SMTA International Conference Proceedings


Authors: Bill Newell and Jinsoo Kim
Company: Iphotonics, Solectron OTBU
Date Published: 9/22/2002   Conference: SMTA International

Abstract: Fusion splicing of optical fiber is an essential process in optical component manufacturing and optoelectronic product assembly. Optical fibers are fused (joined) to provide interconnections with low transmission loss, low back reflection and long-term stability. The process begins with fiber preparation, including fiber stripping, cleaning and cleaving, followed by fusion splicing. Each preparation process is done with a dedicated tool, and splicing is accomplished with a fusion splicer. A fusion splicer precisely aligns cores of two optical fibers to be spliced, produces an electrical arc that melts the ends of the fibers and finally, pushes the melted ends together forming a highly reliable, high performance junction.

This paper identifies several key measures of splice quality and describes an evaluation process that was developed and used to compare ten currently available single fiber fusion splicers and to select the best fit for the optical EMS (OEMS) environment. Five major splicer manufacturers participated in the evaluation. Their splicers will be referred to as A1 and A2 through E1 and E2, depending on the category of use (see below). Although their splicing processes are similar, each manufacturer developed unique preparation tools and splicer solutions.

Factors evaluated include: process cycle time, insertion loss, loss estimation accuracy, splice strength, and process repeatability. Cycle time varied with process parameters and with splicers. Loss estimation accuracy also varied with splicer. Splice strength showed large deviations for all splicers, indicating that the strength measurement process may not yet be stable.

Single fiber fusion splicers were classified into two subgroups: Category 1 for ‘quick splice and break’ operations to test components or modules, and Category 2 for manufacturing splicing operations which require low loss, high splice strength and process stability. Comparative engineering tests were conducted resulting in selection of splicer C1 for Category 1 and splicer C2 (the same manufacturer) for Category 2 applications.

Key words: fusion splicing, fusion splicer, fiber optics, optoelectronic assembly.

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