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Optical fiber having tapered end and optical connector with reciprocal opening

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

Thomas P. Glenn, Steven Webster

USPTO - Utility Patents

Abstract

A method and apparatus for connecting optical fibers to waveguides and other optical elements are disclosed. In one embodiment, an optical fiber is modified so as to have opposing orthogonal tapered sidewalls that taper toward a tip of the fiber. An optical connector for the fiber includes a base having a receiving section and a waveguide formed therein. The receiving section is a flared channel having opposing orthogonal tapered sidewalls and a horizontal bottom surface perpendicular to the sidewalls. The waveguide is optically accessible at a narrow inner end of the channel. The angle of taper of the sidewalls of the channel matches the angle of taper of the sidewalls of the optical fiber. When the optical fiber is inserted into the open end of the channel and is moved toward the narrow inner end of the channel, the sidewalls of the fiber and channel come into contact with each other. In addition, a bottom surface of the fiber rests on the horizontal bottom surface of the channel. The tip of the fiber is positioned adjacent to the waveguide in precise alignment along the x, y, and z axes. The optical fiber is thereby positioned for optical communication through the waveguide with another optical fiber, a light source, or a light receiving element positioned at an opposite end of the waveguide.

Description

These and other aspects of the present invention may be further understood by consideration of the attached drawings and the detailed description provided below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of an optical connector.

FIG. 2 is a side view of a peripheral side of the optical connector of FIG.

1.

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of an optical fiber having a tapered end.

FIG. 3A is a perspective view of the optical fiber of FIGS. 3 and 4.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional side view of the optical fiber of FIG. 3 taken through the core of the fiber.

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of an optical assembly wherein the optical fiber of FIG. 3 is inserted into the optical connector of FIG.

1.

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional side view of the left half of the optical assembly of FIG. 5 taken through the core of the fiber and the waveguide of the optical connector.

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional side view of the optical assembly of FIG. 6 with a cover over the optical fiber and the optical connector.

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of an alternative optical connector for optically connecting three pairs of the optical fibers of FIG.

3.

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional side view of an alternative optical assembly wherein a light receiving or transmitting element is in optical communication with the optical fiber through the waveguide of the optical connector.

FIG. 10 is a top plan view of an alternative optical fiber and optical connector.

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional side view of an optical assembly formed of the optical fiber and optical connector of FIG.

10.

FIG. 12 is a top plan view of a molded polymeric base for an optical connector.

Claims

1. An optical assembly comprising:

2. The optical assembly of claim 1, wherein the first end section of the fiber further comprises a planar second surface opposite the first surface, said second surface also being perpendicular to the sidewalls.

3. The optical assembly of claim 1, further comprising an adhesive in said first channel connecting the first end section of the fiber to the first channel.

4. The optical assembly of claim 3, wherein the adhesive is optically clear and also is between the tip and the waveguide.

5. The optical assembly of claim 1, further comprising a cover over said first channel, said fiber, and said waveguide.

6. The optical assembly of claim 1, wherein the base is formed of a first polymeric material, and said waveguide is formed of a second polymeric material having a different index of refraction than said first polymeric material.

7. The optical assembly of claim 1, wherein said base is formed of a semiconductor material, and said waveguide is a doped region of said base.

8. The optical assembly of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of said first channels, one or more of said waveguides, and a plurality of optical fibers, wherein each of said channels optically accesses at least one of the waveguides, and each of the optical fibers is in one of said first channels positioned for optical communication with the respective waveguide.

9. The optical assembly of claim 8, wherein at least one of the optical fibers is positioned for optical communication with another of said optical fibers through one of the waveguides.

10. The optical assembly of claim 1, wherein the waveguide is between the optical fiber and a semiconductor chip adapted to provide light to or receive light from the optical fiber through the waveguide.

11. An optical fiber comprising:

12. The optical fiber of claim 11, wherein the first end section of the fiber further comprises a planar second surface opposite the first surface, said second surface also being perpendicular to the sidewalls.

13. A method of making an optical assembly comprising:

14. The method of claim 13, further comprising connecting abutting surfaces of the first end section of the fiber and first channel with an adhesive.

15. The method claim 14, wherein the adhesive is optically clear and is also is provided between the tip and the waveguide.

16. The method of claim 13, further comprising providing a cover over said first channel, said fiber, and said waveguide.

17. An optical fiber comprising:

18. The optical fiber of claim 17, wherein said first end section further comprises a planar second surface opposite said planar first surface, said planar second surface also extending inward from said tip and from the first one of the sidewalls to the opposite sidewall.

19. The optical fiber of claim 17, wherein said optical fiber is coupled to a base having a first channel, said first channel having tapered opposing sidewalls and a planar first surface perpendicular to the sidewalls;

20. The optical fiber of claim 19, further comprising a cover coupled to the base, wherein the first channel of the base and the cover enclose the first end section of the optical fiber.

21. The optical fiber of claim 19, wherein said base includes a waveguide accessible through the first channel, and said tip is disposed for optical coupling to said wave guide.

22. The optical fiber of claim 19, wherein said first end section further comprises a planar second surface opposite said planar first surface, said planar second surface also extending inward from said tip and from the first one of the sidewalls to the opposite sidewall.