MICRO-FABRICATED CERAMIC COMPONENTS FOR OPTICAL FIBER CONNECTORS IN HARSH OPERATIONAL ENVIRONMENTS
Agency / Branch:
DOD / NAVY
The objective of this Small Business Innovation Research Phase IIproject is to develop an innovative, cost-effective ceramicmaterial (CERCANAM) and technique for fabricating fiber-opticconnectors. Connectors fabricated using current connectortechnology have difficulties operating in harsh environmentsexperienced by military and commercial aircraft and above 300 Cdue to materials limitations in the case of silicon orthermosetting plastics, and performance limitations of the epoxysystem used to bind the alignment sleeves to the fibers duringtermination in the case of ceramic ferrules. The proposedprocess is a low-temperature, net-shape fabrication techniquethat is efficient, cost-effective, scalable and environmentallyfriendly (no hazardous byproducts). The proposed material is aceramic with nano or sub-micron sized particles whose compositionand microstructure can be tailored, depending on the specificrequirements of the application, by simple changes in processingtechnique. The Phase I Project clearly demonstrated thefeasibility of this material/process for ceramic componentmicrofabrication and thermomechanical stability up to 800 C. Inthe Phase II project, we will develop, build, optimize, and testprototype CERCANAM components for two commercial connectorconfigurations. We will work closely with DoD prime contractorsand suppliers to facilitate a smooth deployment of CERCANAM-basedconnectors into military and civilian applications. After the successful completion of the Phase II project, CERCANAM-based connectors will be an attractive alternative to silicon V-groove type connectors, zirconia ferrules for MIL-29504 FC-PC (FerruleConnector-Physical Contact) connectors or thermoset plastics for MT (Multi-Fiber Termini) connectors. The high production capacity and sub-micron dimensional tolerances for components fabricated using this material/technique makes it an attractive optionfor optic fiber component manufacturers. The advantages offered by CERCANAM include high-temperature performance and mechanical reliability compared with silicon or plastics, and significantly lower processing costs compared with zirconia ferrules.Further, the material/fabrication technique also has direct relevance to other devices such as micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), packaging for electronic components and microchannel devices.
Small Business Information at Submission:
2425 South 900 West Salt Lake City, UT 84119
Number of Employees: