The method is based on hexagonal close packing.
A method of assembling coherent fiber-optic bundles in which all the fibers are packed together as closely as possible is undergoing development. The method is based straightforwardly on the established concept of hexagonal close packing; hence, the development efforts are focused on fixtures and techniques for practical implementation of hexagonal close packing of parallel optical fibers.
The figure depicts salient aspects of one such technique and fixture that may be appropriate for assembling a relatively narrow bundle in which all the fibers are known to be of the same diameter, but the diameter is not known precisely. The positions and orientations of the three blocks are adjusted to accommodate the diameter and to push the fibers together into an equilateral triangular cross section that enforces the required regular hexagonal arrangement. Once the fibers have been clamped together as shown in the upper part of the figure, the bundle and its clamping blocks could be fixed in the desired position in a housing by use of an epoxy.
This work was done by Stefan Martin, Duncan Liu, Bruce Martin Levine, Michael Shao, and James Wallace of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, download the Technical Support Package (free white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Manufacturing & Prototyping category. NPO-30913
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