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A fiber optic splice is a permanent fiber joint whose purpose is to establish an optical connection between two individual optical fibers. System design may require that fiber connections have specific optical properties (low loss) that are met only by fiber-splicing. Fiber optic splices also permit repair of optical fibers damaged during installation, accident, or stress. System designers generally require fiber splicing whenever repeated connection or disconnection is unnecessary or unwanted.

Mechanical and fusion splicing are two broad categories that describe the techniques used for fiber splicing. A mechanical splice is a fiber splice where mechanical fixtures and materials perform fiber alignment and connection. A fusion splice is a fiber splice where localized heat fuses or melts the ends of two optical fibers together. Each splicing technique seeks to optimize splice performance and reduce splice loss. Low-loss fiber splicing results from proper fiber end preparation and alignment.

Fiber splice alignment can involve passive or active fiber core alignment. Passive alignment relies on precision reference surfaces, either grooves or cylindrical holes, to align fiber cores during splicing. Active alignment involves the use of light for accurate fiber alignment. Active alignment may consist of either monitoring the loss through the splice during splice alignment or by using a microscope to accurately align the fiber cores for splicing. To monitor loss either an optical source and optical power meter or an optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR) are used. Active alignment procedures produce low-loss fiber splices.

Q.16 Define a fiber optic splice.
Q.17 Fiber splicing is divided into two broad categories that describe the techniques used for fiber splicing. What are they?

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