Fiber Optics

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Fiber Optics What are Fiber Optics? Fiber optics are thin transparent fibers of glass or plastic enclosed by a material of a lower index of refraction and that transmit light throughout their length by internal reflections. Real fiber optic cables are made out of very pure glass, glass so pure that if it were miles thick, light would still be able to pass through. The fiber optic strand, although thin in diameter, is stretched to miles in length. Therefore only the purest of glass would be efficient and useful for sending light signals. The glass of these fiber optic cables is drawn into a very thin strand (as thin as human hair), then it is coated in two layers of plastic. By coating the glass in plastic (this is called the cladding), a "mirror" is created around the glass. This creates a total internal reflection. In other words, when light is passed through the cable, the light will reflect off the interior surface of the cable, and continue to bounce off the reflective surface until it reaches the opening at the other end. Light travels through the fiber optic cable and bounces off at shallow angles, and stays completely within the glass fiber. How Fiber Optic Communications Work Fiber optics, in the world of technology, is used to carry voice, data, and video inside these strands of glass. Optical fiber for telecommunications consists of three components: core, cladding and coating. The core is the central region of an optical fiber through which light is transmitted. The core and cladding are manufactured together as a single piece of glass and cannot be separated from one another. The third section is the outer protective coating. This coating is typically an ultraviolet (UV) light-cured acrylic applied during t... ... middle of paper ... ...mitless. Fiber optic technology has opened the door to many more communication opportunities for the world today. It provides higher fidelity long distance telephone conversations, as well as secure communication systems. Today, more than 90% of the United States long-distance traffic is already carried over optical fiber; more than 15 million miles have been installed, virtually all of it using the original design. The concept of fiber optics is simple, yet it provides so many potentialities in the world of technology. Presently the world relies on fiber optical technology for its data and communications systems. The consumer can converse on the telephone and hear voices with clarity, as well as send and receive information on the Internet with ease. However, there still lay a sea of possibilities in this area of technology that has not yet been discovered.

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