Next Generation Optical Fiber Coatings

by Xiaosong Wu, Meng He, Huimin Cao, Eric Urruti, Brett Register with DSM Energy Curable Solutions and Ying Guo with DSM China Ltd.

With over 40 years of technology development, modern optical fiber draw process has advanced so much to meet ever
growing market demand, in both quantity and quality attributes. Optical fiber coatings have been playing an essential role, in not only protecting optical fiber, but also helping support such draw process improvement as well as enhancing fiber optical performance.

Modern optical fiber draw process is moving toward the following directions.

Ultra-Fast Draw Speed. To meet the market demand, particularly for 5G applications, major fiber manufacturers are increasing the draw speed to ultra-fast territory. In recent years, draw speeds close to or exceeding 3000 mpm have been reported.
Such ultra-fast draw speed application poses a huge challenge to optical fiber coatings. The need to develop next-generation coatings arises with such a challenge.

One particular challenge under such ultra-fast draw speed/ultra-short exposure time, when developing next-generation coatings, is the need to characterize cure speed by examining mechanical property development/build-up, in addition to quantifying double bond conversion with traditional IR method.

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