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Multi-Axis Flexure Stage Accessories: Fiber Chucks and Mounts
Fiber Chuck Pitch
Fiber Chuck Rotation Mount Secured into a Fixed Mount
Fiber chucks are designed to conveniently mount bare optical fibers into optical systems. On this page, we offer Ø1/4" fiber chucks that accept fibers with diameters up to 200 µm without a coating. In addition, we offer fiber chuck holders and mounts that accept industry-standard fiber chucks, allowing them to be mounted on one of our multi-axis flexure stages using AMA010 cleats.
Deck Height is the distance from the base of the mounting surface of an optical table or breadboard to the top mounting surface of the stage. There are two standard deck heights: 62.5mm for the MBT, RollerBlock, and Max300 series stages or 112.5mm deck height for the Max600 and NBM series stages. A wide range of riser blocks and plates are available to accommodate for variations when stacking stages on top of each other.
Optical Axis, also referred to as Beam Height, is the nominal height at which the beam should pass over the stage and through a given optical component or device. There are two standard optical axis heights: 75mm for the MBT, RollerBlock, and Max300 series stages or 125mm deck height for the Max600 and NBM series stages. Most standard accessories use a 12.5mm optical axis/beam height.
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Basic Structure of a Typical Optical Fiber
Thorlabs' Ø1/4" Fiber Chucks are designed to accept fibers with diameters up to 200 µm once the coating (buffer) has been stripped. However, it will have a more secure hold on fibers that are closer to Ø200 µm. The HFC005 is a standard fiber chuck that is loaded from the back. The fiber is fed through the length of the chuck and then a collet mechanism is used to secure the fiber in place. Therefore, the fiber needs to be stripped and fed through the holder prior to being cleaved to prevent damage to the fiber endface. This fiber chuck is ideal for use with the HFR001 Rotator or HFP001 Polarization-Maintaining Mount presented below. The HFC005 chuck measures 2.77" (70 mm) in length and has a diameter of Ø0.25" (Ø6.4 mm).
The HFC007 Side-Loading Fiber Chuck is loaded from the side, which makes it possible to cleave the fiber prior to loading. A spring clip secures the fiber in place within the chuck, but does not provide a sufficient clamping force to keep the fiber from rotating. Therefore, this chuck should not be placed inside a rotator such as the HFR001 or used with the HFP001 polarization-maintaining fiber chuck holder. The HFC007 chuck measures 2.36" (60 mm) in length and has a diameter of Ø0.25" (Ø6.4 mm).
Fiber should be stripped of the coating prior to use with these fiber chucks. The diagram to the right shows the structure of a typical fiber consisting of a core, cladding, and coating (not to scale). The coating, sometimes also referred to as a buffer, serves to protect the cladding of glass fibers from particulates that may land on the surface of the fiber. The coating of certain specialized fibers can have optical properties that allow it to act as a second cladding layer. In these cases, the optical properties of the fiber should be considered before stripping off the coating layer.
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HFC005 Fiber Chuck in HFG001 and HFP001 Mounts on a Three-Axis Flexure Stage
Thorlabs' Fiber Chuck Holders are designed to accept industry-standard fiber chucks and mount them on one of our multi-axis flexure stages using AMA010 cleats. The HFG001 features a double bore that ensures two lines of contact are maintained along the length of the Ø1/4" chuck. A nylon-tipped set screw (1.5 mm hex) is used to apply the pressure required to firmly hold the fiber chuck in place.
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The HFP001 Preserves the Rotational Alignment of the Fiber When the Chuck is Removed from the HFG001.
The HFP001 Polarization-Maintaining Fiber Chuck Holder is designed to maintain the rotational alignment of a fiber chuck, and therefore maintain the polarization of the light from the fiber. To do so, the HFP001 is used together with the HFG001 Mounting block described above (see photo to the right). A fiber chuck is secured in both the HFG001 and the HFP001 with nylon-tipped setscrews (using a 1.5 mm hex) and the HFP001 is aligned with the 3 mm groove on the flexure stage. The fiber chuck can then be removed by releasing it only from the HFG001 mounting block, leaving the chuck in the HFP001 (as shown in the photo below). During refitting, The HFP001 is simply realigned with the same 3 mm groove and the fiber's rotational alignment is preserved. Throughout this process, the fiber in the chuck should not be rotated with respect to the HFP001 if the polarization of the light is to be maintained.
HFG003 Fiber Chuck Usage
The HFG003 Flexure Mount provides ±3° of pitch and yaw adjustment and is designed to accept our 1/4" diameter fiber chucks (HFC005 and HFC007). This adjustable fiber chuck mount can be mounted to our multi-axis flexure stages using AMA010 cleats. A nylon-tipped set screw (1.5 mm hex) is used to apply the pressure required to firmly hold the fiber chuck in place. As seen in the animation to the right, the pitch and yaw can be adjusted using a 1.5 mm hex key.
When working with low numerical aperture (NA) optical fibers, the angular adjustment of the optical fiber with respect to the incoming laser beam can be critical to optimizing the coupling efficiency. Additionally, if small core fibers are being used, the high divergence angle of tightly focused laser beams can also require careful angular alignment to ensure the input NA of the fiber is not exceeded.
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MBT616D Flexure Stage
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The HFR001 is mounted to a HCS013 flexure stage mount to secure a HFC007 fiber chuck.
The HFR001 Fiber Chuck Rotator is designed to hold a standard Ø1/4" fiber chuck such as the HFC005 presented above and allow continuous rotation through 360°. The fiber chuck is secured by tightening the M3 nylon-tipped set screws with a 1.5 mm hex key. The HFR001 has a male RMS thread (0.800"-36) for attachment to an HCS013 RMS-threaded flexure stage mount, which can then be secured to the top plate of one of our multi-axis flexure stages or fixed brackets. The phosphor-bronze and PTFE bearing in the fiber chuck rotator provides smooth, low-friction rotation for precise angular orientation of a polarization-maintaining fiber. The lateral offset during rotation is typically less than 20 µm; this relatively small offset allows a fiber to be rotated by about 90° before requiring compensation with y and z adjustments of the stage. This combination provides 360° of initial fiber rotation with 8° of ultra-fine rotation.
The photo to the right shows a typical application. The HFR001 is held in an HCS013 RMS-threaded flexure stage mount and mounted to a 3-Axis Flexure Stage. The fiber chuck rotator holds the fiber, whose output is aligned with the microscope objective, which is fitted to the objective holder and mounted on a fixed bracket. The HFR001 can also be used with the roll/pitch platform (e.g., AMA027) to launch light into polarization-maintaining fibers.
Please note that the HFC007 fiber chuck featured above should not be used with the HFR001 fiber rotator, as it does not provide sufficient clamping force to prevent rotation of the fiber once placed inside the rotator.