Proceedings PaperHermetic optical fiber penetrators for aquatic environments
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The primary purpose of fiber optic penetrators is to provide a safe and reliable optical path through a hermetic barrier. The penetrators must resist pressure, humidity, corrosion, and maintain optical and mechanical integrity. Many optical fiber penetrators are manufactured from a combination of epoxies and application of a physical pressure seal onto the fiber. While providing a short term solution, epoxy lacks long term hermetic protection. Physical force applied to the fiber from a pressure seal may affect the refractive index of the optical cladding in soft and hard clad silica fibers. This presentation describes methods to provide a positive hermetic seal to a variety of optical fibers. These penetrators do not use lenses, prisms, or other conventional optical relay systems. Penetrators are intrinsically radiation hard and offer the convenience of providing a standard connector interface on one or both sides of the device. Examples of aquatic and high vacuum penetrators are presented. Application for this technology spans fiber geometry from single mode to large core step index fibers. Uses include communications and high energy transmission. This technology also is applicable to fiber based sensors.