Abstract Transmission efficiency (TE) and focal ratio degradation (FRD) are two important parameters for evaluating the quality of an optical fiber system used for astronomy. Compared to TE, the focal ratio is more easily influenced by external factors, such as bending or stress. Optical cables are widely implemented for multi-object telescopes and integral field units (IFUs). The design and fabrication process of traditional optical cables seldom considers the requirements of astronomical applications. In this paper, we describe a fiber bundle structure as the basic unit for miniaturized high-density FASOT-IFU optical cables, instead of the micro-tube structure in stranded cables. Seven fibers with hexagonal arrangement were accurately positioned by ultraviolet (UV)-curing acrylate to form the bundle. The coating diameter of a fiber is 0.125 mm, and the outer diameter of the bundle is 0.58 mm. Compared with the 0.8 mm micro-tube structure of a traditional stranded cable, the outer diameter of the fiber bundle was reduced by 27.5%. Fiber paste was filled into the bundle to reduce stress between the fibers. We tested the output focal ratio (OFR) in 95% of the encircled energy (EE95) of the fibers in the bundle under different conditions. With the incident focal ratio F/8, the maximum difference of OFR is 0.6. In particular, when the incident focal ratio is F/5, the maximum difference of OFR is only 0.1. The jacket formed by the UV-curing acrylate can withstand a certain stress of less than 1.38 N mm−1. The fiber bundle can maintain uniform emitting characteristics with a bending radius of 7.5 cm and with tension less than 6 N. The test results show that the structure of the fiber bundle can be used as a basic unit for miniaturized high-density astronomical optical cables.
Keywords instrumentation: spectrographs — techniques: imaging spectroscopy — techniques: spectro- scopic — methods: miscellaneous
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