PEEK is a well-characterized thermoplastic routinely used in engineering applications due to its physical and mechanical robustness and chemical resistance. PEEK is commonly applied to optical fiber to increase the fiber’s durability in harsh environments. Significant challenges, however, have been encountered when coating PEEK onto optical fiber including physical stresses to the fiber as the coating cools. Optical fibers are susceptible to these stresses such as compression, bends, and other deformations which negatively affect fiber transmission.
To evaluate the utility and performance of PEEK coated optical fibers and Zeus’ coating process, Zeus, in conjunction with Luna Innovations Incorporated, carried out testing of PEEK coated and uncoated single-mode Nufern 155 μm polyimide R1550B-P optical fiber. Testing was done to compare transmission loss between the PEEK coated optical fiber and an uncoated reference fiber in three test configurations: sub-zero thermal cycling from ambient temperature to -10 °C; elevated thermal cycling from ambient temperature to 240 °C; and testing when inducing small bend radii within the test section of the optical fiber at ambient temperature and 150 °C. The findings suggest that Zeus’ PEEK coating process did not introduce stresses or deformations into the fiber.
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