In Finland, a research team at the VTT Technical Research Center has created optical fibers made from cellulose. The team hopes the breakthrough fibers could help detect moisture in sensing applications.
Lead researcher Hannes Orelma began by air-drying bleached softwood kraft pulp and adding acetate to make a slurry that was subsequently spun into fibers. The resulting fiber was able to guide light from an optical input. While performance was not comparable to conventional ultrapure silica glass, the fibers could be used to detect moisture changes in buildings. “The R&D is still in its initial phases, so we do not yet know all the applications the new optical fiber could lend itself to,” Orelma said in a press release.