Centre for Sensors, Instruments and Systems Development

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

Shaping light to your needs

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Optical design and simulation
Lurederra Tecnological Centre
Tecnología Navarra de Nanoproductos S.L.
Economy and Competitiveness Ministry


Development of a new industrial process to obtain photochromic beam splitters for plastic optical fiber multiplexers (POF)

Principal investigator

Jaume Pujol Ramo [+info]


In our world of increasing connectivity, wavelength multiplexing has been one of the essential factors responsible for the rise in fiber optic communications, since it allows a great increase in the bandwidth of fiber networks, because it allows to overlap signals in a single fiber up to a capacity of 25Tb / s. This multiplexing requires two types of essential components, multiplexers and demultiplexers, which are responsible for combining the signals at the point of origin and redistributing them at the point of arrival.

In recent years, plastic optical fibers (POFs) have become a good alternative for glass fibers, especially for local area networks, where they allow a much higher data transmission rate than the current ones. Their competitive advantages are clear, since they are robust, cheap and fast and easy to install. For local networks, they allow the use of LEDs as a light source, with the consequent reduction of prices.

One of the main challenges facing the widespread implementation of POF fibers is the absence and/or lack of optimization of key components for the structuring of networks. Specifically, there are currently no optical multiplexers and demultiplexers suitable for this type of fiber.

In recent years the technology necessary for the industrial encapsulation process has been generated, but its use in the manufacture of multiplexers has not yet been implemented, since the beam splitter plates should be made from a material strong enough to avoid damage during the encapsulation process.

The aim of this project is to produce these beam splitters using as base material a material resistant to industrial encapsulation, such as a polymer (PMMA, etc.). To give it the proper properties of a beam splitter, particles of different types will be deposited, for example metallic and / or photochromic particles. These photochromic particles are activated by the use of a light source, modifying their absorption spectrum. This will allow a completely optical selection of the transmission channel.

The innovative part of this project relies on developing the process of deposition of these particles in the matrix material to create the beam splitter plates. In contrast to vacuum chamber deposition in which gaseous elements are used, which can cause contamination of the work space where the industrial encapsulation process is carried out (in this case a white room) we propose to perform this deposition by means of a spraying process, resulting in a solid material which will be compatible with a subsequent encapsulation process.



External links

Economy and Competitiveness Ministry

Lurederra Tecnological Centre


Tecnología Navarra de Nanoproductos S.L.

CD6 Centre for Sensors, Instruments and Systems Development
Rambla de Sant Nebridi, 10  ·  08222  ·  Terrassa (Barcelona)