In this paper the delivery of high power Er:YAG laser pulses through a silica hollow core photonic crystal fibre is demonstrated. The Er:YAG wavelength of 2.94 µm is well beyond the normal transmittance of bulk silica but the unique hollow core guidance allows silica to guide in this regime. We have demonstrated for the first time the ability to deliver high energy pulses through an all-silica fibre at 2.94 µm. These silica fibres are mechanically and chemically robust, biocompatible and have low sensitivity to bending. A maximum pulse energy of 14 mJ at 2.94 µm was delivered through the fibre. This, to our knowledge, is the first time a silica hollow core photonic crystal fibre has been shown to transmit 2.94 µm laser light at a fluence exceeding the thresholds required for modification (e.g. cutting and drilling) of hard biological tissue. Consequently, laser delivery systems based on these fibres have the potential for the realization of novel, minimally-invasive surgical procedures.
Urich, A., Maier, R. R. J., Mangan, B. J., Renshaw, S., Knight, J. C., Hand, D. P., & Shephard, J. D. (2012). Delivery of high energy Er:YAG pulsed laser light at 2.94µm through a silica hollow core photonic crystal fibre. Optics Express, 20(6), 6677-6684. https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.20.006677