Optical couplings in large core optical waveguides have many similarities with those in conventional optical fibers but pose some unconventional challenges as well. The larger geometry, looser manufacturing tolerances and reduced dimensional stability compound the problems associated with making low-loss couplings in large core waveguides. The individual factors contributing to coupling losses are discussed to develop an understanding of the extant loss mechanisms. Individual methods and materials employed to mitigate the impact of each of the dominant loss mechanisms are discussed in detail. A combination of endface geometry control, axial alignment constraint and refractive index matching are employed to produce highly efficient optical couplings in large core waveguides. The combination of these elements has significantly reduced the insertion losses due to connector couplings. Prior to implementing the current methods losses of 15% and greater were common but these have been reduced to 2%–5% with the current methods.

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