3D printed fiber optic faceplates by custom controlled fused deposition modeling
Pawlowski, Michal E.
Tkaczyk, Tomasz S.
A 3D printing technique for manufacturing air-clad coherent fiber optic faceplates is presented. The custom G-code programming is implemented on a fused deposition modeling (FDM) desktop printer to additively draw optical fibers using high-transparency thermoplastic filaments. The 3D printed faceplate consists of 20000 fibers and achieves spatial resolution 1.78 LP/mm. Transmission loss and crosstalk are characterized and compared among the faceplates printed from four kinds of transparent filaments as well as different faceplate thicknesses. The printing temperature is verified by testing the transmission of the faceplates printed under different temperatures. Compared with the conventional stack-and-draw fabrication, the FDM 3D printing technique simplifies the fabrication procedure. The ability to draw fibers with arbitrary organization, structure and overall shape provides additional degree of freedom to opto-mechanical design. Our results indicate a promising capability of 3D printing as the manufacturing technology for fiber optical devices.