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Vytran™ Filament Fusion Splicer


  • Splice Optical Fibers with Cladding Diameters Up to 1.25 mm
  • Automated and Manual Fiber Alignment
  • Thermally Expand Fiber Cores to Produce Mode Field Adapters

LFS4100

Fusion Splicing System

VHT1

Transfer Insert Clamp

FTAV2

Graphite Filament

VHE25

Fiber Holder
Bottom Insert

VHB05

Fiber Holder Top Insert with LED Indent

VHF250

Fiber Holder Transfer Bottom Insert

Splicing System, Filaments, Inserts, and Accessories All Sold Separately

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Applications of the Vytran™ LFS4100 Filament Fusion Splicer

Features

  • Splice Standard and Specialty Optical Fibers with Cladding Diameters up to 1.25 mm
    • Filament Fusion for Precise and Consistent Splicing
    • Wide Thermal Dynamic Range for Various Fiber Sizes and Fusion Processes
    • Fire Polishing for Enhanced Splice Strength
  • True Core Imaging™ for High Resolution Fiber Alignment
  • Thermally Diffuse Fiber Cores to Produce Mode Field Adapters
  • Real-Time Control System and Machine-Level Programming

Build Your System

  • Filament Fusion Splicer for Standard, Large-Diameter, and Specialty Optical Fiber (LFS4100)
  • Choose from Four Graphite and Three Iridium Filament Assemblies (One FTAV4 Graphite Filament Pre-Installed in System)
  • Choose Top and Bottom Inserts (Two Top Inserts and Two Bottom Inserts Required; See Fiber Holder Insert Tab for More Information)
  • Optional Ultrasonic Cleaner for Preparing Fibers Prior to Splicing

Thorlabs' LFS4100 Vytran™ Filament Fusion Splicer for Standard, Large-Diameter, and Specialty Optical Fiber combines filament fusion technology, a high degree of user process control, and simple operation. These properties make this system ideal for volume production in manufacturing environments that demand precise, consistent performance. The splicer is designed to perform high-quality fusion splicing for fibers with claddings from Ø125 µm to Ø1.25 mm. An ultrasonic cleaner for preparing fibers for splicing can be purchased separately below.

The LFS4100 system consists of a filament-based heater, a microscopic high-resolution CCD imaging system, precision stages with multi-axis control, and a desktop computer. The filament heater has a wide temperature tuning range that extends up to 3000 °C, which makes it possible to fuse and process various fiber types and sizes. For alignment purposes, the imaging system displays a magnified fiber image with sub-micron resolution; the camera can display views of both the fiber sides and fiber ends. Using these images, the XY and rotation stages automatically manipulate the fibers to achieve optimum positioning and ensure high-quality, low-loss splicing. The LFS4100 also has the ability to rotate fibers, making it possible to align PM fibers, eccentric core fibers, and non-circular fibers.


Click to Enlarge

LFS4100 Mirror Tower and Two Fibers Ready for Splicing

Filament Fusion Splicing and Fire Polishing
Thorlabs' Vytran filament fusion technology provides a consistent, reliable method of making high-strength, low-loss splices. Precision control of the fusion process is achieved by purging the splice region with an inert gas and using a resistive graphite or iridium filament to supply the thermal input for fiber fusion. Because the fusion heat source is isolated from the environment, filament fusion splicing is not dependent on ambient conditions. The controlled conditions inside the system in combination with constant power control ensure repeatable performance for every splice.

Post-fusion, a fire polishing process significantly increases splice strength through a rapid heat treatment of the splice region. In addition, the fire polishing process provides core diffusion capabilities that can be used to adiabatically expand the mode field diameter of a fiber, producing low loss splices between markedly dissimilar fibers. For more details, please see the Fusion Splicing tab.


End-View Imaging for Rotational Alignment of Polarization-Maintaining and Specialty Fiber

Fiber Imaging and Alignment
The LFS4100 fusion splicer includes both an imaging system and an array of stepper motors for automatic positioning of fibers and the camera assembly. The imaging system consists of a camera tower with a movable objective and a ring illuminator that provides backlighting for the fibers. A mirror tower containing two sets of mirrors and an LED sits around the fibers and provides a view of both sides of the fibers as well as the fiber end faces. This mirror tower can be seen between the two fiber ends in the image to the right.

Side view images of fibers can be acquired for all fiber diameters and used for automatic or manual XY alignment with the motion control system. In addition, end-view imaging allows for rotational alignment of polarization-maintaining and other specialty fibers. However, this end-view alignment feature is only available for fibers that can be held by the cladding or fibers that have a buffer with diameter ≤1269 microns. Larger diameter buffers will not fit in the VHB00 or the VHB05, the Fiber Holding Block Top Inserts with indents for LED end-view illumination. For more difficult alignment tasks, accurate positioning can also be achieved by maximizing the power coupled from one fiber into the other as measured by an optical power meter.

Fiber Holding Block Inserts and Filaments
The LFS4100 is designed to accept Fiber Holding Block Inserts that can clamp onto a range of fiber cladding or buffer diameters. Nine top and ten bottom inserts are available separately below. Two top and two bottom inserts are required to operate the fusion splicer. The Fiber Holder Inserts tab has a selection guide to aid in choosing which inserts are required based on the cladding or buffer diameter of the fiber to be spliced. Please note that the only top inserts that allow end-view imaging for the alignment of polarization-maintaining and specialty fiber are the VHB00 and VHB05 (sold below).

The LFS4100 also requires a filament assembly to perform splicing operations. The filaments are omega-shaped resistive heaters capable of achieving the high temperatures required for splicing large-diameter fibers. Proper filament selection is essential for optimum splice performance. Graphite filaments are capable of heating up to the high temperatures required to splice standard and large-diameter fibers, making them ideal for most applications. By contrast, iridium filaments are preferred for splicing mid-IR fluoride fiber and other softer glasses because of their lower operating temperature. We supply filaments mounted in complete filament assemblies, which are held to the splice head of the LFS4100 by two screws. One FTAV4 Graphite Filament Assembly comes pre-installed with the LFS4100; additional graphite or iridium filaments can be purchased below.

Complementary Fiber Processing Systems
The Vytran LFS4100 Splicer, FPS300 Fiber Preparation Station, GPX3400, GPX3600, GPX3800GPX3850, GPX4000LZ Glass Processing Systems, LDC Series of Fiber Cleavers, and PTR Series of Fiber RecoatersProof Testers, and Recoaters with Proof Testers make up a suite of complementary products for both early process development and volume manufacturing. The FPS300 Fiber Preparation Station, LDC Series of Fiber Cleavers, and LFS4100 Splicer have interchangeable Fiber Holder Transfer Bottom Inserts (sold below) to ensure precise positioning within each tool. This makes splicing with the LFS4100 easier and faster because it facilitates repeatable fiber positioning when the splicer is used in conjunction with the other Vytran products. The operator can transfer fibers from one tool to another in the same transfer insert and the ends of the fibers will fall in the same place every time. More information about transfer inserts can be found below.

Compatible Vytran Fiber Processing Systems
Fiber Preparation Station
(Strip and Clean)
Large-Diameter Fiber Cleavers Large-Diameter Fiber Splicer CO2 Laser Glass Processing System
(Splice and Taper)
Automated Glass Processing Systems with Integrated Cleaver
(Cleave, Splice, and Taper)
Automated Glass Processing Systems
(Splice and Taper)
Fiber Recoaters, Proof Testers, and Recoaters with Proof Testers
LFS4100 Filament Fusion Splicer
Fiber Type (Non PM) MM, SM, PCF, LMA, Circular, Non-Circular, Silica, Soft Glass
Fiber Type (PM) Panda, Elliptical-Core, Bow-Tie, and Many Others
Fiber Cladding Diameter 125 µm - 1.25 mm
Fusion Method Filament Fusion
Filament Temperature Range Room Temperature to >3000 °C
Typical Splice Loss 0.02 dB for SMF (ITU-T G.652)
Loss Estimation Included (Proprietary Method Based on Coupled Mode Theory)
Typical Splice Strength 250 kpsi for SMF (ITU-T G.652) Using LDC400 Series Cleaver or Appropriate Fiber Preparation Equipment
Strength Enhancement Fire Polish
Polarization Cross-Talk Panda > 35 dB, Others > 30 dB
Fiber Inspection and Measurement
Fiber Side Viewing True Core Imaging™
Fiber End Viewing Included for PM Alignment and Fiber Facet Inspection
Fiber Alignment Method Manual or Fully Automated
End Face Inspection Inspection via Display
Cleave Angle Automatic Measurement
Splice Loss Estimation Automatic Measurement
Active Power Alignment Included
Motion Control
Furnace "Z" Movement 15 mm from Home Position
Fiber "Z" Movement 12 mm (Max)
"Z" Movement Resolution 0.2 µm
X-Y Fiber Positioning Resolution 0.02 µm
Rotational Alignment Fully Automated and Manual
Rotation Drive Resolution 0.02°
Rotation Travel 200°
PC Control and Proprietary Software
Monitor Included
Keyboard Included
Mouse Included
GUI Included
Splice Files Built-In Library of Most Common Fibers - Very Large Library Available (Contact Tech Support)
Monitor Features High Resolution Full Color (1024 x 768)
Technology and Engineering
Core Applications Low and High Temperature Glass Splicing; PCF Splicing; Creating End Caps, Fiber Lenses, Many Others - Please Contact Tech Support for More Information
Engineering Services For more than 25 years, Vytran has developed a library of glass processing applications. Please contact Tech Support for information about our engineering services and guidance on your specific application.
Installation and Training Recommended - Please Contact Tech Support
Physical
Laser Safety Considerations None
Size (L x W x H) 9.0" x 12.5" x 5" (230 mm x 320 mm x 130 mm)
Weight 29 lbs (13 kg)
Power External Power Supply Unit, Universal Input: 90-240 VAC, 47-63 Hz, Single Phase
LFS4100 Input: 12 V and 48 V DC, 10 A
PC Input: 115 or 230 VAC, 47-63 Hz, Single Phase
Gas Supply Argon, >99.999% Purity at 12 psig
Environmental
Operating Temperature Range 15 to 40 °C
Operating Pressure Range From Sea Level to 2000 m
Operating Humidity Range 0 to 75% Non Condensing
Storage Temperature Range -20 to 60 °C
Storage Humidity Range 0 to 90% Non Condensing

Fusion Splicing is the process of joining two optical fibers end-to-end using heat. The goal is to fuse the two fibers together in such a way that light passing through the fibers is not scattered or reflected by the splice while ensuring that the splice and the region surrounding it are almost as strong as the original fiber. The LFS4100 uses a resistive graphite or iridium filament shaped like an inverted omega to provide the heat necessary to fuse fibers together.

Fiber Alignment
Before fusion, the two fibers to be spliced must be aligned by the edge, core, or end-view alignment methods using the images captured by the camera tower or by the active alignment method. The edge and core alignment methods use side view images to determine the positions of the fibers and align them in the X-Y plane. In edge alignment mode, the system identifies the fiber edges and automatically repositions the fibers using the XY stepper motors. Successive images are analyzed, and fiber repositioning continues until adequate alignment is achieved. The core alignment method is similar to the edge alignment method, except the system attempts to align the fiber cores instead of the fiber edges. This process can only be used when there is a clearly visible image of the cores that is not distorted by the fiber claddings.

The end view alignment method is used for polarization-maintaining fibers such as 3M elliptical-core fiber (PM or PZ), panda fiber, bow-tie style fiber, and for hybrid splices between any of these. For this method, images of the fiber ends are analyzed and used to automatically control both XY and rotational position. Alternatively, the active alignment method can be used for fiber that has a high core eccentricity. In this case, alignment is achieved by maximizing the power transmission between the two fibers. For more information about these advanced alignment methods, please see the Software tab.

Fiber Cladding Diameter125 µm250 µm400 µm600 µm1000 µm
Filament FTAV2 FTAV4 FTAV4 FTAV5 FTAV6
Splice Power 58 W 66 W 120 W 132.5 W 190 W
Splice Time 7 s 7.5 s 8.5 s 10 s 12 s
Pre-Pusha 5 µm 5 µm 0 µm 0 µm 5 µm
Hot Pushb 14 µm 12 µm 30 µm 30 µm 40 µm
Hot Push Delayc 0.2 s 0.6 s 1 s 1.2 s 1.8 s
  • Distance the Fibers are Pushed Together Before Splicing Begins
  • Distance the Fibers are Pushed Together Once Splicing Begins
  • Period of Time the Fibers are Heated Before Moving Through the Hot Push Distance

Filament Fusion
Once fiber alignment has been achieved, the splice head is repositioned so that the filament is centered under the fiber ends. Power is then applied to the filament to raise its temperature to a level hot enough to soften the glass and fuse the fibers together, typically about 2000 °C. The filament would oxidize if it were brought to such a high temperature in air, so high-purity argon gas is used to purge the splicing chamber of oxygen during the filament fusion process. In order to keep the fibers clean and improve splice strength, the purging gas is set to flow over the fibers at a high rate during the fusion process. The splicing system includes a high-purity Teflon gas line and a gas regulator with an attached connector that fits a gas tank (not included) with a CGA-580 output port. An additional DIN 477 Number 6 connector is also included for the regulator. Zero-grade Argon gas with purity of >99.999% is recommended, and research-grade argon is preferred.

The fiber ends are allowed to heat up for a defined time before they are fused in order to remove any surface defects in the fiber ends and increase the plasticity of the glass. The user can control the power to the filament and the length of time the fibers heat up before fusion. The system's computer-controlled stepper motors push the fibers together over the pre-push distance before heating and then further move the fibers through the hot push distance to produce a splice with low loss and high strength. The total splice time, which can be adjusted by the user, is typically set between 2 and 15 seconds; common splice settings for several fiber cladding diameters are given in the table above. For special applications, the system can automatically run several splice steps in a sequence.

Fire Polishing
The fire polishing process significantly increases splice strength through a rapid post-fusion heat treatment of the splice region. When a fusion splice is made, silica evaporates off of the hot center region of the splice and condenses on either side of the joint where the fiber is cooler. The condensed silica deposits act as surface flaws, lowering the splice strength. Our fire polishing process removes or minimizes these deposits, thereby improving splice strength. In addition, the fire polishing process provides core diffusion capabilities that can be used to adiabatically expand the mode field diameter of a fiber. Through this thermally expanded core (TEC) process, low-loss fusion splices can be achieved between markedly dissimilar fibers, such as those typically used in fiber laser applications.

Fiber Holder Inserts Selection Guide

Fiber Holder Inserts, which are designed to hold various sizes of fibers within the LFS4100 splicer, must be purchased separately. The 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 diameter clamped by the left and right holding blocks may not be the same. Two top inserts and two bottom inserts are required to operate the splicer.

The table below indicates the minimum and maximum 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.

V-Groove Inserts
Each fiber holder insert can accommodate a range of fiber sizes.
Legend
 
Best Fit
 
Second Best Fit: Try these options if the best fit does not incorporate your fiber sizes.
 
Third Best Fit: Try these options if the other two categories do not incorporate your fiber sizes.

Fiber Insert Selection Chart

  1. First, select the bottom insert that matches your fiber size most closely.
    Example: For an Ø800 µm fiber, the VHF750 insert is the closest match, since it is only 50 µm smaller.
  2. On the chart below, look to the right of your chosen bottom insert. Select a compatible top insert based on the fiber diameter size range shown in each cell.
    Example: For the Ø800 µm example fiber from step 1, the green cell is in the 750 µm groove column for the VHA05 and VHB05 top inserts, which have two grooves. The numbers listed in the green cell indicate that this combination of inserts is good for fibers from 728 to 963 µm in diameter. Our Ø800 µm fiber is within this range, so this is a good choice. There are several other options that will accommodate an Ø800 µm fiber as well, but the green shading in the chart indicates that the 750 µm groove in either the VHA05 of VHB05 provides the best fit. Of these two top insert options, the VHB05 is compatible with end-view imaging but the VHA05 is not.
  3. The second line of numbers in each cell shows the range of offsets that can be expected for any given combination of top and bottom inserts. When selecting inserts for the right and left fiber holding blocks, try to minimize the offsets between the pairs of inserts on each side.
    Example: If we choose a VHF750 bottom insert and the Ø750 µm groove in the VHA05 top insert, we can use fiber as small as 728 µm, in which case the center of the fiber would sit 23 µm below the surface of the bottom insert. We could also clamp a fiber as large as 963 µm, in which case the center of the fiber would sit 213 µm above the surface of the bottom insert. We could interpolate to find the offset expected for our hypothetical 800 µm fiber, but it turns out that in a 60° V-groove, the offset is equal to the diameter difference. So, that means that the center of our fiber is going to sit 50 µm above the bottom insert surface because it is 50 µm larger than the fiber that the bottom insert was designed for (800 - 750 = 50).
  4. Holding blocks designed for fibers less than 1000 µm in diameter have vacuum holes, designed to aid in aligning small fiber within the groove, while bottom inserts for fibers of Ø1000 µm or larger do not have these holes. The LFS4100 has a vacuum pump that provides a small holding force via these holes, keeping small fibers in place as the clamps are lowered. Inserts with vacuum holes are indicated by a superscript "c" in the table below.
Top Insert Item # VHA00a
VHB00b
VHA00a VHA05a
VHB05b
VHA10a VHA15a VHA20a VHA25 VHA30
Accepted Diameter (Nominal) ≤320 µm 400 µm 500 µm 750 µm 1000 µm 1250 µm 1500 µm 1750 µm 2000 µm 2250 µm 2500 µm 3000 µm
Bottom Insert
Item #
Accepted
Diameter (Nominal)
Min / Max Accepted Diameter (µm)
Min / Max Offset (µm)
VHF160c 160 µm 112 / 208
-49 / 48
- - - - - - - - - - -
VHF250c 250 µm 177 / 320
-73 / 69
275 / 323
25 / 74
- - - - - - - - - -
VHF400c 400 µm 279 / 519
-122 / 119
377 / 517
-23 / 117
410 / 519
-9 / 119
- - - - - - - - -
VHF500c 500 µm 346 / 592
-153 / 93
447 / 647
-53 / 147
476 / 711
-24 / 211
560 / 795
61 / 296
- - - - - - - -
VHF750c 750 µm 516 / 759
-234 / 9
617 / 970
-132 / 221
643 / 878
-107 / 128
728 / 963
-23 / 213
812 / 1047
62 / 297
- - - - - - -
VHE10a 1000 µm - - 773 / 1008
-172 / 63
858 / 1093
-88 / 147
943 / 1178
-3 / 232
1036 / 1271
90 / 325
- - - - - -
1250 µm - - - 1034 / 1269
-176 / 59
1119 / 1354
-91 / 144
1212 / 1447
2 / 237
1288 / 1523
78 / 313
- - - - -
VHE15a 1500 µm - - - - 1280 / 1515
-172 / 63
1373 / 1608
-79 / 156
1449 / 1684
-2 / 233
1534 / 1769
82 / 314
- - - -
1750 µm - - - - - 1534 / 1770
-159 / 76
1611 / 1846
-83 / 152
1695 / 1930
2 / 237
1772 / 2007
78 / 313
- - -
VHE20a 2000 µm - - - - - - 1787 / 2022
-171 / 64
1871 / 2106
-86 / 149
1947 / 2183
-10 / 225
2032 / 2267
74 / 309
- -
2250 µm - - - - - - - 2033 / 2268
-167 / 68
2109 / 2344
-91 / 144
2193 / 2429
-6 / 229
2278 / 2513
78 / 313
-
VHE25 2500 µm - - - - - - - - 2270 / 2505
-172 / 64
2355 / 2590
-87 / 148
2439 / 2675
-2 / 233
2609 / 2844
167 / 402
VHE30 3000 µm - - - - - - - - - 2692 / 2944
-256 / -4
2777 / 3029
-171 / 81
2946 / 3198
-2 / 250
  • These inserts are dual sided to accomodate two different ranges of fiber diameters.
  • The VHB00 and VHB05 top inserts are equipped with an indent for LED illumination of the fiber end faces.
  • These bottom inserts have vacuum holes to aid in aligning small fibers when used with the LFS4100 Fiber Splicer.

Each LFS4100 Filament Fusion Splicer is shipped with a desktop computer that comes with the GUI software for operating the system. This software is used to control stepper motor motion, camera image acquisition, argon flow rate, and fiber alignment mode. In addition, it is used to control splicing parameters such as splice power, splice time, pre-push distance, hot push distance, and hot push delay (see the Fusion Splicing tab for more information). An abbreviated library of splice process files for common splicing procedures is included with the software. The GUI and splice library software also enable users to create their own splice files for new processes and customize existing files as necessary. Please contact Tech Support for inquiries regarding the availability of additional splice files your specific application.

The examples below illustrate several advanced operations that can be performed using the software GUI.


Click to Enlarge

End-View Alignment Software Window

End-View Alignment
End-view alignment is used for splicing polarization-maintaining fiber and other specialty fibers. These types of fibers require a rotational alignment in addition to the XY alignment required for standard fusion splicing. The end-view alignment process is initiated by pulling the fibers back so that an end-view mirror can be inserted between two fiber end faces. An LED is then used to illuminate the fiber claddings, allowing the camera to image the fiber end.


Click to Enlarge

Multi-Stage Splicing Configuration

Once images of the fiber ends have been acquired, they are analyzed by the software and used to automatically control both linear and rotational position. The user must input information about the fiber on each side of the splice for this method to be successful, as shown in the screenshot to the right. Four parameters are required for each fiber: cladding diameter, fiber type, and two PM geometry parameters. If these parameters are not known, it is possible to directly measure them using the displayed image of the fiber end face.


Click to Enlarge

Active X-Y Alignment Scan Properties

Multi-Stage Splicing
For special applications, the software can run several splice steps in a sequence. Users can independently set the splice parameters for each step, as shown in the screenshot to the left. Alternatively, multiple independent splice files from the user's library can be executed in order. The system will then perform a complex splicing function according to the sequence of the saved splice files.

Active X-Y Alignment
The active alignment method is typically used for fiber that has a high core eccentricity. In this case, standard imaging methods cannot always ensure proper alignment of the fiber cores. Instead, the cores are aligned using the output from an optical power meter as feedback to maximize the power transmission between the two fibers. This is done by scanning one fiber across the other with a given scan step size and taking a power meter reading at each position. At the end of the scan, the fiber is moved back to the position at which the optical power was either maximized or minimized. Parameters for this scan, such as step size and fiber offset position, can be set within the software to ensure accurate alignment, as shown in the image to the right.

Product Demonstrations

Thorlabs has demonstration facilitates for the Vytran™ fiber glass processing systems offered on this page within our Morganville, New Jersey and Exeter, Devonshire offices. We invite you to schedule a visit to see these products in operation and to discuss the various options with a fiber processing specialist. Please schedule a demonstration at one of our locations below by contacting technical support. We welcome the opportunity for personal interaction during your visit!

Thorlabs Vytran Europe
Exeter, United Kingdom

2 Kew Court
Exeter EX2 5AZ
United Kingdom

Appointment Scheduling and Customer Support

Thorlabs' Exeter Office
Click to Enlarge

Thorlabs Vytran USA
Morganville, New Jersey, USA

1400 Campus Dr
Morganville, NJ 07751
USA

Appointment Scheduling and Customer Support

Thorlabs' Morganville Office
Click to Enlarge


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Filament Fusion Splicer for Standard, Large-Diameter, and Specialty Optical Fiber

Components Included

  • Fusion Splicer System
  • FTAV4 Graphite Filament Assembly (Ø125 µm - Ø600 µm Cladding) Pre-Installed (Additional Filaments Sold Below)
  • Desktop Computer with Monitor, Keyboard, and Mouse
  • Software Interface with Example Splice Files
  • Vacuum Pump for Bottom Inserts
  • Universal Power Supply (See Specs Tab for Details)
  • Regulator for Argon Gas Tank with CGA-580 and DIN 477 Number 6 Connectors
  • 1/8" Teflon Tube for Argon Gas
  • 9-Pin D-Sub RS-232 Communication Cable
  • 6-Pin IEEE-1394 Firewire Camera Cable
  • Tool Kit with Hex Keys for Filament/Insert Replacement

Must be Purchased Separately

  • Additional Filament Assemblies
  • Fiber Holder Top Inserts (Two Required)
  • Fiber Holder Bottom Inserts (Two Required)
  • Transfer Clamp and Graphite Tips (Required for Use with Transfer Bottom Inserts)
  • >99.999% Purity Argon Gas Tank (Not Available from Thorlabs)
  • Optional Ultrasonic Cleaner
  • Splice Optical Fibers with Cladding Diameters from 125 µm to 1.25 mm
  • Filament Fusion with Fire Polishing for Maximum Splice Strength
  • Side and End-View Imaging with Automatic Fiber Alignment
  • Thermally Diffuse Fiber Cores and Produce Mode Field Adapters

Thorlabs' Vytran Filament Fusion Splicer for Standard, Large-Diameter, and Specialty Optical Fiber uses filament fusion technology to perform high-quality splicing of optical fibers with cladding diameters from 125 µm to 1.25 mm. The system consists of a filament-based heater, a stepper motor motion control system, a fiber imaging system, and a desktop computer. It is capable of splicing standard optical fiber as well as polarization-maintaining, photonic crystal, non-circular, and other specialty fibers. In addition, the system is capable of thermally expanding fiber cores and producing mode field adapters.

A selection of accessories is necessary to perform fusion splicing operations with this system. The system is shipped with one graphite filament assembly installed to splice fibers with Ø125 µm to Ø600 µm claddings. Additional graphite and iridium filament assemblies for more cladidng sizes are sold separately below. Two top inserts and two bottom inserts (sold below) are also required. In addition, a Transfer Clamp and Graphite V-Groove (sold below) are required for the use of trasfer bottom inserts that allow multiple Vytran systems to be used together. A tank of argon gas with a purity >99.999% is also necessary and must be purchased from a third-party supplier. Please see the information below to determine the required accessories for your application. Installation and training by one of our application engineers is recommended for this system; please contact tech support for more details.

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available / Ships
LFS4100 Support Documentation
LFS4100Vytran Filament Fusion Splicer for Standard, Large-Diameter, and Specialty Fiber
$48,200.00
Today

Additional Filament Assemblies

Filament Assembly Specifications
Item # Filament
Material
Fiber Cladding Diameter (Min / Max)
FTAV2 Graphite 80 µm / 250 µm
FTAV4 125 µm / 600 µm
FTAV5 250 µm / 1000 µm
FTAV6 400 µm / 1300 µm
FRAV1 Iridium ≤200 µm
FRAV3 ≤400 µm
FRAV5 250 µm / 1050 µm
  • Graphite and Iridium Filament Assemblies (One FTAV4 Graphite Filament Pre-Installed in System)
  • Assembly Includes Filament Element and Protective Shroud
  • Optimized for Splicing Applications (See Table to the Right for Details)
  • Filaments Also Compatible with GPX3400, GPX3600, GPX3800GPX3850, and GPX4000LZ Glass Processing Systems

Filament Assemblies contain a graphite or iridium omega-shaped resistive heating element encased within a protective shroud. Graphite filaments are capable of achieving the high temperatures necessary for splicing large-diameter fibers, making them ideal for most applications. Iridium filaments operate at slightly lower temperatures than graphite filaments, making these ideal for working with softer glass fibers. The filaments have an approximate operation lifetime of 40 minutes, which depends on a number of factors such as argon quality, splice duration, and fiber glass quality.

Thorlabs offers a selection of four graphite and two iridium filaments that are optimized for splicing fibers with cladding diameters up to 1300 µm. The filaments sold here are also compatible with the GPX3400, GPX3600, GPX3800GPX3850, GPX4000LZ Glass Processing Systems.

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available / Ships
FTAV2 Support Documentation
FTAV2Graphite Filament Assembly, Ø80 µm - Ø250 µm Cladding
$572.00
Today
FTAV4 Support Documentation
FTAV4Graphite Filament Assembly, Ø125 µm - Ø600 µm Cladding
$572.00
Today
FTAV5 Support Documentation
FTAV5Graphite Filament Assembly, Ø250 µm - Ø1000 µm Cladding
$572.00
Today
FTAV6 Support Documentation
FTAV6Graphite Filament Assembly, Ø400 µm - Ø1300 µm Cladding
$572.00
Today
FRAV1 Support Documentation
FRAV1Iridium Filament Assembly, ≤Ø200 µm Cladding
$572.00
Today
FRAV3 Support Documentation
FRAV3Iridium Filament Assembly, ≤Ø400 µm Cladding
$572.00
Today
FRAV5 Support Documentation
FRAV5Iridium Filament Assembly, Ø250 µm - Ø1050 µm Cladding
$572.00
Today

Fiber Holder Top Inserts - Two Required

Fiber Holder Top Inserts
Item # Side 1 Accepted Diameter
(Min / Max)
Side 2 Accepted Diameter
(Min / Max)
VHB00a 57 µm / 759 µmb N/A
VHB05a 410 µm / 1008 µm 560 µm / 1269 µm
VHA00 57 µm / 759 µmb 275 µm / 970 µm
VHA05 410 µm / 1008 µm 560 µm / 1269 µm
VHA10 812 µm / 1515 µm 1036 µm / 1770 µm
VHA15 1288 µm / 2022 µm 1534 µm / 2268 µm
VHA20 1772 µm / 2505 µm 2032 µm / 2944 µm
VHA25 2278 µm / 3029 µm N/A
VHA30 2609 µm / 3198 µm N/A
  • The VHB00 and VHB05 top inserts are equipped with an indent for LED illumination of the fiber end faces.
  • One side of the VHA00 and VHB00 top inserts is flat to provide additional clamping force for fibers with very small diameters.
  • Top Inserts for Fiber Holding Blocks (Two Required)
  • Compatible with Cladding or Buffer Diameters from 57 µm to 3.198 mm (See the Fiber Holder Inserts Tab for Information on Choosing Inserts)
  • Single-Sided and Double-Sided Inserts Available (See Table to the Right for Details)
  • End-View Illumination Inserts (VHB00 and VHB05) Available for Automated Glass Processors and Splicing Systems
  • Compatible with FPS300 Fiber Preparation Station, LDC Series of Fiber Cleavers, GPX3400, GPX3600, GPX3800GPX3850, and GPX4000LZ Glass Processing Systems, and LFS4100 Splicer

The LFS4100 fusion splicer requires Fiber Holder Inserts to be placed in the fiber holding blocks in order to clamp the fibers during the splicing process. These top inserts sit in the lid of the fiber holding blocks and come in a variety of groove sizes. They can be used to clamp the cladding, coating, or buffer of a fiber. The top inserts and bottom inserts (sold below) can be paired in a variety of combinations to accommodate all fiber sizes compatible with the LFS4100 splicer, as described on the Fiber Holder Inserts tab above. Multiple combinations of top and bottom inserts may be required to accommodate all sizes of fiber to be spliced.

There are two types of top inserts that are compatible with the LFS4100 fusion splicer. The standard top inserts (Item #'s starting with VHA) come in single-sided and double-sided versions; the specified fiber diameter (in µm) is engraved on the part. These top inserts cannot be used for end-view imaging. They are, however, compatible with the FPS300 Fiber Preparation Station, LDC Series of Fiber Cleavers, and GPX Glass Processing Systems. For end-view imaging and alignment, an insert with an indent for LED illumination (VHB00 or VHB05) is required. This mode of operation allows for alignment of the cores of polarization-maintaining, eccentric-core, and microstructured specialty fibers. These LED illumination inserts are also compatible with the GPX Series of Glass Processing Systems.

While the LFS4100 can only splice fibers with cladding diameters from Ø125 µm up to Ø1.25 mm, these inserts can accommodate a wider range of outer diameters. This extended range is necessary because the fibers can be clamped on the coating or buffer instead of the cladding.

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available / Ships
VHB00 Support Documentation
VHB00Fiber Holder Top Insert with LED Illumination Indent, Ø57 µm - Ø759 µm
$169.00
Today
VHB05 Support Documentation
VHB05Dual-Sided Fiber Holder Top Insert with LED Illumination Indent, Ø410 µm - Ø1269 µm
$169.00
Today
VHA00 Support Documentation
VHA00Dual-Sided Fiber Holder Top Insert, Ø57 µm - Ø970 µm
$159.00
Today
VHA05 Support Documentation
VHA05Dual-Sided Fiber Holder Top Insert, Ø410 µm - Ø1269 µm
$159.00
Today
VHA10 Support Documentation
VHA10Dual-Sided Fiber Holder Top Insert, Ø812 µm - Ø1770 µm
$159.00
Today
VHA15 Support Documentation
VHA15Dual-Sided Fiber Holder Top Insert, Ø1288 µm - Ø2268 µm
$159.00
Today
VHA20 Support Documentation
VHA20Dual-Sided Fiber Holder Top Insert, Ø1772 µm - Ø2944 µm
$159.00
Today
VHA25 Support Documentation
VHA25Fiber Holder Top Insert, Ø2278 µm - Ø3029 µm
$159.00
Today
VHA30 Support Documentation
VHA30Fiber Holder Top Insert, Ø2609 µm - Ø3198 µm
$159.00
Today

Fiber Holder Bottom Inserts - Two Required

Fiber Holder Bottom Inserts
Item # Side 1 Accepted Diameter
(Min / Max)
Side 2 Accepted Diameter
(Min / Max)
VHF160 112 µm / 208 µm N/A
VHF250 177 µm / 320 µm N/A
VHF400 279 µm / 519 µm N/A
VHF500 346 µm / 795 µm N/A
VHF750 516 µm / 1047 µm N/A
VHE10 773 µm / 1271 µm 1034 µm / 1523 µm
VHE15 1280 µm / 1769 µm 1534 µm / 2007 µm
VHE20 1787 µm / 2267 µm 2033 µm / 2513 µm
VHE25 2270 µm / 2844 µm N/A
VHE30 2692 µm / 3198 µm N/A
  • Bottom Inserts for Fiber Holding Blocks (Two Required)
  • Compatible with Fiber Cladding or Buffer Diameters from 112 µm to 3.198 mm
    (See the Fiber Holder Inserts Tab for Information on Choosing Inserts)
  • Transfer Inserts for Fiber Diameters ≤1047 µm
  • Standard Single-Sided and Dual-Sided Inserts for Diameters >773 µm (See Table to the Right for Details)
  • Compatible with FPS300 Fiber Preparation Station, LDC Series of Fiber Cleavers, GPX3400, GPX3600, GPX3800, GPX3850, and GPX4000LZ Glass Processing Systems, and LFS4100 Splicer

The LFS4100 fusion splicer requires Fiber Holder Inserts to be placed in the fiber holding blocks in order to clamp the fibers during the splicing process. These inserts sit in the bottom section of the fiber holding blocks and come in a variety of groove sizes. They can be used to clamp the cladding, coating, or buffer of the fiber. The top inserts (sold above) and bottom inserts can be paired in a variety of combinations to accommodate all fiber sizes compatible with the LFS4100 splicer, as described on the Fiber Holder Inserts tab above. Multiple combinations of top and bottom inserts may be required to accommodate all sizes of fiber to be spliced.

There are two types of bottom inserts that are compatible with the LFS4100 fusion splicer. The bottom inserts for fibers with cladding or buffer diameters up to 1.047 mm (indicated with Item #'s starting with VHF) are transfer inserts; they allow for a single fiber to be transferred between the Vytran FPS300 Fiber Preparation Station, LDC400 Series of Fiber Cleavers, and LFS4100 Splicer without loss of positional reference. For example, a fiber can be placed in a transfer insert and cleaved using the LDC400 cleaver. Then, the entire transfer insert can be placed in the LFS4100, and it will already be roughly aligned for splicing. This process works because the transfer inserts are precisely located within each Vytran system and the VHT1 magnetic lid (sold below) on the transfer inserts prevents axial movement of the fiber during transport. These transfer inserts include 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); the transfer inserts for diameters ≤550 µm also require a Graphite V-Groove (sold below).

Fiber Holder Bottom Inserts for larger cladding or buffer diameters (indicated with Item #'s starting with VHE) come in single-sided and double-sided versions; the specified fiber diameter (in µm) is engraved on the part. These bottom inserts can also be used in the FPS300 Fiber Preparation Station, LDC Series of Fiber Cleavers, and GPX Glass Processing Systems. Positional reference of the fibers will not be maintained when these inserts are transferred between systems.

While the LFS4100 can only splice fibers with cladding diameters from Ø125 µm up to Ø1.25 mm, these inserts can accommodate a wider range of outer diameters. This extended range is necessary because the fibers can be clamped on the coating or buffer instead of the cladding.

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available / Ships
VHF160 Support Documentation
VHF160Fiber Holder Transfer Bottom Insert, Ø112 µm - Ø208 µm
$296.00
Today
VHF250 Support Documentation
VHF250Fiber Holder Transfer Bottom Insert, Ø177 µm - Ø320 µm
$296.00
Today
VHF400 Support Documentation
VHF400Fiber Holder Transfer Bottom Insert, Ø279 µm - Ø519 µm
$296.00
Today
VHF500 Support Documentation
VHF500Fiber Holder Transfer Bottom Insert, Ø346 µm - Ø795 µm
$296.00
Today
VHF750 Support Documentation
VHF750Fiber Holder Transfer Bottom Insert, Ø516 µm - Ø1047 µm
$296.00
Today
VHE10 Support Documentation
VHE10Dual-Sided Fiber Holder Bottom Insert, Ø773 µm - Ø1523 µm
$199.00
Today
VHE15 Support Documentation
VHE15Dual-Sided Fiber Holder Bottom Insert, Ø1280 µm - Ø2007 µm
$199.00
Today
VHE20 Support Documentation
VHE20Dual-Sided Fiber Holder Bottom Insert, Ø1787 µm - Ø2513 µm
$199.00
Today
VHE25 Support Documentation
VHE25Fiber Holder Bottom Insert, Ø2270 µm - Ø2844 µm
$199.00
Today
VHE30 Support Documentation
VHE30Fiber Holder Bottom Insert, Ø2692 µm - Ø3198 µm
$199.00
Today

Fiber Transfer Clamp and Graphite Tips - Required for Transfer Bottom Inserts

Fiber Transfer Insert Graphite V-Groove Tipsa
Item # Accepted Diameter
(Min / Max)
VHG125L 80 µm / 125 µm
VHG200 150 µm / 200 µm
VHG250 200 µm / 250 µm
VHG300 250 µm / 300 µm
VHG350 300 µm / 350 µm
VHG400 350 µm / 400 µm
VHG450 400 µm / 450 µm
VHG500 450 µm / 500 µm
VHG550 500 µm / 550 µm
  • Graphite V-Grooves Are Not Required for Fibers with Diameters ≥550 µm

These Fiber Transfer Components are used with the Fiber Holder Transfer Bottom Inserts sold above, which allow for a single fiber to be transferred between various Vytran systems without loss of positional reference. The VHT1 Transfer Clamp secures fibers within the transfer inserts; it is required for their use. Transfer inserts that accept cladding or buffer diameters ≤550 µm also require Graphite V-Groove tips, which help to support fibers during splicing. The table to the right gives the range of diameters compatible with each V-groove. These tips are compatible with the FPS300, LDC400, LDC400A, GPX3400, GPX3600, GPX3800GPX3850, and GPX4000LZ Vytran systems in addition to the LFS4100 splicer.

Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available / Ships
VHT1 Support Documentation
VHT1Transfer Clamp with Magnetic Lid for Fiber Holder Transfer Inserts
$230.00
Today
VHG125L Support Documentation
VHG125LExtended Graphite V-Groove, Ø80 µm - Ø125 µm, 0.594" Length
$143.00
Today
VHG200 Support Documentation
VHG200Graphite V-Groove, Ø150 µm - Ø200 µm, 0.313" Length
$133.00
Today
VHG250 Support Documentation
VHG250Graphite V-Groove, Ø200 µm - Ø250 µm, 0.313" Length
$133.00
Today
VHG300 Support Documentation
VHG300Graphite V-Groove, Ø250 µm - Ø300 µm, 0.313" Length
$133.00
Today
VHG350 Support Documentation
VHG350Graphite V-Groove, Ø300 µm - Ø350 µm, 0.313" Length
$133.00
Today
VHG400 Support Documentation
VHG400Graphite V-Groove, Ø350 µm - Ø400 µm, 0.313" Length
$133.00
Today
VHG450 Support Documentation
VHG450Graphite V-Groove, Ø400 µm - Ø450 µm, 0.313" Length
$133.00
Today
VHG500 Support Documentation
VHG500Graphite V-Groove, Ø450 µm - Ø500 µm, 0.313" Length
$133.00
Today
VHG550 Support Documentation
VHG550Graphite V-Groove, Ø500 µm - Ø550 µm, 0.313" Length
$133.00
Today

Ultrasonic Cleaner - Optional

USC1 Ultrasonic Cleaner Specifications
Outside Dimensions
(L x W x H)
5.25" x 4.25" x 5.00"
(133.4 mm x 108.0 mm x 127.0 mm)
Tank Capacity 530 mL (18 fl oz.)
Tank Dimensions
(L x W x H)
4.75" x 3.38" x 2.63"
(120.7 mm x 85.9 mm x 66.8 mm)
Peak Output Power 22 W
Peak Output Frequency 55 kHz
Operating Current 0.2 A
Operating Voltage 117 VAC @ 50/60 Hz
Weight 5 lbs (2.27 kg)

Click to Enlarge
USC1 with Two Beakers (Included) for Two-Step Cleaning Process
  • Generates Ultrasonic Waves at 55 kHz with 22 W Power for Cleaning Small Components
  • Two 80 mL Beakers for Holding Samples and Solvents During Cleaning
  • Included Foot Pedal Allows for Hands-Free Operation

The USC1 Ultrasonic Cleaner is a self-contained, compact device that uses ultrasonic waves to clean small components. It produces waves with a peak power of 22 W and a frequency of 55 kHz. The 530 mL tank is filled with a liquid, usually water. A foot pedal that is plugged into the electrical cord offers hands-free operation. 

For cleaning components with solvents, Thorlabs recommends holding the solvent in the beakers within the cleaner as shown in the image to the right. This method allows the user to clean the sample in a solvent, then follow immediately with a rinsing step in the other beaker. 

Please note that the USC1 includes a power cord for US-style outlets and requires 117 VAC to operate. There is no 230 V equivalent at this time.
Based on your currency / country selection, your order will ship from Newton, New Jersey  
+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available / Ships
USC1 Support Documentation
USC1Compact Ultrasonic Cleaner with Foot Pedal Switch
$638.00
Today
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