Physics of Fiber Optics

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History Of all the pioneers of this industry, none stand out as the primary leader of discovery or development. This competitive environment was an integral part of this field's progress. Not all discoveries were harbored as proprietary. There was a great deal of information that flowed amongst the leading scientists developing this technology. Here are some of the key players and some of their contributions: Claude Chappe, French Engineer invented the Optical Telegraph, which used a series of semaphores mounted on towers to relay messages between towers Alexander Graham Bell,patented an optical telephone system in 1880. Not a very practical invention that was superseded by wired communications, which were more effective at the time. Daniel Collodon and Jacques Babinet were able to show that light could be guided along jets of water. John Logie Baird (ENG.) and Clarence W. Hansell (U.S.) patented the idea of using arrays of hollow pipes or transparent rods to transmit images for television or fascimile systems. Heinrich Lamm was the first person to demonstrate image transmission through a bundle of optical fibers. Holger Moeller applied for a Danish patent on fiber-optic imaging, but was denied based on other research Abraham Van Heel and Harold H. Hopkins presented imaging bundles in the British Journal Nature at separate times.Van Heel later produced a cladded fiber system that greatly reduced signal interference and crosstalk between fibers Brian O'Brien American physicist who inspired and collaborated with Van Heel on the cladding concept. C.Wilbur Peters, physician Basil Hirschowitz and Lawrence Curtiss developed glass clad fibers while pursuing the development of the endoscope for inspecting the stomach. Alec Reeves invented digital pulse-code modulation, which was an integral part of optical communications. He further theorized that higher frequencies were possible for fiber optic communications. Stewart Miller's group at Bell Labs worked to develop gas lenses to focus laser beams along hollow waveguides for long distance communications Charles K. Kao focused his study on fiber attenuation and the ability to reduce the signal losses. He theorized that the eventual loss of signal could be reduced to less than 20 db per kilometer. At that time, the average loss was about 1000 db per kilometer. With this published position the industry embraced this challenge and were able achieve this attenuation threshhold within four years or so. Physics Of Optics While investigating the use of fiber optic technology, it is important to understand the fundamental rules of optics. Some of the leading scientists of their time viewed light from two main perspectives.

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