Fusion splicing is the process of permanently joining two optical fibers together by melting the core of the fibers together. It is the preferred method of connecting fibers for high-performance applications such as long distance telecommunications, data networks, and cable television. Fusion splicing is used to join two fibers together that are made from the same type of material and have similar core diameters. The process involves the use of specialized tools, such as a fusion splicer and cleaver, and takes place in a clean environment.
The fusion splicing process begins by stripping away the protective coating from each fiber with a stripping tool. This exposes the bare glass core and cladding layers, which are then cleaved to create a perfectly flat, perpendicular endface. The fusion splicer then aligns the two fibers and uses an electric arc or laser to fuse them together. This generates heat, which melts the glass core and cladding layers, creating a permanent bond. The splicing process also involves the removal of any contaminants or impurities that could cause signal loss or scattering.
Once the splicing process is complete, the fusion splicer uses a visual microscope to inspect the splice. The splicing process must be done carefully and precisely in order to ensure that the signal strength is not compromised. Fusion splicing is typically used for long-distance connections, as it provides the highest signal strength and lowest optical loss of any splicing method. It is also the most reliable and durable method for connecting fibers, as it provides a permanent connection that is not susceptible to environmental factors or movement.