Mengxin Zheng's virtual presentation entitled "3D printed glass preforms for optical fibers with nonequilibrium cross-sections" to CLEO Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics is about her work on 3D printed glass preforms for optical fibers with nonequilibrium cross-sections at the FAMES Lab.
Structured silica fibers could benefit multiple application areas, including optical-chemical detection, telecommunication and tight focusing of light. The functional complexity of the fiber device is directly correlated to the complexity of the preform cross section. The preform fabrication, at this point, requires case by case treatment, and for each specific preform configuration, a separate technology must be developed and applied. Addressing this concern, we have therefore developed a method where glass fiber preforms are fabricated by Stereolithography-based 3D printing. We use a square preforms as a study system for controlling the fiber cross section in the thermal draw. The results presented in this talk demonstrate the viability of our approach for 3D printing glass preforms. Although the paper focuses on borosilicate glass, the method is easily translatable to fused silica and other glass compositions, thus providing good flexibility in the material choice. Furthermore, we demonstrate the ability to print preforms with non-equilibrium cross-sectional geometries that are preserved after draw.