The applications of this invention are in fiber devices used in telecommunication, optical imaging, industrial monitoring, remote sensing and functional fabrics.
Traditional fiber-optic drawing involves a geometric scaling where the fiber materials and their relative position are both identical to those found in the fiber preform. To date, all thermally drawn fibers are limited to the preform composition and geometry. Therefore, there is a need for better fiber drawing methods with the ability to synthesize new compounds during the process.
This invention enables the synthesis of a high-melting temperature semiconductor in a low-temperature fiber drawing process. During this process, reagents in the solid state are arranged in proximate domains within a fiber preform. The preform is liquidized at elevated temperatures and drawn into fiber, reducing the lateral dimensions and bringing the domains into intimate contact to enable chemical reaction. The synthesized compound semiconductor becomes the basis for an electronic hetero-structure diode of arbitrary length in the fiber. The ability to synthesize materials within fibers while precisely controlling their geometry and electrical connectivity at sub-micron scales presents new opportunities for increasing the complexity and functionality of fiber structures.
This process substantially expands the set of materials that can be incorporated into fibers.
Improved fiber functionality and performance