Principle of operation
The effect of physically bending an optical fibre around a cylindrical form is to slightly modify the effective refractive index in the curved region, which locally reduces the effective mode volume of the fibre. This causes optical power in the highest order modes to become unguided, or so weakly guided as to be released into an unbound state, absorbed by the fiber coating or completely ejected from the fibre. The practical effect of mandrel wrapping is to attenuate optical power propagating in the highest order modes. Lower order modes are unaffected, experiencing neither increased loss nor conversion into other modes (mode mixing).
Determination of appropriate mandrel wrap conditions
The mandrel diameter and number of turns are chosen to eliminate certain modes in a reproducible way. It is empirically observed that more than 5 full 360 degree wraps creates little additional loss, so 3 to 5 turns are commonly specified. The mandrel diameter affects how far into the mode volume the modal unbinding occurs. Experimentally, one plots the transmitted power from a wrapped fibre into which a uniform modal power distribution has been excited, as a function of mandrel diameter, maintaining a constant number of turns. This reveals step-like reductions in transmitted power as the diameter decreases, where each step is the point at which the mandrel is beginning to affect the next-lower mode group. For best measurement reproducibility, one would select a diameter that is not near such a transition, although this may not be possible if measurements must be performed over a range of wavelengths. Total mode volume in a fiber is a function of wavelength, so the mandrel diameter at which the mode group transitions occur will change with wavelength.
Fluke Networks: Using Mandrels for Testing Multimode Fiber
Categories: Fiber opticsHidden categories: Wikipedia articles incorporating text from the Federal Standard 1037C