We report on the first step-index biodegradable polymer optical fiber (bioPOF) fabricated using commercially available polyesters, with a core made from poly(D,L-lactic-co-glycolic acid) and a cladding made from poly(D,L-lactic acid). We prepared the preforms with a rod-in-tube technique and the fibers with a standard heat drawing process. We discuss the chemical and optical properties of the polyesters along the fabrication process from polymer granulates to optical fiber. More specifically, we address the influence of the processing steps on the molecular weight and thermal properties of the polymers. Cutback measurements return an attenuation of 0.26 dB/cm at 950 nm for fibers with an outer diameter of 1000 +/- 50 mu m, a core of 570 +/- 30 mu m, and a numerical aperture of 0.163. When immersed in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), bioPOFs degrade over a period of 3 months, concurrent with a 91% molecular weight loss. The core decomposes already after three weeks and features 85% molecular weight loss. There is no any additional optical loss caused by immersion in PBS during the first 30-40 min for a bioPOFs with a diameter of about 500 mu m. Our result demonstrates that bioPOF can be suitable for applications requiring light delivery, deep into living tissue, such as photodynamic therapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1905-1914
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Lightwave Technology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020

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