The development of efficient and compact photonic systems in support of mid-infrared integrated optics is currently facing several challenges. To date, most mid-infrared glass-based devices are employing fluoride or chalcogenide glasses (FCGs). Although the commercialization of FCGs-based optical devices has rapidly grown during the last decade, their development is rather cumbersome due to either poor crystallization and hygroscopicity resilience or poor mechanical-thermal properties of the FCGs. To overcome these issues, the parallel development of heavy-metal oxide optical fiber from the barium-germanium-gallium oxide vitreous system (BGG) has revealed a promising alternative. However, over 30 years of fiber fabrication optimization, the final missing step of drawing BGG fibers with acceptable losses for meters-long active and passive optical devices had not yet been reached. In this article, we first identify the three most important factors that prevent the fabrication of low-loss BGG fibers i.e., surface quality, volumic striae and glass thermal-darkening. Each of the three factors is then addressed in setting up a protocol enabling the fabrication of low-loss optical fibers from gallium-rich BGG glass compositions. Accordingly, to the best of our knowledge, we report the lowest losses ever measured in a BGG glass fiber i.e., down to 200 dB km-1 at 1350 nm.
© 2023. The Author(s).