTTC system or in a high rate and long distance optical transmission cable, with reduced optical losses. The fiber of the invention is compatible with the marketed systems as it meets the G.652 standard. In particular, overlengths of the fiber according to the invention may be wound in storage boxes associated with optical modules of FTTH or FTTC systems, the fiber according to the invention may be wound with a bending radius less than 15 mm, or even less than 7.5 mm without inducing strong optical losses. The fiber according to the invention is also very suitable for supporting accidental bendings related to its installation at an individual's home, with bending radii ranging down to 5 mm.

Of course, the present invention is not limited to the described embodiments and to the uses described by way of example. In particular the fiber according to the invention may also be used in applications other than FTTH or FTTC.


Anspruch[en]
Optical transmission fiber comprising : - a central core having an index difference Dn1 with an outer optical cladding; - a first intermediate cladding having an index difference Dn2 with the outer optical cladding; - a first depressed cladding having an index difference Dn3 with the outer optical cladding which is inferior or equal to -5.10-3 ; - a second intermediate cladding having an index difference Dn4 with the outer optical cladding; - a second depressed cladding having an index difference Dn5 with the outer optical cladding which is inferior, in absolute value, to the index difference Dn3 of the first depressed cladding with the outer optical cladding ; - the optical fiber having, at a wavelength of 1625 nm, bending losses inferior or equal to 0.1 dB/10turns for a bending radius of 15 mm and bending losses inferior or equal to 0.5 dB/turn for a bending radius of 7.5 mm. The fiber according to claim 1, wherein the index difference Dn5 between the second depressed cladding and the outer optical cladding is comprised between -0.3.10-3 and -3.10-3. The fiber according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the index difference between the central core and the first intermediate cladding (Dn1 - Dn2) is comprised between 4.5.10-3 and 6.0.10-3. The fiber according to any one of claims 1 - 3, wherein the central core has a radius r1 comprised between 3.5 µm and 4.5 µm for an index difference with the outer optical cladding Dn1 comprised between 5.0.10-3 and 5.6.10-3. The fiber according to any one of claims 1 - 4, wherein the first intermediate cladding has a radius r2 comprised between 9 µm and 12 µm. The fiber according to any one of claims 1 - 5, wherein the first depressed cladding has a radius r3 comprised between 14 µm and 16 µm. The fiber according to any one of claims 1-6, wherein the second intermediate cladding has an approximately zero index difference Dn4 with the outer optical cladding. The fiber according to any one of claims 1 - 7, wherein the second intermediate cladding has a radius r4 comprised between 18 µm and 20 µm. The fiber according to any one of claims 1 - 8, wherein the second depressed cladding has a radius r5 comprised between 25 µm and 40 µm. The fiber according to any one of claims 1 - 9, having, at a wavelength of 1625 nm, bending losses inferior or equal to 0.1 dB/100turns for a bending radius of 20 mm. The fiber according to any one of claims 1 - 9, having, at a wavelength of 1625 nm, bending losses inferior or equal to 0.2 dB for a bending radius of 10 mm. The fiber according to any one of claims 1 - 11, having, at a wavelength of 1625 nm, bending losses inferior or equal to 1 dB/turn for a bending radius of 5 mm. The fiber according to any one of claims 1 - 12, having, up to the wavelength of 1625 nm, microbending losses according to the method of the fixed diameter drum inferior or equal to 0.8 db/km. The fiber according to any one of claims 1 - 13, having a cable cut-off wavelength being less than or equal to 1260 nm. The fiber according to any one of claims 1 - 14, having at a wavelength of 1310 nm, a mode field diameter (MFD) comprised between 8.6 µm and 9.5 µm. The fiber according to any one of claims 1 - 15, having a ratio (MAC) of mode field diameter at 1150 nm over effective cut-off wavelength &lgr;Ceff being less than 8.2. The fiber according to any one of claims 1-16, having a zero chromatic dispersion wavelength (&lgr;0) comprised between 1300 nm and 1324 nm with a chromatic dispersion slope inferior or equal to 0.092 ps/nm2/km at said wavelength. Optical module comprising a housing receiving at least a rolled up portion of the fiber of any one of claims 1-17. Storage box receiving at least a rolled up portion of the fiber of any one of claims 1-17. The optical module or storage box according to claim 18 or 19, wherein the fiber is rolled up with a bending radius being less than 15 mm. The optical module or storage box according to claim 18 or 19, wherein the fiber is rolled up with a bending radius being less than 7.5 mm. Fiber To The Home (FTTH) or Fiber To The Curb (FTTC) optical system comprising at least one optical module or one storage box according to any one of claims 18 to 21.






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