Fiber Optics a Way Forward for Data Transmission

Published On : 04 Jun 2018

An optical fiber or optical fibre refers to a transparent, flexible fiber that is made by drawing silica or glass or plastic to a diameter slightly thicker than that of a human hair. Optical fibers are utilized mostly as a means to transmit light between the two ends of the fiber and to find extensive usage in fiber-optic communications, in which they allow transmission at higher bandwidths which is also known as data rates and over longer distances than electrical cables. Fibers are utilized instead of metal wires as those signals travel along them with less loss; in addition to that, fibers are immune to all kinds of electromagnetic interference, a problem which plagues metal wires way too much. Fibers are also utilized for imaging and illumination, and they are often wrapped in bundles so that they could be used to carry light into, or images out of confined spaces, such as in the case of a fiberscope. Specially designed fibers are also utilized for a variety of other applications, a few of them being fiber lasers and fiber optic sensors.

It is used in the below-mentioned end-use segments:

Communication

Optical fiber is widely used as a medium for computer networking and telecommunication and as it is flexible and can be bundled together as cables. It is particularly beneficial for long-distance communications, as light propagates through the fiber with very little attenuation as compared to electrical cables. This enables long distances to be spanned with a very few repeaters. Fibers are quite frequently utilized for short-distance connections between various devices.

Sensors

Fibers have various uses for the purpose of remote sensing. In a few applications, the sensor is itself an optical fiber. In many other cases, fiber is utilised to connect a non-fiberoptic sensor to a measurement system. 

Optical fibers can also be used as sensors so as to measure pressure, temperature, strain and other quantities by making modification of a fiber so that the property to measure modulates the polarization, intensity, wavelength, phase, or transit time of light in the fiber.

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Power transmission

Optical fiber can be utilized to transmit power by making use of a photovoltaic cell so as to convert the light into electricity. Whilst this method of power transmission is not as efficient as the ones that are prevailing, it is particularly useful in situations where it is desirable not to have a metallic conductor as in the case of use near MRI machines, in which it produces strong magnetic fields.

Other uses

Optical fibers have a wide number of various other applications as well. They are utilized as light guides in medical and many other applications in which bright light needs to be shone on a target without a clear line-of-sight path. In few of the buildings, optical fibers route sunlight from the roof to other parts of the building. Optical-fiber lamps are also used for illumination in various decorative applications such as toys, artificial Christmas trees and so on. Swarovski boutiques make use of optical fibers in a bid to illuminate their crystal showcases from many different angles while only employing one source of light. 

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