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How Does Fibre Optics Work?

10/11/2013 5:20:16 PM | by Anonymous

Fibre Optics

Fibre optics is commonly used in many of our electronic applications for transmitting information quickly. Fibre optics is made out of high quality glass or plastic that is around the same size as a human hair. Fibre optics is used to transmit data over longer distances. They are more desirable as compared to traditional wires made out of metal as they suffer less loss in signals and also they do not experience any electromagnetic interference. Fibre optic cables can also be used for illumination purposes. Typically, fibre optic cables are wrapped in cables allowing users to view objects in restrictive areas.

A single optical fibre consists of 3 parts; the first component would be a transparent core that is coated with the second component called a cladding material. This unique structure allows for light to pass through the transparent core by total internal reflection as the cladding material has a lower index of refraction. The third component would be a buffer coating which protects the fibre from moisture and damage.

There are two types of fibre optics. They are: single mode fibers and multi mode fibers. Single mode fibers have smaller transparent cores and are used to transmit infrared or laser light. Multi mode fibres on the other hand have larger transparent cores that can be used to transmit light from light emitting diodes.

Light transmitting process

As mentioned earlier, the light travels through the cable through a method know as total internal reflection. As light travels in a straight line, it requires reflective materials to change its course. The light in the fibre optics travel through the transparent core and it constantly reflects off the cladding material that is wrapped around the transparent core. This allows the light to travel in different directions. However, if there are impurities in the glass then it may disrupt the light signal. This is not a problem for premium optical fibres though.

In communications, fibre optics use a fibre optic relay system which consists of four components. The first component would be the transmitter. The transmitter directs the optical device to switch the light on and off, which creates a light signal. Then there is the actual optical fibres which conducts the light signals over a distance. The third component would be an optical generator. In cases whereby fibre optics is used in long distances, an optical regenerator boosts the light signal as the light signals degrade over long distances. The last component of a fibre optic relay system is the optical receiver, which uses either a photo cell or a photo diode to receive the light and decode them.


Advantages of fibre optics

The first advantage of fibre optics is that they are much cheaper to produce and implement than traditional materials such as copper wires. Optical fibres are also much thinner than wires made out of copper. This means that more fibres can be bundled together and ultimately more information is able to go through the cables. There is also less signal degradation than in copper wires. Copper wires experience electromagnetic interference; this means that phone signals or reception may get interfered with. Since fibre optics is not made out of any metals, they do not experience this problem.

Apart from being able to transmit more data across, fibre optic cables also use less power than copper wires. This saves even more money. Fibre optics are also very efficient in transmitting digital information, this makes it ideal for computer networks. Also, fibre optic cables do not transmit an electrical current. This means that there would be no fire hazard at risk.

Fibre optics is an ingenious invention that has revolutionized the communications and computer industry and helped other industries as well. Also, thanks to fibre optics we are able to communicate with our loved ones without the annoying static noise.

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