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Method and apparatus for positioning an optical fiber

Imported: 24 Feb '17 | Published: 06 Jan '04

Brian J. Gimbel, James P. Luther, Thomas Theuerkorn, Hieu V. Tran, Darrell Childers, Dennis M. Knecht

USPTO - Utility Patents

Abstract

Eccentricity of a optical fiber installed in a passageway of a ferrule is minimized by imposing a force on the end of the optical fiber projecting from the passageway at the ferrule end face to push the optical fiber to a desired position in the passageway, prior to curing an adhesive used for fixing the optical fiber in the passageway, so as to compensate for eccentricity of the passageway. In one embodiment, the force is imposed on the optical fiber by hanging a weight on the optical fiber. In another embodiment, the force is imposed on the optical fiber by using a pressurized jet of fluid. The point of application of the force, the magnitude of the force, and the viscosity of the adhesive are selected such that minimal optical fiber bending occurs, thereby assuring that the optical fiber is positioned at the desired position in the passageway for an appreciable distance from the ferrule end face along the passageway.

Description

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other embodiments, objects, features, and advantages of the invention will become more apparent from the following description of certain preferred embodiments thereof, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic view of a ferrule illustrating bowing of an optical fiber in a bore, as can occur with prior art positioning methods;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an apparatus for mounting a plurality of fiber optic connectors to position and to secure an optical fiber in a ferrule of each connector in accordance with an embodiment of this invention;

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the apparatus of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an exploded view of a portion of the apparatus of FIG. 2, showing details of the weight positioning mechanism;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged partial perspective view showing a fiber optic connector mounted in the apparatus of FIG. 2, viewed generally from above and to the rear of the fiber optic connector;

FIG. 6 is a further enlarged partial perspective view of a fiber optic connector mounted in the apparatus of FIG. 2, viewed generally from above and from in front of the fiber optic connector;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged perspective view of the weight shown in FIG. 6, viewed generally from in front of the weight showing the end portion of the optical fiber extending from the fiber optic connector;

FIG. 8 is a schematic diagram of an apparatus for positioning an optical fiber in a passageway using an air jet in accordance with an embodiment of this invention;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an apparatus for positioning an optical fiber using an air jet in accordance with an embodiment of this invention; and

FIG. 10 is a partial enlarged perspective view of a portion of the apparatus of FIG. 9, showing an optical fiber optic connector mounted in the apparatus.

Claims

1. A method for making a fiber optic assembly, comprising the following steps of;

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the moment F·D is less than about 4.9×10

−5 N-m.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the moment F·D less than about 3.9×10

−6 N-m.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the step of imposing the force F on the end portion of the optical fiber projecting from the ferrule further comprises imposing the force F by hanging a weight on the optical fiber.

5. The method of claim 4, wherein the weight has a mass of about 0.1 to 5.0 grams.

6. The method of claim 4, wherein the weight has a mass of about 0.3 to 0.5 grams.

7. The method of claim 4, wherein the weight is hung on the optical fiber at a distance of at least about 0.5 mm to 1.0 mm from the ferrule end face.

8. A method for making a fiber optic assembly, comprising the following steps of:

9. The method of claim 8, wherein the fluid comprises air.

10. The method of claim 8, wherein the step of imposing the force F on the end portion of the optical fiber projecting from the ferrule further comprises imposing the force F in a direction generally orthogonal to the longitudinal axis of the passageway.

11. The method of claim 8, further comprising the following step:

12. A fiber optic assembly produced according to the method of claim 8 wherein the optical fiber is straight within at least about 0.05 m for a distance of at least about 50 m from the ferrule end face into the passageway.

13. A method for making a fiber optic assembly, comprising the following steps of:

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the beam from the laser is directed onto the ferrule end face to heat the ferrule such that the adhesive in a portion of the passageway adjacent the end face is cured sufficiently to tack the optical fiber in position at the desired position in the passageway.

15. The method of claim 14, further comprising placing the ferrule in an oven to fully cure the adhesive along the entire passageway.

16. The method of claim 13, wherein the adhesive has a viscosity of about 27,000 cps.

17. The method of claim 13, wherein the adhesive has a viscosity less than 27,000 cps.

18. A method for making a fiber optic assembly, comprising the following steps of:

19. The method of claim 18, further comprising the following steps of: