Fiber Optic Tapers

Tapers are optical components can be used for illumination, diagnostic or interventional products. They are just what they sound like but with optical fibers it becomes significantly more complicated.

An optical fiber transmits light through the principle of optical refraction. The core material (where the light travels) has a higher refractive index than the surrounding cladding layer. This allows the light to “bounce” down the core with certain parameters.

The biggest parameter is the angle at which this “bounce” can occur. That angle is defined by the relative difference in the refractive index of the core and the cladding. When you taper a specific fiber, you are not changing the refractive index difference but you are changing the physical angle of the core/clad interface and this can either increase the “bounce” angle to the point where the light passes through the cladding and is lost or you can decrease the “bounce” angle to the point where you can significantly reduce the divergence of the light from the fiber.

All of this is governed by the laws of physics and the IMS ability to make extremely precise and repeatable tapers for specific optical applications.

At IMS we can increase the diameter of the fiber (up taper) or decrease the diameter of the fiber (down taper), depending on the desired optical performance in your application. We can even make double tapers where the “neck” of the taper is in the middle of the fiber. Further geometric processing of the tips can be done to further refine and modify the optical characteristics of these products.

Within the bounds of what is physically possible, we can work with you to develop an optical tip that provides you with the desired optical output for your device or system.