Silica Fibre Fabrication Facility

The silica glass fabrication facility extends the research capability at IPAS and opens new opportunities as well as enhancing the range of applications for speciality silica fibres from photonics research in new lasers, telecommunications devices, nonlinear optics, sensing, electro-optic devices, to applications led research in industrial machining and medical treatments.

This multi-million dollar facility located at the North Terrace and Thebarton Campuses of The University of Adelaide is staffed by world class glass fibre formulation and fabrication experts – it represents a state-of-the-art silica glass fabrication facility that further extends IPAS capabilities and opens new opportunities for Australian researchers within these fields.

The North Terrace Silica Preform Facility comprises silica preform production via Extrusion, Stacking and Ultrasonic milling and drilling equipment. The Thebarton Silica Fibre Drawing Facility houses a 6-meter fibre drawing tower and a glass working lathe with hydrogen burner.

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  • Preform Manufacture

    The facility includes silica preform manufacture via Extrusion, Stacking (in a dedicated HEPA filtered room), and Ultrasonic milling and drilling. In addition there is a glass working lathe with a hydrogen burner for preform preparation. 

  • Glass and fibre characterisation

    Additional equipment available within the IPAS glass fibre manufacturing facilities for the characterisation of both soft and silica glass, preforms and fibres include specialised microscopes including a SNOM/AFM.

  • Scanning near field and atomic force microscope (SNOM/AFM)

    The SNOM/AFM part can run in collection or transmission mode, and is equipped with an IR detector and an in-built red laser. This equipment is available for both fibre characterisation and other applications.

  • Glass fibres surface functionalisation

    Surface functionalization takes a material whose surface chemistry is dictated by that material's surface composition and surface properties, and attaches to it specific chemical functional groups, or biochemical functionalities, to impart tailored physical, chemical, or biochemical properties to that material's surface. For example, a material’s optical properties can be changed, or the introduction of specific functional groups to react in controlled ways with molecules in fluids. It can also include the introduction of receptors for adding chemical or biochemical specificity to a sensor surface. Bulk glass, planar wave guides and fibre surfaces can be functionalised, both internally and externally, allowing the production for example, of novel optical based fibre sensors.

    The powerful combination of capabilities available at IPAS, coupled to its competence for synthetic and surface chemistry in the functionalisation of glass fibres, places IPAS in a unique position to offer its surface functionalisation know-how and facilities, to create new fibre-based platform technologies to underpin paradigm-changing tools for human health, the environment, industrial processes and defence systems.

  • Commercial services

    As part of the OptoFab node of the ANFF, IPAS offers a variety of commercial services from the supply of custom glasses and fibres to theoretical modelling and development of novel sensor platforms. Academic groups and companies are encouraged to contact IPAS with their specific requirements or to access our specialised equipment and services.

Key contact

Luis Lima-Marques (IPAS Laboratory Manager)
Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS)
The University of Adelaide, AUSTRALIA 5005
Telephone:  +61 (0)8 8313 0760
Facsimile  :  +61 (0)8 8303 4380
Email: luis.lima-marques@adelaide.edu.au