Fibers are among the earliest forms of human expression, yet surprisingly have remained unchanged from ancient to modern times. Can fibers become highly functional devices? Can they See, Hear, Sense and Communicate? Our research focuses on extending the frontiers of fiber materials from optical transmission to encompass electronic, optoelectronic and even acoustic properties. What makes our fibers unique is the combination of a multiplicity of disparate materials arranged in elaborate geometries with features down to 10 nanometers. Two complementary approaches towards realizing sophisticated functions are utilized: on the single-fiber level, the integration of a multiplicity of functional components into one fiber, and on the multiple-fiber level, the assembly of large-scale fiber arrays and fabrics. Our multimaterial fibers offer unprecedented control over material properties and function on length scales spanning the nanometer to kilometer range.


Microfluidic directional emission control of an azimuthally polarized radial fibre laser

Lasers with cylindrically symmetric polarization states are predominantly based on whispering-gallery mode, characterized by high angular momentum and dominated by azimuthal emission.



Spinning new materials in a thread

Researchers at MIT have succeeded in making a fine thread that functions as a diode, a device at the heart of modern electronics. This feat — made possible by a new approach to a type of fiber manufacturing known as fiber drawing — could open up possibilities for fabricating a wide variety of electronic and photonic devices within composite fibers, using a variety of materials.



Innovation Nation: Smart Fibers

Featured video of the day for Science 360 provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF.)



Fibres get functional

New forms of advanced optical fibres featuring exotic glasses, carefully designed microstructures and cores that are either hollow, fluidic, semiconductor or piezoelectric are giving light guides a new lease of life, reports Duncan Graham-Rowe.