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Metal finishing Q&As since 1989


Fiber optic Q&A: etching, plating, cladding removal problems


Q. Can anyone recommend a process for plating electroless nickel and gold onto glass fiber optic fibers?


Ken Rosenblum
finishing shop - Minneapolis, Minnesota


A. Optic fibers are vacuum metallized first to impart conductivity to the surface and then aqueous plated.

Mandar Sunthankar
- Fort Collins, Colorado


Q. Does the glass have to be vacuum metallized? Is there an aqueous process to perform metallization?

Ken Rosenblum [returning]
finishing shop - Minneapolis, Minnesota


A. All the optical fiber metallizing in the optics industry that I know of is done with vacuum metallization and not aqueous. I'm sure there is a way to activate the surface with an aqueous solution; it all depends on what part of the fiber you are metallizing. If you are metallizing the core or cladding you will need an activation method for SiO2 or a similar ceramic (at least for most telecom fibers). If it is the shielding,you will need an activation method for PVC or polyamide. Maybe someone can suggest a method for those specific materials.

John Davis
John Davis
- Berthoud, Colorado, USA

Electroless nickel plating on fiber optic surface


Q. I am trying to make electroless nickel over a fiber optic surface (only 2 cm in length) by using Sn chloride/Pd chloride to activate the surface. It works very well in larger areas but over the fiberoptic that is only 125 microns in diameter it doesn't work well, it doesn't wet uniformly and it doesn't have adhesion.

Could someone help me with some suggestions?

Flavio Borin
CPqD - Campinas, SP, Brazil


A. Hi Flavio. The problem is probably that the fibre is not etched for good tooth and adhesion. Highly concentrated chromic acid is used on ABS and polypropylene, but I don't know if that is appropriate on your optical fibers.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

How to put zinc coating on optical fiber


Q. I wish to ask how to plate a zinc film on an optical silica fiber surface to act as the cladding of the optical fiber.

Siaw Wai San
- Malaysia

A. Hi there,

Firstly, you can plate zinc using electroless zinc plate solution (activation of the fiber previously). Then, you can plate thin zinc film using electroplating technology.

M. Geng
- Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

How to remove fiber optic cladding without damaging the core?


Dear all,

I would like to know how to remove the cladding (which is made of glass) from a optical fibre without damaging the core of the fibre.

Thank you very much.

Best Regards,

Lodge P [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Hong Kong, China

March 11, 2008

How to remove the cladding material in the optical fiber? What are some chemical solutions that I may use to remove the cladding layer in the optical fiber and leave me with the core only?

Michael Paguio
Student - Manila, Philippines

How to deposit graphite layer on optical fiber


Q. Dear All,

I want deposit a thin layer of graphite on a piece of optical fiber, but don't know how? I need your help.

Thanks for all.

Asal [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Student - Kerman, Iran


Q. Dear All,

I will coat graphite on fiberglass, but don't know how? I need your help.

Best Regards,

Malinee [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Made fiberglass for metal industry - Bangkok, Thailand

How to etch optical fiber

September 27, 2014

Q. Sir,
Please let me know how to etch plastic optical fiber or glass fiber?

Humaira Athar
CBRI - roorkee, Uttrakhand, India

May 12, 2015

Q. Dear all,

I am researching about way to plate optical glass fibre using electroless Cobalt plating (not Nickel). Is it possible to plate Cobalt onto glass fibre using electroless plating method?
I am wondering if I can use the same cleaning, etching and activation steps before using electroless Cobalt plating solution as I have done for electroless Nickel plating solution.

My fibre prep steps are:
1. NaOH clean;
2. HNO3 with ultrasound clean;
3. CrO3/H2SO4 at 60C etch;
4. SnCl2 sensitization;
5. PdCl2 activation.

Any other suggestions about fibre prep will be much appreciated.

Kind regards,

Elena Saldaeva
fibres - BRACKNELL, UK

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