Printed freeform lens arrays on multi-core fibers for highly efficient coupling in astrophotonic systems

Opt Express. 2017 Jul 24;25(15):18288-18295. doi: 10.1364/OE.25.018288.


Coupling of light into multi-core fibers (MCF) for spatially resolved spectroscopy is of great importance to astronomical instrumentation. To achieve high coupling efficiencies along with fill-fractions close to unity, micro-optical elements are required to concentrate the incoming light to the individual cores of the MCF. In this paper we demonstrate facet-attached lens arrays (LA) fabricated by two-photon polymerization. The LA provide close to 100% fill-fraction along with efficiencies of up to 73% (down to 1.4 dB loss) for coupling of light from free space into an MCF core. We show the viability of the concept for astrophotonic applications by integrating an MCF-LA assembly in an adaptive-optics test bed and by assessing its performance as a tip/tilt sensor.