Chapter 5: Fiber Optic Extensions
awarded to Bell Labs for a "Light Pipe." American Optical demonstrated light transmission through short lengths of flexible glass fibers in the 1950s. However, most modern advances in fiber optics grew out of Corning Glass developments in glass technology and production methods disclosed in the early 1970s.
Like many technical developments since WWII, fiber optics programs were largely government funded for their potential military advantages. Projects primarily supported telecommunications applications and laser fiber ring gyroscopes for aircraft/missile
navigation. Some sensor developments were included in manufacturing technology (Mantech) programs as well as for aircraft, missile and shipboard robust sensor developments. More recently the Dept. of Energy and NIST have also supported various fiber optic developments.
Commercial telecommunications has evolved as the fiber optics technology driving force since the mid-'80s. Increased use of fiber optics well correlates with fiber materials developments and lower component costs. Advances in glass fibers have led to transmission improvements
amounting to over three orders of magnitude since the early Corning Glass efforts. For example, ordinary plate glass has a visible light attenuation coefficient of several thousand dBs per km. Current fiber optic glasses a kilometer thick would transmit as much light as say a 1/4-in. plate glass pane.
Topics covered include:
1. Fiber Advantages
2. Fiber Applications
3. Component Options
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