Optical EngineeringSculpted optical silica fiber tips for use in Nd:YAG contact tip laser surgery: part 1--fabrication techniques
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The development of sapphire tips, coupled to the distal end of silica fibers, introduced the use of a new surgical power delivery system known as contact tip surgery. An alternative medium to sapphire tips is the use of silica optical fibers with molded distal ends. We investigated a number of possible approaches for the fabrication of a variety of distal end configurations on silica fibers using an oxy-propane gas torch, arc fusion, Nd:YAG radiation, and CO2 radiation. We fabricated seven silica contact tips that included a clear and frosted microlens, a clear and frosted ball lens, a clear and frosted conical lens, and a flat end lens. The most reliable method found to fabricate silica contact tips used a CO2 laser because it offered complete control over the manufacturing process.