Lately, we covered some exciting research being pursued by the University of Southampton relating to the utilization of 3D printing for the creation of distinctively shaped fiber optics. The truth is, a team of researchers in the University of Sydney may have been the first to create fiber optics with 3 D printing.
From the video above, you’ll see the procedure for creating optic fibers is a boring, expensive, and time-intensive one. A long glass tube is heated to the stage that germanium and silica particles are formed within, eventually forming a preform to make an individual fiber. This preform is subsequently placed vertically in a specialized heating mechanism which allows the glass to drip right into a thread that is very fine. The thread is then weighted stretching the fiber to its desired thinness. Finally, to create a fiber optic cable, which communicates data via light, these individual fibers are piled together in a hexagonal pattern. The material, too, is restricted, although all this, as you can imagine, restricts the form of a fiber optic cable. To lessen labor and the cost and increase usable stuff and the possible geometries, optics researchers are investigating new types of fabricating fiber optics. The University of Sydney has turned to 3D printing.