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Nondestructive Profilometry of Optical Nanofibers

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journal contribution
posted on 10.11.2016, 00:00 by Lars S. Madsen, Christopher Baker, Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop, Warwick P. Bowen
Single-mode optical nanofibers are a central component of a broad range of applications and emerging technologies. Their fabrication has been extensively studied over the past decade, but imaging of the final submicrometer products has been restricted to destructive or low-precision techniques. Here, we demonstrate an optical scattering-based scanning method that uses a probe nanofiber to locally scatter the evanescent field of a sample nanofibre. The method does not damage the sample nanofiber and is easily implemented by only using the same equipment as in a standard fiber-puller setup. We demonstrate the subnanometer radial resolution at video rates (0.7 nm in 10 ms) on single mode nanofibers, allowing for a complete high-precision profile to be obtained within minutes of fabrication. The method thus enables nondestructive, fast, and precise characterization of optical nanofibers, with applications ranging from optical sensors and cold atom traps to nonlinear optics.