Franklin, TN - 3SAE Technologies has developed one of the first-ever automated ball lensing stations that quickly and accurately creates fiber optic "ball lenses" - rounded-edge fiber cleaves for use in precision laser technologies.
Traditionally, fiber ball lenses are produced using a manual fusion splicing process. 3SAE’s new automated "lensing station" enables large scale production of ball lenses which are increasingly used in today’s medical lasers as well as other commercial photonics applications. One medical application in particular is laser lithotripsy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure using fiber optic lasers for the removal of impacted kidney stones.
3SAE’s ball lensing station features the company’s patented Ring of Fire® three-electrode system for superior thermal uniformity during fiber processing and a unique vertical fiber mounting system to achieve precise dimensional tolerances every time. The image processing software package allows the operator to view the progress of the fiber in process. Automatic measurement software allows "one-button" style operation for high-yield production for multiple parameters, resulting in lens formation for a wide range of fiber diameters, ranging from 125 to 600 µm.
About the size of a desktop PC tower, the Lens Forming Station has software that functions in two modes: "ball" and "flash." The ball mode produces the desired ball or lens diameter. The flash mode executes a number of arc cycles to cause a subtle rounding of the edges of the cleaved fiber. An automated pass/fail alert, based upon the pre-set target diameter and threshold limits, is provided once the fiber processing is complete.