Chemical etching of optical fibre tips - experiment and model

B.A.F. Puygranier, Paul Dawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


The formation of chemically etched fibre tips for use in optical scanning probe microscopy is addressed. For tips formed at a cleaved fibre end in the bulk of a buffered HF acid solution the morphological features (tip height, cone angle) are found to depend strongly on the temperature and etchant composition. The tip formation process is analysed and explained in terms of a simple model in which the only pertinent physical parameters are the fibre core diameter and etch rates of the fibre core and cladding. The etch rates are determined in separate experiments as a function of temperature (in the range 24-50 degreesC) for etchant solutions of de ionised water: 50% HF acid: 40% NH4F in the volume ratio 1 : 1 : X for X=2, 4 and 6, and used in the model to yield a correct description of the experimental tip cone angles. The model is successfully extended to the intriguing case of negative tip formation which initiates in a normal, positive tip structure. By contrast, tip formation in the meniscus region of a bare fibre/etchant/organic solvent system is found to be independent of etchant composition and temperature. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-248
Number of pages14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Instrumentation


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