Modern society has become increasingly reliant on the critical infrastructure of optical fiber for delivering information and power at a scale never seen before. This has triggered the famous copper-to-silica transition that occurred some 40 years ago. Whether this tendency will continue and initiate another silica-to-air transition are still an open question. However, by virtue of the rapid advances of MOF,it has been widely accepted that in a lot of applications artificial photonic cladding structures of regularly/irregularly arranged microscopic hollow channels can deliver orders of magnitude improvement over the prior art of purified bulk glass materials.
The first wave of MOF research climax occurred with the advent of Endless Single-Mode and Photonic Band-Gap guiding properties. It quickly led to many celebrated applications in the fields of Nonlinear Optics and Laser Optics, such as supercontinuum generation from unamplified laser pulses, ultra-large mode area fiber for laser power scaling, high-efficiency gas-Raman cells, and so on.
The currently-undergoing second round of MOF innovations originate from the identification and exploitation of another kind of light guidance called Anti-Resonant Reflecting (or Leakage Suppression). Over the course of a few years, the ratio of minimum loss between silica glass fiber and hollow-core anti-resonant fiber has fallen to less than 2 (by more than 3 orders of magnitude). Our group had made both experimental and theoretical contributions in this process, and will continuously focus on the exploration of novel MOF applications in long-haul transmission, e.g. Optical Communications, Quantum Optics, and Distributed Sensing.