Related topics: light · physical review letters

Making and controlling crystals of light

Optical microresonators convert laser light into ultrashort pulses travelling around the resonator's circumference. These pulses, called "dissipative Kerr solitons," can propagate in the microresonator maintaining their shape.

Entanglement sent over 50 km of optical fiber

The quantum internet promises absolutely tap-proof communication and powerful distributed sensor networks for new science and technology. However, because quantum information cannot be copied, it is not possible to send this ...

Researchers document a quantum spin wave for light

Researchers at Purdue University have created a quantum spin wave for light. This can be a carrier of information for future nanotechnologies but with a unique twist: they only flow in one direction.

Eye imaging technology provides opportunities in biotechnology

In her doctoral dissertation, M.Sc. Sanna Haavisto, researched the flow properties of aqueous microcellulose suspensions. Optical coherence tomography, an imaging technology commonly used in medical imaging of eye, was applied ...

Finding alternatives to diamonds for drilling

Diamonds aren't just a girl's best friend—they're also crucial components for hard-wearing industrial components, such as the drill bits used to access oil and gas deposits underground. But a cost-efficient method to find ...

Confined nanoscale sound controls light in a microresonator

When traversing a solid material such as glass, a light wave can deposit part of its energy in a mechanical wave, leading to a color change of the light. This process, called "Brillouin scattering," has important technical ...

Building a bridge to the quantum world

Entanglement is one of the main principles of quantum mechanics. Physicists from Professor Johannes Fink's research group at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have found a way to use a mechanical ...

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Optical fiber

An optical fiber (or fibre) is a glass or plastic fiber that carries light along its length. Fiber optics is the overlap of applied science and engineering concerned with the design and application of optical fibers. Optical fibers are widely used in fiber-optic communications, which permits transmission over longer distances and at higher bandwidths (data rates) than other forms of communications. Fibers are used instead of metal wires because signals travel along them with less loss, and they are also immune to electromagnetic interference. Fibers are also used for illumination, and are wrapped in bundles so they can be used to carry images, thus allowing viewing in tight spaces. Specially designed fibers are used for a variety of other applications, including sensors and fiber lasers.

Light is kept in the core of the optical fiber by total internal reflection. This causes the fiber to act as a waveguide. Fibers which support many propagation paths or transverse modes are called multi-mode fibers (MMF), while those which can only support a single mode are called single-mode fibers (SMF). Multi-mode fibers generally have a larger core diameter, and are used for short-distance communication links and for applications where high power must be transmitted. Single-mode fibers are used for most communication links longer than 550 metres (1,800 ft).

Joining lengths of optical fiber is more complex than joining electrical wire or cable. The ends of the fibers must be carefully cleaved, and then spliced together either mechanically or by fusing them together with an electric arc. Special connectors are used to make removable connections.

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