Process Turns Cellulose to Textile Fiber
The researchers were able to transmit light through an optical fiber made from cellulose. Although it cannot compete with glass-based telecommunications counterparts, it opens up new possibilities for sensor and sensor applications..
First, a team of scientists from the Finnish State Technical Research Center VTT made a core from cellulose modified with special ionic solvents, which was then coated with a cellulose acetate shell..
The core is surrounded by a material with a lower refractive index, so light is propagated and trapped in the fiber, reflected from the interface between the core and the cladding.
According to the team, R&D is still in its infancy, so all potential applications of the new fiber are still unknown. However, scientists have already managed to increase the attenuation of light transmitted in the fiber by several orders of magnitude..
The prepared optical fiber directed the light in the range of 500–1400 nm. Attenuation constant was 6.3 dB / cm at 1300 nm.
The main advantage of the new fiber is that the material used itself can react with substances and absorb them. Cellulose is also easy to modify, for example in terms of refractive index, and it efficiently absorbs and releases water as indicated by changes in transmitted light. In addition, the material is biodegradable, so the fiber can be disposed of with bio-waste..
Researchers have already used it successfully to measure moisture levels..
We also previously reported that scientists have turned an undersea fiber optic cable into a seismograph..
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: VTT