Fluoride Glass Optical Fiber


  • Single Mode and Multimode Fluoride Fiber Manufactured In-House
  • Transmissive from the UV to 5.5 µm
  • Stable in Typical Lab Environments and Easy to Handle
  • Core Refractive Index Similar to Silica Glass

Multimode Fluoride Bare Fiber

 

Fluoride Fiber Cross Section

(Not to Scale)

Custom Ruggedized Fluoride Patch Cable

Related Items


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Indium Fluoride and Zirconium Fluoride Fiber Comparison
Click for Details

Click for Raw Data
Typical attenuation for fluoride and silica fiber is plotted above. For information on run-to-run variations, please see the Graphs tab.

Applications

  • Spectroscopy
  • Fiber Lasers
  • Supercontinuum Light Sources
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Surgical Lasers
  • Chemical Sensing
  • IR Imaging

Features

  • Fluoride Glass Fibers Manufactured at Thorlabs' Fiber Draw Facility
    • ZBLAN (ZrF4) for 285 nm - 4.5 µm
    • Indium Fluoride (InF3) for 310 nm - 5.5 µm
  • World-Class Attenuation, Mechanical Strength, and Geometry Control
  • Fiber Bundles and Reflection/Backscatter Probes Available
  • Flexible Manufacturing Processes for Catalog and Custom Products (See Manufacturing Tab for Details)

Thorlabs manufactures an extensive family of mid-IR fluoride fiber using proprietary techniques that provide world-class purity, precision, and strength. These techniques give us excellent control over the fibers' optical and mechanical properties, allowing a wide range of configurations to be drawn. For details, please see the Manufacturing tab.

Based upon ZBLAN (fluorozirconate) or InF3 (fluoroindate) glasses, our fluoride fibers feature high transmission over the 285 nm - 4.5 µm or 310 nm - 5.5 µm spectral range, respectively. Fluoride fibers offer flat attenuation curves in the mid-IR wavelength range (see the Graphs tab), aided by an extremely low hydroxyl ion (OH) content. The refractive index of fluoride glass is near that of silica; therefore, optical fibers manufactured using fluoride glass exhibit lower return loss and Fresnel reflections compared to chalcogenide glass fibers.

Products available from stock with same-day shipping include single mode and multimode patch cables, as well as bifurcated fiber bundles for transmission applications and reflection/backscatter probes designed for spectroscopy. Bare fluoride fiber is available upon request by contacting Tech Sales.

Fluoride Patch Cables from Stock

Single Mode Fluoride Patch Cables Multimode Fluoride Patch Cables
Multimode Fluoride Bundles MIR Reflection/Backscatter Bundles

Custom Fluoride Fiber and Patch Cables

If our standard offerings do not meet your needs, please contact us to discuss customization and potential fiber draws. Some of the many customization options we provide for fluoride fibers and patch cables include:

Bare Fiber
  • Hand-Selected Extra-Low-Loss Fluoride Fibers to Meet Strict Attenuation Requirements
  • Custom Core and Cladding Geometries
  • Dual-Polymer Claddings Available
  • Increased Power Handling Capabilities
Patch Cables
  • Custom Options: Fiber Type, Length, Termination, and Tubing
  • OEM Patch Cables: Designed for Application Requirements
  • AR-Coated Patch Cables
  • Ruggedized Cabling for Harsh Environments
Fluoride Optical Fiber Manufacturing Overview

Testing and Characterization Capabilities

  • Spectral Attenuation Measurement
    • UV / Visible / NIR / MIR Wavelength Range
    • SM or MM Fiber and Bulk Glass
  • SM Fiber Cutoff Wavelength Measurement
  • Fiber NA Measurement
  • Fiber Glass / Coating Geometry Measurement with Sub-µm Accuracy
  • MIR High-Power Screening for MM Fibers
  • Fiber Tensile Strength Testing
  • Defect / Break Analysis
  • Degree of Cure Testing for Fiber Coatings

Request testing for Thorlabs or third-party fibers by contacting Tech Sales.

Capabilities

  • ZBLAN Zirconium Fluoride (ZrF4) and Indium Fluoride (InF3) Fiber Production
  • Design and Manufacturing Provide Low-Loss Mid-IR Transmission up to 5.5 µm
  • Flexible Manufacturing Setups and Schedules Accommodate Prototyping as well as Catalog Production

Thorlabs' optical fiber draw facility produces ZBLAN zirconium fluoride (ZrF4) and indium fluoride (InF3) fibers in addition to silica fiber. ZrF4 and InF3 fibers feature high transmission over the 300 nm - 4.5 µm and 300 nm - 5.5 µm spectral ranges, respectively. Key fiber properties include no material absorption peaks, excellent mechanical strength, and good environmental stability.

Fluoride fibers are ideal for transmission in the mid-IR wavelength range, and Thorlabs' fibers feature low attenuation over this range as a result of stringent manufacturing processes yielding an extremely low hydroxyl ion (OH) content. Fluoride fibers also have a lower refractive index and lower chromatic dispersion when compared to other fibers that offer transmission in the mid-IR range, such as chalcogenide glass fibers. Thorlabs' fluoride fibers are ideal for use in applications including MIR spectroscopy, fiber optic sensors, imaging, and fiber lasers.

Fluoride Preform Manufacturing and Fiber Draw Process
Thorlabs' fluoride fibers are fabricated using a technique that provides world-class purity, dimensional control, and strength. The glass components are combined and melted in the controlled environment of a glove box for purity. Once the glass is melted, it is poured into the preform mold and cooled.

After preparation, the preform is loaded into the down-feed unit at the top of the tower and drawn into fiber. Fluoride glass fiber is drawn using preform techniques similar to those used for silica fibers. These techniques are well developed and have proven to be very effective in controlling fiber parameters, such as fiber diameter, concentricity, and the refractive index profile. The drawing temperature range of fluoride glasses is lower than that of silica, significantly reducing the cooling time. Thus, our fluoride fiber draw tower is much shorter than our silica fiber towers. The diagram below to the right details the components on our fluoride fiber draw tower.

Thorlabs' team of MIR fiber researchers and engineers has many years of experience in fluoride glass research and development, production, and fiber draw. Our team is divided into two groups: one dedicated to production of catalog items and the second devoted to research and development and custom fiber manufacturing. Their knowledge and expertise, as well as flexible tower configurations and draw schedules, allow us to produce both catalog items as well as custom orders. For details on our custom fluoride fiber capabilities, please contact Tech Support.

Fluoride Fiber Characterization and Testing
Thorlabs has a team dedicated to the testing and characterization of our fiber products. We precisely measure the properties of each drawn fiber to ensure that it meets our high standards of quality. Extensive testing also provides feedback for our fiber draw team, enabling tight control of each step in the manufacturing process. Customers can request custom testing of any Thorlabs-manufactured fiber, which is then provided with the shipped fiber. Testing of third-party fiber samples provided by customers is also available upon request. Available tests and services are provided in the list to the right; please contact Tech Sales with inquiries.

MIR Fiber Draw Tower
Schematic of Our MIR Fiber Draw Tower

Thorlabs' Fluoride Fiber Capabilities

Single Mode Fluoride Fiber

Fiber Identification #a Fiber Type Transmission Range SM Operating Wavelength Cutoff Wavelength Typical Attenuationb Maximum Attenuation NAc MFDd
IRZS23 Fluorozirconate
(ZBLAN)
285 nm - 4.5 µm 2.3 - 4.1 µm ≤2.3 µm 0.03 dB/m
@ 2.5 µm
<0.2 dB/m
(from 2.3 to 3.6 µm)
0.19 ± 0.02
@ 2 µm
10.5 ± 0.5 µm
@ 2.5 µm
IRFS32 Fluoroindate
(InF3)
310 nm - 5.5 µm 3.2 - 5.5 µm ≤3.2 µm 0.15 dB/m
@ 3.6 µm
<0.45 dB/m
(from 3.2 to 4.6 µm)
0.26 ± 0.02
@ 2 µm
11.0 ± 0.5 µm
@ 3.6 µm
Fiber Identification #a Core Diameter Cladding Diameter Coating Diameter Core/Clad
Concentricity
Core Circularity Long-Term
Bend Radiuse,f
Short-Term
Bend Radiuse
Operating
Temperature
IRZS23 9 ± 0.5 µm 125 +1/-2 µm 260 ± 15 µm ≤2 µm ≥94% ≥30 mm ≥10 mm -55 to 90 °C
IRFS32 9 ± 0.5 µm 125 +1/-2 µm 245 ± 15 µm ≤2 µm ≥94% ≥30 mm ≥10 mm -55 to 90 °C
  • These fibers are not offered as catalog items, but we have provided these identification #s here for convenience when discussing your order with Tech Sales.
  • Hand-Selected Extra-Low-Loss Fiber Available Upon Request
  • Defined by the Index Difference Between the Core and Cladding.
  • Mode Field Diameter is a nominal value, calculated using the fiber’s typical NA & core diameter.
  • Proof Testing Available Upon Request
  • Calculated Values for <0.2% Failure Rate, for a 10 m Length of Fiber over >20 years

Multimode Fluoride Fiber

Fiber Identification #a Fiber Type Transmission Range Typical Attenuationb Maximum Attenuation NA
IRZM05020 Fluorozirconate
(ZBLAN)
285 nm - 4.5 µm 0.15 dB/m @ 2.5 µm ≤0.2 dB/m
(from 2.0 to 3.6 µm)
0.20 ± 0.02
@ 2 µm
IRZM10020
IRZM20020
IRZM45020
IRZM60020 285 nm - 4.5 µm 0.2 dB/m @ 2.5 µm ≤0.25 dB/m
(from 2.0 to 3.6 µm)
IRFM10026 Fluoroindate
(InF3)
310 nm - 5.5 µm 0.1 dB/m @ 2.5 µm and 3.6 µm ≤0.25 dB/m
(from 2.0 to 4.6 µm)
0.26 ± 0.02
@ 2 µm
IRFM20026
Fiber Identification #a Core Diameter Cladding Diameter Coating Diameter Core/Clad
Concentricity
Core Circularity Long-Term
Bend Radiusc,d
Short-Term
Bend Radiusc
Operating
Temperature
IRZM05020 50 ± 2 µm 140 ± 2.5 µm 270 ± 15 µm ≤2 µm ≥95% ≥35 mm ≥20 mm -55 to 90 °C
IRZM10020 100 ± 2 µm 192 ± 2.5 µm 270 ± 15 µm ≤2 µm ≥98% ≥50 mm ≥25 mm
IRZM20020 200 ± 10 µm 290 ± 10 µm 355 ± 15 µm ≤3 µm ≥95% ≥80 mm ≥40 mm
IRZM45020 450 ± 15 µm 540 ± 15 µm 650 ± 25 µm ≤5 µm ≥95% ≥125 mm ≥30 mm
IRZM60020 600 ± 20 µm 690 ± 20 µm 770 ± 30 µm ≤10 µm ≥95% ≥160 mm ≥75 mm
IRFM10026 100 ± 2 µm 192 ± 2.5 µm 287 ± 15 µm ≤2 µm ≥98% ≥50 mm ≥15 mm
IRFM20026 200 ± 10.0 µm 290 ± 10 µm 430 ± 25 µm ≤3 µm ≥95% ≥80 mm ≥40 mm
  • These fibers are not offered as catalog items, but we have provided these identification #s here for convenience when discussing your order with Tech Sales.
  • Hand-Selected Extra-Low-Loss Fiber Available Upon Request
  • Proof Testing Available Upon Request
  • Calculated Values for <0.2% Failure Rate, for a 10 m Length of Fiber over >20 years

Multimode Dual-Clad Fluoride Fiber for High Power

Fiber Identification #a Fiber Type Transmission Range Typical Attenuationb Maximum Attenuation NA
IRFH10026 Fluoroindate
(InF3)
310 nm - 5.5 µm 0.08 dB/m @ 2.5 µm and 3.6 µm ≤0.25 dB/m
(from 2.0 to 4.6 µm)
0.26 ± 0.02
@ 2 µm
IRFH20026
Fiber Identification #a Core
Diameter
Cladding
Diameter
Second (Polymer)
Cladding Diameter
Coating
Diameter
Core/Clad
Concentricity
Core Circularity Long-Term
Bend Radiusc,d
Short-Term
Bend Radiusc
Operating
Temperature
IRFH10026 100 ± 2 µm 192 ± 2.5 µm 229 ± 15 µm 287 ± 15 µm ≤2 µm ≥98% ≥50 mm ≥15 mm -55 to 90 °C
IRFH20026 200 ± 10.0 µm 290 ± 10.0 µm 330 ± 25 µm 430 ± 25 µm ≤3 µm ≥95% ≥80 mm ≥40 mm
  • These fibers are not offered as catalog items, but we have provided these identification #s here for convenience when discussing your order with Tech Sales.
  • Hand-Selected Extra-Low-Loss Fiber Available Upon Request
  • Proof Testing Available Upon Request
  • Calculated Values for <0.2% Failure Rate, for a 10 m Length of Fiber over >20 years

Multimode Fluoride Patch Cables Attenuation


Zirconium Fluoride Attenuation
Click to Enlarge

Click for Raw Data
This plot contains the measured attenuation from five independent draws of the Ø200 µm core ZrF4 fiber. This data is representative of our Ø50 µm, Ø100 µm, Ø200 µm, and Ø450 µm core fibers.
Zirconium Fluoride Attenuation
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Click for Raw Data
This plot contains the measured attenuation from five independent draws of the Ø600 µm core ZrF4 fiber.
Indium Fluoride Attenuation
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Click for Raw Data
This plot contains the measured attenuation from four independent draws of the Ø100 µm core InF3 fiber.
Indium Fluoride Attenuation
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Click for Raw Data
This plot contains the measured attenuation from five independent draws of the Ø200 µm core InF3 fiber.

Single Mode Fluoride Patch Cables Attenuation

Zirconium Fluoride Attenuation
Click to Enlarge

Click for Raw Data
This plot contains the measured attenuation for our single mode ZrF4 fiber. The green shaded region in the plot denotes the specified range for single mode operation with attenuation ≤0.2 dB/m, and the blue shaded region denotes the range for single mode operation without a guaranteed attenuation specification. The orange shaded region denotes the range where the fiber is still transmissive, but provides multimode operation. The cutoff wavelength, denoted by a dashed vertical line, is the onset of this multimode operation and will vary from run to run. The peak near 1.9 µm corresponds to attenuation of the second-order mode.
Indium Fluoride Attenuation
Click to Enlarge

Click for Raw Data
This plot contains the measured attenuation for our single mode InF3 fiber. The green shaded region in the plot denotes the specified range for single mode operation with attenuation ≤0.45 dB/m, and the blue shaded region denotes the range for single mode operation without a guaranteed attenuation specification. The orange shaded region denotes the range where the fiber is still transmissive, but provides multimode operation. The cutoff wavelength, denoted by a dashed vertical line, is the onset of this multimode operation and will vary from run to run. The peak near 2.9 µm corresponds to attenuation of the second-order mode.
Zirconium Fluoride SM Bend-Induced Attenuation
Click to Enlarge

Click for Raw Data
This plot contains the measured attenuation for a single loop of our single mode ZrF4 fiber at five different bend radii. The green shaded region in the plot denotes the specified range for single mode operation with attenuation ≤0.2 dB/m, and the blue shaded region denotes the range for single mode operation without a guaranteed attenuation specification.
Indium Fluoride SM Bend-Induced Attenuation
Click to Enlarge

Click for Raw Data
This plot contains the measured attenuation for a single loop of our single mode InF3 fiber at four different bend radii. The green shaded region in the plot denotes the specified range for single mode operation with attenuation ≤0.45 dB/m, and the blue shaded region denotes the range for single mode operation without a guaranteed attenuation specification.

Click to Enlarge
Microbend Loss in Dual-Clad Fiber: Light that leaks out of the core propagates within the first cladding. The light exits the fiber over a greater area with lower intensity, avoiding damage to the fiber.

Click to Enlarge
Microbend Loss in Standard Fiber: Light that leaks out at a single spot has high intensity and can damage the fiber.

Multimode Dual-Clad Fiber for High Power

  • Second Cladding Creates Additional Waveguide Layer
  • Reduces Risk of Damage Due to Light Leakage
  • Ideal for High Power
  • Contact Tech Sales to Order

Our unique dual-clad fiber is designed for delivery of high power beams. Light propagates in the core of the fiber due to total internal reflection upon hitting the interface with the cladding. In a perfect fiber, the light is reflected completely at each point and propagates through the fiber core. However, certain imperfections can cause light to exit the core and leak into the cladding; such imperfections include bends in the fiber cable, microbends in the layers of the fiber, and defects.

In a single-clad fiber, the light may leak out of the fiber at a single spot. This high-intensity spot can easily burn or otherwise damage the fiber. In contrast, double-clad fiber uses a second cladding as a light guide to distribute some of the light leakage along a length of the fiber. This significantly reduces the risk of damage, as the intensity of the leakage is greatly reduced. The images above illustrate the effect of the second cladding in preventing damage.

See the Specs tab for specifications for our dual-clad fiber, or contact Tech Support to discuss custom dual-clad fiber options.


Posted Comments:
Daniel Humberto Martínez  (posted 2021-11-16 02:14:55.273)
Hi, My research group bought a ZBLAN Zirconium Fluoride (ZrF4) fiber (P3-23Z-FC-5), which we use for Supercontinuum Generation. In order to carry out simulations, could you provide us with the non-linear coefficients of the fiber or give us some information or reference in this regard?. I am awaiting your response Thank you
YLohia  (posted 2021-11-23 02:04:54.0)
Hello, thank you for contacting Thorlabs. We don’t spec the non-linear coefficient but the value found in the literature for n2 is 2.1 x 10^-20 m^2/W. Please note that Thorlabs doesn't guarantee this value as we have not tested this parameter.
Ye Yujie  (posted 2021-05-20 13:38:38.163)
中红外光纤的纤芯、包层折射率和直径
YLohia  (posted 2021-05-20 10:22:37.0)
Hello, an applications engineer from our team in China (techsupport-cn@thorlabs.com) will discuss this directly with you.
YLohia  (posted 2021-05-20 10:22:37.0)
Hello, an applications engineer from our team in China (techsupport-cn@thorlabs.com) will discuss this directly with you.
Jun Zhao  (posted 2020-07-28 17:15:42.74)
Could you suggest and quote for InF3 fiber with core size of 10um?
nbayconich  (posted 2020-07-28 11:15:23.0)
Thank you for contacting Thorlabs, I will reach out to you directly to discuss our custom capabilities.
Ian McLaughlin  (posted 2019-08-28 14:40:21.59)
Please provide a quote for the Mid-Infrared Optical Fiber
nbayconich  (posted 2019-08-28 04:18:38.0)
Thank you for contacting Thorlabs. I will reach out to you directly to discuss our custom capabilities and quote you a custom patch cable. For future custom requests please contact techsupport@thorlabs.com directly or you can request a quote from the "Request Quote" link above the feedback section.
todd  (posted 2017-03-03 11:36:46.65)
What is the fluoride fiber buffer material? Is the buffer strippable? Once I know this I will figure out how much fiber I will need a quote for.
tfrisch  (posted 2017-03-13 02:41:45.0)
Hello, thank you for contacting Thorlabs. The buffer is acrylate, and I will contact you directly on how the recommended handling differs from silica fibers.
ilindsay  (posted 2015-08-27 15:41:39.307)
Hi. Can you comment on the end preparation of your mid-IR (fluoride) fibers, e.g. differences from SiO2 fibers in terms of cleaving and polishing techniques in the case of applications where connectors are not appropriate?
besembeson  (posted 2015-09-29 08:59:55.0)
Response from Bweh at Thorlabs USA: We recommend Thorlabs Vytran products, such as the LDC-400 (http://vytran.com/product/ldc-400) for cleaving bare fiber. Polishing is only relevant when terminating fiber with a connector and it is different with these mid-IR fibers. I will follow-up with you for further guidance with these if needed.
Last Edited: Jun 23, 2014 Author: Dan Daranciang