The defense community in Maryland is an R&D powerhouse.
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A method and apparatus for making a substantially void-free preform for a microstructured optical fiber using a one-step process is provided. A preform is prepared from specialty glasses using a direct extrusion method. A die for use with the direct extrusion method is also provided, and a method for drawing the preform into a HC-PBG fiber for use in transmitting infra-red wavelength light is also provided. The preform comprises an outer jacket made of solid glass, a cladding having a plurality of air holes arranged in a desired pattern within the jacket, and a core which is hollow.