The University of Southampton

Optical Microfibre Devices and Sensors


Our group works on the fabrication of devices and sensors based on optical fibre nano-/micro-wires, fibre tapers and couplers, and their exploitation in sensors, devices and frequency converters for UV and IR generation. 

Our research interests include also the design and fabrication of fibre sensors based on rare-earths doped fibres for X-ray detection, the fabrication of fiberised components for high power fibre lasers and their combination and multimode couplers for mode division multiplexing.

Central research themes include: 

  • Frequency conversion
  • UV generation
  • IR generation
  • Sub-wavelength focusing 
  • Sensing 
  • High-Q microcoil resonators 
  • Mode filtering 
  • Fabrication of silica optical fibre nanowires 
  • Manufacture of compound glass optical fibre nanowires 
  • Singlemode excitation of multimode fibres 
  • Optical handling of microparticles 
  • Supercontinuum generation 
  • Nanowire handling and preservation 
  • Characterisation of glass nanowire properties  

In particular, micro- and nano-fibers are of interest for a range of emerging fibre optic applications since they offer a number of enabling optical and mechanical properties: 

1) Large evanescent fields. A considerable fraction of the transmitted power can propagate outside the OMNF physical boundary. 

2) High nonlinearity. Light can be confined to a very small area over long device lengths allowing the straightforward observation of nonlinear interactions at relatively modest power levels. 

3) Strong confinement and flexibility. Because of the small size, OMNFs can easily be bent and manipulated. Bend radii of the order of a few microns can be readily achieved with relatively low induced bend optical loss allowing for highly compact devices with a complex geometry. 

4) Low-loss interconnection to other optical fibres and fiberised components. OMNF preserve the original optical fibre dimensions at their input and output allowing easy interconnection to optical fibre components.  

Research facilities:

Our group has two laboratories which provide 1) tapers from both silica and compound glasses, from few mm to several meters long; 2) embedded microcoil resonators 3) multifibre devices and 4) long period gratings.

Unique equipment include a customised recoater capable to coat long tapers with a selection of fluoro/chlorinated or acrylic coatings and a high energy fs laser with doubling and trebling capabilities.

Available instrumentation include a laminar flow cabinet and conventional equipment used for the characterization of optical devices (SC sources, light sources, OSAs) and multifibre devices (microscopes, IR camera, diameter gauge).

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