What Is Optical Fiber? Types And Uses

A fiber-optical cable is composed of unbelievably thin glass or transparent plastic strands, so known as optical fibers; one cable can have only two or million strands. Each strand is less than one-tenth thick as a human hair and also can quickly and efficiently carry a large amount of data. Therefore whole fiber optic cable can carry an excellently large amount of data.

Fiber-optic cables are used to transmit information in a totally optical (light-based) technology between two locations. Assume that you want to send information through the path via fiber optics from one computer to another one. You can bind your computer to a laser to transform electrical data from your computer into a set of pulses of light. The fiber optic cable would be then fired by a laser. The light beams would reach on the other end after traveling through the cable. Then a light sensing device is needed on the second end to convert these light pulses again in electrical signals so that computer can read those signals and make meaningful data.

How fiber-optics works

There are two phenomena that help in transmitting data through optical cables. Here are the two phenomena:-

1. By bouncing off the walls repeatedly, the light passes through a fiber-optic cable. Each small photon (light particle) travels between the optic strand pipe. Now you will be thinking of a light beam to simply leak from the edges of a transparent glass pipe. However, when the light hits on a very low angle (<42 °) in the glass pipe, it bounces back into the pipe— as it behaves like a mirror due to this low beam angle. This phenomenon is known as Total Internal Reflection. This is the first factor that maintains light within the pipe.

What Is Optical Fiber
What Is Optical Fiber

2. The structure of the Optical Fibre consisting of two separate parts is the next factor that keeps light in the pipe. The main portion of the optic pipe— in the center — named the core, which is the section through which the light passes. Another layer of glass called the cladding is wrapped around the edge of the core. The task of the outer coating is to maintain the light signals in the core. This is possible because it is built of a different kind of material which has a low refractive index.

Discovery Of Optical Fibre

There are several experiments were performed in the history on the optical fiber for making this glass tube useful to everybody. But if we talk about the first one experiment performed over the glass tube then here are the details:-

In 1840s Daniel Colladon was a physicist who performed his first test by using water. He just tried to make light travel through water. He first uses the principle of refraction of light.

After this experiment, there are more several experiments were performed and today we are successfully using this optical fiber tube.

Types Of Optical Fiber

Types of the optical fiber are being distributed on the basis of modes of uses. Below are two types of optical fiber:-

The first type of optical fiber is called a single-mode optical cable. It is the simplest type of optical cable. The core of the single-mode cable is very thin with a diameter of approximately 5 to 10 microns. All signals travel straight in the center of the fiber in a single-mode fiber without bouncing down. In general, single-mode fibers wrap together in a huge bundle of television cable, Internet and phone signals. Cables like that are used for transmitting data for a longer distance because losses are reduced in these types of cables due to the smaller diameter of the core.

What Is Optical Fiber
What Is Optical Fiber

Another type of optical fiber is called the multi-mode optical cable. In multi-mode optic cable, Every optical fiber is approximately 10 times larger in a multi-mode cable than one in a single-mode cable. This means that the light can pass the core in multiple modes by following various paths. Multi-mode cables are used to transmit information on short distances and are used to connect computer networks to each other.

Uses Of Fiber Optics

There are several uses of these optical fibers but here we are going to discuss only a few important uses.

Computer Networks:- Fiber optic cables are the main method for transmitting the data over long distances due it’s three main features that are Less attenuation, No interference, Higher Bandwidth.

Medicines:- The first proper application of fiber optics over a half century ago was medical gadgets, which could help physicians peer in the body without opening them out.

Military:- Fiber-optic cables are cost-effective, thin, light, powerful, sturdy and extremely safe, providing the perfect way to connect military bases and machines such as missile launch sites and radar tracking stations. Because they do not transmit electrical signals, do not emit electromagnetic radiation which an enemy can detect and are strong against electromagnetic intervention.


This was a guide on Optic Fiber containing topics related to history and uses also. Doubts and questions related to the topic can be asked at contact us page or directly through comments. so, put your questions and make them reach to us and we will here to assist you.

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