First demonstrated over four decades ago, fiber gratings, and in particular fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs), have become indispensable and ubiquitous components within fiber laser cavities as well as optical communication networks and sensor systems. Because of their overwhelming use, the bulk of published work to date has concentrated on fibers that are composed of silica-based glasses, yet those become virtually opaque at wavelengths above 2 μm, i.e., in the technically increasingly important mid-infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Soft glass fluoride fibers on the other hand, in particular those composed of ZBLAN (abbreviation for ZrF4-BaF2-LaF3-AlF3-NaF), offer low-loss transmission out to wavelengths of up to almost 4 μm. However, while fiber manufacturing itself has now reached a high level of maturity, with passive fiber attenuation levels as low as 1 dB/km becoming commercially available, grating fabrication in these fibers remains challenging, and research into suitable inscription techniques is still a very active and ongoing scientific field. This review aims to provide an overview of work that has been done in this area to date with an emphasis on femtosecond-laser based fabrication methods.
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- femtosecond laser fabrication
- fiber Bragg gratings
- Fiber gratings
- fluoride fibers
- Long period gratings