Optoelectronics and Telecom Conference Proceedings


Author: Salil Pradhan
Company: SUNY Binghamton
Date Published: 11/14/2001   Conference: Optoelectronics and Telecom

Abstract: Over the last few years, fiber optic technology is being increasingly used in the telecommunications industry due to the need to cope with requirements for higher bandwidth and faster data transmission rates. This rising trend in the demand for fiber optic products has resulted in the need for ‘high volume’ production to satisfy market driven demand. As Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) increasingly adopt an outsourcing-based manufacturing model with EMS (Electronics Manufacturing Service) providers as their assembly and test partners, they (EMS providers) need to acquire and demonstrate their manufacturing capabilities vis-à-vis the assembly of fiber optic products. This paper reports on a segment of research relating to fiber-optics assembly that is currently underway at a leading EMS provider.

Fusion splicing is an important process related concern during the assembly of fiber optic products. Many high-end products employ technology such as DWDMs (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexers) with their stringent loss budgets. The specifications of these devices can be met only by having an efficient fiber management scheme and low insertion losses between different fiber junctions. High-end products, like the DWDMs and EDFA (Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifiers), extensively use Single Mode Fiber (SMF) and Erbium Doped Fiber (EDF). Fusion splicing is a key process and the insertion losses need to be minimized to adhere to the loss budgets.

Initial experiments addressed the minimization of the insertion loss between SMFs. High insertion losses were obtained when an EDF was spliced to an SMF. Studies were conducted to understand the behavior of an EDF when spliced to an SMF, and the impact of the splicing parameters on resulting losses. The factors that contributed to the splice loss were studied through statistically designed screening experiments and their relative impact on the splice quality was evaluated. ‘Optimal’ settings for fiber splicing were selected. The results of these experiments are discussed in this paper.

Qualitative factors, such as those that relate to the environment, workspace, assembly tools and operators need to be considered in controlling the losses seen in fiber optic products. Quality tools, like Process Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (PFMEA), can also be applied. This paper also addresses the various areas that should be considered for an EMS provider involved in high-volume fiber optic assembly and test. Guidelines are provided for the systematic characterization of process and test related functions for fiber optic products.

Key words: Optoelectronics, Fiber Optics, Fusion Splicing, Fiber Management.

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