The University of Southampton

Hollow Core Fibre for sensing and metrology

Hollow Core Fibres (HCFs) enable extremely efficient light-gas interaction inside their hollow core. As light can propagate through this central core with very low loss, even when the fibre is bent or coiled, long interaction lengths (of more than a metre) are possible in a very compact device (tightly-coiled fibre). The benefits of a long interaction length means that a relatively weak light-gas interaction is significantly better.  

Normal (solid-core) fibres are very sensitive to temperature, which can significantly change the optical properties (refractive index) of their glass core. This is undesirable in applications dealing with fibre interferometry or applications in which the propagation time through the fibre must be stable. As HCFs have air inside their core, this unwanted sensitivity is greatly reduced, making HCFs particularly interesting for such applications.

We are working with industrial and academic partners, as well as the UK National Physical Laboratory (NPL) to exploit the long gas/light interactions possible in Hollow Core Fibres (HCFs) as well as their stability with respect to environmental conditions, developing a range of new devices including:

  • More environmentally resilient/high-performance gyroscopes
  • Sensitive in-line gas reference cells for breath analysis and hydrocarbon sensing
  • Environmentally-stable interferometers (for optical and Radio-over-Fibre applications)
  • Fibres and components for time/frequency dissemination

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