IMPORTANT NOTE: Before using these fibers with your equipment, make sure that you are familiar with all operating and safety instructions provided with your source. Carefully read the below information; proper operation and handling of these devices is imperative to prevent damage to fiber and related equipment.
1. Before attaching the provided fibers to your system, inspect both the input and output connector ends. The end faces should be clean and as free from contamination as possible. If not, clean the ends as outlined in the cleaning section below. Check the fiber ends both before connecting the fiber and also after disconnecting the fiber. It is very easy for contaminates to be transferred from one connector to another if proper care is not taken.
2. To avoid damage to the fibers being used, turn the source off, or reduce the power level to less than 50 mW before attaching the fiber. If any optics have to be aligned, then perform the initial alignment at low power (<50 mW). Only after the optics are fully aligned and locked should the laser power be increased.
3. It is recommended that the laser power be increased by only 0.25 Watts every few minutes, and that the output power from the fiber should be monitored, to ensure that the coupling efficiency is not changing with power.
4. The beam must be free from hot spots (localized energy spikes). If hot spots are present in the beam then the energy density must be calculated for that localized area to ensure it doesn't exceed the damage threshold of the fiber.
5. The beam must be a fully contained with the fiber core (typically filling only 80% of the fiber core). Overfilling the fiber core or launching energy into the cladding can be catastrophic at elevated energy levels.
6. The energy must be well within the NA of the fiber. For example, if the NA is 0.22 with a tolerance of +/-0.02, then the injected energy should be 0.18 NA Max (i.e. 10% below the minimum possible NA).
7. Do not use any index matching gel, thread locking fluid, or any lubricants with the connector. Do not use in the presence of chemical fumes or oils.
8. Products must be used in a clean environment in order to ensure spotless end faces. Any speck of dust adhering to the end face can easily lead to the degradation or destruction of the fiber.
Use filtered compressed air to blow any dust or dirt off the ferrule when finished. Do not use any type of cleaning solution such as isopropyl alcohol to clean fiber end face. Carefully inspect the tip of the fiber with fiber scope. The tip should be free of all contaminants. Continually clean the caps and the fiber tip before and after each use to help prevent contamination.
When not in use, the ends of the fiber and the connector receptacles should be covered with the supplied caps. This will help protect the connectors from dirt and contamination. It is only recommended to use the dust caps supplied with the cables. Do not use any other caps. Only the Thorlabs caps supplied with the cable are approved for use in sterilization procedures. Any other caps often are contaminated with mold release agents, which can get onto the fiber ends. This contamination is extremely difficult to see, and resists cleaning.