Optomechanical design of a buckling cavity in a novel high-performance outside plant robust field installable fiber connector

E. Ebraert, J. Van Erps, S. Beri, J. Watté, H. Thienpont
Fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) networks provide an ideal means to reach the goal the European Union has set to provide 50 % of the households with a broadband connection faster than 100 Mb/s. Deployment of FTTH networks, which is still costly today, could be significantly boosted by novel ferrule-less connectors which don't require highly skilled personnel and allow installation in the field. We propose a ferrule-less connector in which two single-mode fibres (SMFs) are aligned and maintain physical contact by ensuring that at least one fibre is in a buckled state. To this end, we design a cavity in which a fibre can buckle in a controlled way. Using finite element analysis simulations to investigate the shape of the formed buckle for various buckling cavity lengths, we show that it can be accurately approximated by a cosine function. In addition, the optical performance of a buckled SMF is investigated by bending loss calculations and simulations. We show a good agreement between the analytical and the simulated bending loss results for a G.652 fibre at a wavelength of 1550 nm. Buckling cavity lengths smaller than 20 mm should be avoided to keep the optical bending loss due to buckling below 0.1 dB. In this case the cavity height should at least be 2 mm to avoid mechanical confinement of the fibre.
Proc. SPIE, Micro-Optics 2014