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Vytran® CO₂ Laser End-Cap Splicer
Ø400 µm Core Fiber Spliced onto a Ø8 mm Tapered End Cap with a Ø1 mm Lead-In
Ø5.0 mm End-Cap Holder with Flexure Clamp
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Image of a Ø8 mm end cap with lead-in prepared for splicing in the GLZ4001EC.
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When splicing, the laser forms an annular beam shape that uniformly heats the fiber ends and then the two fibers are carefully pushed together.
The GLZ4001EC is an advanced splicer that is designed for splicing single mode, multimode, and specialty fiber directly to large-diameter end caps. Direct splices to end caps up to Ø5.0 mm are enabled by the use of a high-power CO2 laser to precisely and uniformly heat the fiber and end cap during the fusion process. With a tapered lead-in, end caps up to Ø9.5 mm can be spliced (see the image to the right for an example of a tapered end cap).
Unlike our other splicers, the furnace tower on the GLZ4001EC uses a 40 W (CW) CO2 laser as the primary heat source. In contrast to filament-based heat sources, the laser does not require purge gas or consumable filaments, which greatly reduces the maintenance needed. High-performance axicon lenses are used to shape the laser beam into an annular (i.e., doughnut) beam shape. There are two options for optical heads that are used to focus the laser beam; the splice head is optimized for splicing standard fibers together, while the end-cap head is designed for heating and fusing large end caps onto the ends of optical fibers. One optical head is included with the system based on your requirements. With the optics located in the rear of the system, the front of the GLZ4001EC allows the user unhindered access to fiber holding blocks and end caps.
The splicer workstation, computer with process development and operation software, and power supply are integrated into a rolling cart for easy movement in the workspace. Each system includes installation, commissioning, and training provided by one of our application engineers.
True Core Imaging
Options and Accessories
Fiber Holder Inserts Selection Guide (Top Inserts and Standard or Transfer Bottom Inserts)
Fiber Holder Inserts, which are designed to hold various sized fibers within the glass processors, must be purchased separately. Standard and transfer bottom inserts have V-grooves to hold the fiber, while the top inserts each feature a recessed, flat surface that clamps the fiber against the V-groove in the bottom insert. Each top and bottom insert is sold individually, as the fiber outer diameter clamped by the left and right holding blocks may not be the same. At least two top inserts and two bottom inserts are required to operate the glass processor. For multi-fiber inserts, which are used to make fused couplers or combiners, the recommended top inserts are listed in the multi-fiber insert table.
The table below indicates the maximum and minimum outer diameters that can be accommodated by different combinations of top and bottom inserts. It also indicates how far offset the fiber will be for recommended combinations of top and bottom inserts. Note that this outer diameter may be the fiber cladding, jacket, or buffer. If one side of the fiber is being discarded, it is preferable to clamp onto the cladding of this section except in special cases (such as non-circular fiber) where the coating or buffer may be preferable. Sections of fiber that are not being discarded should always be clamped on the coating or buffer in order to avoid damaging the glass. This may require different sets of fiber holder inserts to be used in the left and right holding blocks. In this case, it is important to minimize the difference in the offsets introduced by the left and right sets of inserts when attempting to produce high-quality splices.
Each V-groove can accommodate a range of fiber sizes.
Fiber Insert Selection Chart
Laser Safety and Classification
Safe practices and proper usage of safety equipment should be taken into consideration when operating lasers. The eye is susceptible to injury, even from very low levels of laser light. Thorlabs offers a range of laser safety accessories that can be used to reduce the risk of accidents or injuries. Laser emission in the visible and near infrared spectral ranges has the greatest potential for retinal injury, as the cornea and lens are transparent to those wavelengths, and the lens can focus the laser energy onto the retina.
Safe Practices and Light Safety Accessories
Lasers are categorized into different classes according to their ability to cause eye and other damage. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is a global organization that prepares and publishes international standards for all electrical, electronic, and related technologies. The IEC document 60825-1 outlines the safety of laser products. A description of each class of laser is given below:
Must be Purchased Separately
The GLZ4001EC CO2 Laser End-Cap Splicer Workstation integrates the furnace tower, fiber holding blocks, computer with operation and process development software, and other operational equipment into an easy-to-use rolling cart that can be positioned anywhere in the lab.
This workstation features automatic fiber alignment and is specially designed for fusing large end caps to single mode, multimode, and other specialty fiber using the True Core Imaging Technology. Precision fiber handlers can translate and position a fiber in XY with a resolution of 0.2 µm and translate along the fiber axis (Z-axis) up to 10 mm with a resolution of 0.25 µm. This allows the furnace to precisely and uniformly heat the fiber or end cap to ensure a high-quality splice directly to end caps up to Ø5 mm. With a tapered lead-in, end caps up to Ø9.5 mm can be spliced.
The workstation includes the fiber holders, optical heads, furnace tower, CCD camera for imaging, PC and monitor pre-installed with the control software, and mirror tower for side-view imaging.
Top and bottom inserts for the fiber holders, both of which are required to operate the splicer workstation, can be purchased separately below. Our end-cap holders (sold separately below) can hold larger end caps from Ø1.8 mm to Ø9.5 mm using vacuum suction, a flexure clamp, or a magnetic lid.
Installation, commissioning, and training by one of our application engineers is included with the purchase of a system.
Fiber Holder Inserts, which consist of one top insert and either a bottom or transfer insert, are placed in the fiber holding blocks of the optical glass processor to secure the fiber during splicing or tapering. The inserts clamp the cladding, buffer, or coating of the fiber and can accommodate outer diameters of up to 3.198 mm. Please refer to the Fiber Holder Insert tab for more information on pairing the top and bottom inserts sold here.
The VHA standard top inserts come in single-sided and dual-sided versions. These standard inserts can also be used in the Automated Glass Processors, CO2 Laser Glass Processor, LDC401 Series of Fiber Cleavers, FPS300 Stripping and Cleaning Station, and LFS4100 Splicing System.
Fiber Holder Inserts, which consist of one top insert and a bottom insert, are placed in the fiber holding blocks of the splicer workstation to secure the fiber during splicing or tapering. Bottom inserts are magnetically held within the fiber holding blocks of the splicer workstation and other compatible systems. The V-groove machined into the bottom inserts ensures the fiber is centered within the fiber holder; inserts with different V-groove sizes are available (see the Fiber Holder Insert tab for more information on pairing top and bottom standard or transfer inserts). Vacuum holes at the bottom of the transfer inserts are used for holding and aligning small fibers within the V-groove.
Two types of bottom inserts are compatible with the splicer workstation: transfer bottom inserts and standard bottom inserts. Transfer bottom inserts (indicated with Item #'s starting with VHF) allow for a single fiber to be transferred between the LDC401 Series of Fiber Cleavers, FPS300 Stripping and Cleaning Station, and the GLZ4001EC workstation with minimal loss of alignment. For example, a fiber can be placed in a transfer insert and cleaved using the LDC401 cleaver, then the entire transfer insert can be placed in the GLZ4001EC for splicing. This process works because the transfer inserts are precisely located within each Vytran system, and the VHT1 Transfer Clamp (sold directly below) prevents axial movement of the fiber during transport. Transfer inserts are equipped with vacuum holes that provide a small suction force to hold the fiber in place. All of these transfer inserts require the VHT1 Transfer Clamp (sold below); transfer inserts for fiber outer diameters ≤550 µm also require a Graphite V-Groove (sold below).
Standard Fiber Holder Bottom Inserts (indicated by Item #'s starting with VHE) can be used with fibers with large-diameter fibers. These inserts come in single-sided and dual-sided versions. The standard bottom inserts can also be used in the LDC401 Series of Fiber Cleavers, FPS300 Stripping and Cleaning Station, Automated Glass Processors and LFS4100 Splicing System. Unlike transfer inserts, alignment of the fibers will not be maintained when these inserts are transferred between systems.
These Transfer Clamps and V-Grooves are used with the VHF Transfer Bottom Inserts sold directly above to move a single fiber between various Vytran systems with minimal loss of alignment. For example, a fiber can be placed in a transfer insert and cleaved using the LDC401 Fiber Cleaver. Then, the entire transfer insert and fiber can be moved to the GLZ4001EC for splicing.
For fibers with diameters ≤550 µm, a graphite V-groove must be purchased to support the fiber when splicing (please see the size table to the right for more information). The graphite V-grooves are secured by tightening the two setscrews in the transfer insert.
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An Ø8 mm end cap with a Ø1 mm lead-in is secured within the front clamp of the ECH8C.
These holders secure and position end caps in the splicer workstation during the fusion process. Holders for end caps with outer diameters ranging from 1.8 mm to 9.5 mm are available.
Holders with Vacuum Suction
Holders with Flexure Clamp
Holders with Magnetic Lid
The GLZD Drop-Leaf Shelf is compatible with our GLZ4001EC and GPX4000LZ Processing Systems. The shelf includes mounting hardware and can attach to either side of the system enclosure. The supporting braces lock in place automatically when the shelf is raised. Each system enclosure can support one shelf on each side for a total of two.
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USC2 Ultrasonic Cleaner and USC2NVT Nest for Vytran Transfer Bottom Inserts
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The cleaning intensity and duration controls are located on the rear of the cleaner.
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Thorlabs' Vytran® USC2 Ultrasonic Fiber Cleaner is designed for volume processing of bare fiber. Adjustment knobs for cleaning intensity and cleaning duration allow the user to easily set repeatable cleaning parameters. The dunking jig offers adjustable immersion depth and is compatible with interchangeable fiber holder nests (each sold separately). A red LED indicates when the cleaning cycle is active. The 100 mL solvent tank is only suitable for use with acetone or isopropyl alcohol.
Tilting the dunking jig submerges the fiber in the tank and initiates the ultrasonic cleaning process. The ultrasonic agitation ceases after the chosen cleaning duration. The height of the fiber holder above the solvent tank can be changed over a 0.5" (12.7 mm) range using the knurled adjuster on the side of the dunking jig, visible in the photo above.
The knurled adjuster can also be reversed to disengage the bare fiber nest and switch it out for another fiber holder nest. Each cleaner is shipped with a bare fiber nest installed in the dunking jig. The USC2NVT Nest (sold separately) is designed for use with Vytran transfer bottom inserts. Accessories are available for the Vytran fiber nest to support a wider range of usage scenarios, including a clamp for standard bottom inserts and spacers for recessing inserts farther from the solvent tank. We also offer nests for Fujikura® and Fitel® fiber holders (each sold separately). Please see the complete product presentation for more information.