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Optical Fibre & Nanotechnology

Optical Fibre & Nanotechnology

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Communication means transfer of information from one point to another. There has always been a demand for increases capacity of transmission of information and scientists and engineers continuously pursue technological routes for achieving this goal. The conduction of light along transparent cylinders by multiple total internal reflections is a fairly old and well known phenomenon. However, the earliest recorded scientific demonstration of this phenomenon was given by John Tyndall at the Royal society in England in 1870. In this demonstration, Tyndalll used an illuminated vessel of water and showed that when a stream of water was allowed to flow through a hole in the side of the vessel, light was conducted along the curved path of the stream. When it is necessary to transmit information, such as speech, images, or data, over a distance, one generally uses the concept of carrier wave communication. In such a system, the information to be sent modulates an electromagnetic wave such as a radio wave, microwave, or light wave, which acts as a carrier. This modulated wave is then transmitted to the receiver through a channel and the receiver demodulates it to retrieve the imprinted signal. The carrier frequencies associated with TV broadcast ( 900 MHz) are much higher than those associated with AM radio broadcast ( 20 MHz). This is due to the fact that, in any communication system employing electromagnetic waves as the carrier, the amount of information that can be sent increases as the frequency of the carrier is increased. Obviously, TV broadcast has to carry much more information than AM broadcasts. Since optical beams have frequencies in the range of 1014 to 1015 Hz, the use of such beams as the carrier would imply a tremendously large increase in the information-transmission capacity of the system as compared to systems employing radio waves or microwaves.
Communication means transfer of information from one point to another. There has always been a demand for increases capacity of transmission of information and scientists and engineers continuously pursue technological routes for achieving this goal. The conduction of light along transparent cylinders by multiple total internal reflections is a fairly old and well known phenomenon. However, the earliest recorded scientific demonstration of this phenomenon was given by John Tyndall at the Royal society in England in 1870. In this demonstration, Tyndalll used an illuminated vessel of water and showed that when a stream of water was allowed to flow through a hole in the side of the vessel, light was conducted along the curved path of the stream. When it is necessary to transmit information, such as speech, images, or data, over a distance, one generally uses the concept of carrier wave communication. In such a system, the information to be sent modulates an electromagnetic wave such as a radio wave, microwave, or light wave, which acts as a carrier. This modulated wave is then transmitted to the receiver through a channel and the receiver demodulates it to retrieve the imprinted signal. The carrier frequencies associated with TV broadcast ( 900 MHz) are much higher than those associated with AM radio broadcast ( 20 MHz). This is due to the fact that, in any communication system employing electromagnetic waves as the carrier, the amount of information that can be sent increases as the frequency of the carrier is increased. Obviously, TV broadcast has to carry much more information than AM broadcasts. Since optical beams have frequencies in the range of 1014 to 1015 Hz, the use of such beams as the carrier would imply a tremendously large increase in the information-transmission capacity of the system as compared to systems employing radio waves or microwaves.

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Published by: hiscasio on Mar 18, 2009
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3Optical Fibre
3.1 Introduction
Communication means transfer of information from one point to another. There has alwaysbeen a demand for increases capacity of transmission of information and scientists andengineers continuously pursue technological routes for achieving this goal. The conduction of light along transparent cylinders by multiple total internal reflections is a fairly old and wellknown phenomenon. However, the earliest recorded scientific demonstration of thisphenomenon was given by John Tyndall at the Royal society in England in 1870. In thisdemonstration, Tyndalll used an illuminated vessel of water and showed that when a streamof water was allowed to flow through a hole in the side of the vessel, light was conductedalong the curved path of the stream. When it is necessary to transmit information, such asspeech, images, or data, over a distance, one generally uses the concept of carrier wavecommunication. In such a system, the information to be sent modulates an electromagneticwave such as a radio wave, microwave, or light wave, which acts as a carrier. This modulatedwave is then transmitted to the receiver through a channel and the receiver demodulates it toretrieve the imprinted signal. The carrier frequencies associated with TV broadcast( 900 MHz) are much higher than those associated with AM radio broadcast ( 20 MHz).This is due to the fact that, in any communication system employing electromagnetic wavesas the carrier, the amount of information that can be sent increases as the frequency of thecarrier is increased
.
Obviously, TV broadcast has to carry much more information than AMbroadcasts. Since optical beams have frequencies in the range of 10
14
to 10
15
Hz, the use of such beams as the carrier would imply a tremendously large increase in the information-transmission capacity of the system as compared to systems employing radio waves ormicrowaves.In a conventional telephone hookup, voice signals are converted into equivalent electricalsignals by the microphone and are transmitted as electrical currents through metallic (copperor aluminum) wires to the local telephone exchange. Thereafter, these signals continue totravel as electric currents through metallic wire cable (or for long-distance transmission asradio/microwaves to another telephone exchange) usually with several repeaters in between.From the local area telephone exchange, at the receiving end, these signals travel via metallicwire pairs to the receiver telephone, where they are converted back into corresponding soundwaves. Through such cabled wire-pair telecommunication systems, one can at most send48 simultaneous telephone conversations intelligibly. On the other hand, in an opticalcommunication system that uses glass fibers as the transmission medium and light waves ascarrier waves, it is distinctly possible today to have 35,000 or more simultaneous telephoneconversations (equivalent to a transmission speed of about 2.5 Gbit/s) through one glass fiberno thicker than a human hair. This large information-carrying capacity of a light beam is whatgenerated interest among communication engineers and caused them to explore thepossibility of developing a communication system using light waves as carrier waves.The idea of using light waves for communication can be traced as far back as 1880 whenAlexander Graham Bell invented the photo phone (Figure 3.1) shortly after he invented thetelephone in 1876. In this remarkable experiment, speech was transmitted by modulating alight beam, which traveled through air to the receiver. The flexible reflecting diaphragm(which could be activated by sound) was illuminated by sunlight. The reflected light was
 
received by a parabolic reflector placed at a distance of about 200 m. The parabolic reflectorconcentrated the light on a photo conducting selenium cell, which formed a part of a circuitwith a battery and a receiving earphone. Sound waves present in the vicinity of the diaphragmvibrated the diaphragm, which led to a consequent variation of the light reflected by thediaphragm. The variation of the light falling on the selenium cell changed the electricalconductivity of the cell, which in turn changed the current in the electrical circuit. Thischanging current reproduced the sound on the earphone.
Figure 3.1:
Schematic of the photophone invented by Bell. In this system, sunlight wasmodulated by a vibrating diaphragm and transmitted through a distance of about 200 meters inair to a receiver containing a selenium cell connected to the earphone.
After succeeding in transmitting a voice signal over 200 meters using a light signal, Bellwrote to his father: "I have heard a ray of light laugh and sing. We may talk by light to anyvisible distance without any conducting wire." To quote from Maclean: "In 1880 he (GrahamBell) produced his 'photophone' which, to the end of his life, he insisted was '...the greatestinvention I have ever made, greater than the telephone....' Unlike the telephone, though, it hadno commercial value."The modern impetus for telecommunication with carrier waves at optical frequencies owes itsorigin to the discovery of the laser in 1960. Earlier, no suitable light source was available thatcould reliably be used as the information carrier. At around the same time,telecommunication traffic was growing very rapidly. It was conceivable then thatconventional telecommunication systems based on, say, coaxial cables, radio and microwavelinks, and wire-pair cable, could soon reach a saturation point. The advent of lasersimmediately triggered a great deal of investigation aimed at examining the possibility of building optical analogues of conventional communication systems. The very first suchmodern optical communication experiments involved laser beam transmission through theatmosphere. However, it was soon realized that shorter-wavelength laser beams could not besent in open atmosphere through reasonably long distances to carry signals, unlike, forexample, the longer-wavelength microwave or radio systems. This is due to the fact that alaser light beam (of wavelength about 1 m) is severely attenuated and distorted owing toscattering and absorption by the atmosphere. Thus, for reliable light-wave communicationunder terrestrial environments it would be necessary to provide a "guiding" medium thatcould protect the signal-carrying light beam from the vagaries of the terrestrial atmosphere.This guiding medium is the optical fiber, a hair-thin structure that guides the light beam fromone place to another as was shown in Figure 3.2.
 
 
Figure 3.2:
 
A typical fiber optic communication system: T, transmitter; C, connector; S, splice;R, repeater; D, detector
In addition to the capability of carrying a huge amount of information, optical fibersfabricated with recently developed technology are characterized by extremely low losses(< 0.2 dB/km), as a consequence of which the distance between two consecutive repeaters(used for amplifying and reshaping the attenuated signals) could be as large as 250 km. Weshould perhaps mention here that it was the epoch-making paper of Kao and Hockham in1966 that suggested that optical fibers based on silica glass could provide the necessarytransmission medium if metallic and other impurities could be removed. Indeed, this 1966paper triggered the beginning of serious research in developing low-loss optical fibers. In1970, Kapron, Keck, and Maurer (at Corning Glass in USA) were successful in producingsilica fibers with a loss of about 17 dB/km at a wavelength of 633 nm. (Kapron, Keck, andMaurer) Since then, the technology has advanced with tremendous rapidity. By 1985 glassfibers were routinely produced with extremely low losses (< 0.2 dB/km). Along the path of the optical fiber are splices, which are permanent joints between sections of fibers, andrepeaters that boost the signal and correct any distortion that may have occurred along thepath of the fiber. At the end of the link, the light is detected by a photodetector andelectronically processed to retrieve the signal.In recent years it has become apparent that fiber-optics are steadily replacing copper wire asan appropriate means of communication signal transmission. They span the long distancesbetween local phone systems as well as providing the backbone for many network systems.Other system users include cable television services, university campuses, office buildings,industrial plants, and electric utility companies.A fiber-optic system is similar to the copper wire system that fiber-optics is replacing. Thedifference is that fiber-optics use light pulses to transmit information down fiber lines insteadof using electronic pulses to transmit information down copper lines. Looking at thecomponents in a fiber-optic chain will give a better understanding of how the system worksin conjunction with wire based systems.At one end of the system is a transmitter. This is the place of origin for information comingon to fiber-optic lines. The transmitter accepts coded electronic pulse information comingfrom copper wire. It then processes and translates that information into equivalently codedlight pulses. A light-emitting diode (LED) or an injection-laser diode (ILD) can be used forgenerating the light pulses. Using a lens, the light pulses are funneled into the fiber-opticmedium where they travel down the cable. The light (near infrared) is most often 850nm forshorter distances and 1,300nm for longer distances on Multi-mode fiber and 1300nm forsingle-mode fiber and 1,500nm is used for longer distances.
3.2 Advantages Of Optical Fibres
At the heart of an optical communication system is the optical fiber that acts as thetransmission channel carrying the light beam loaded with information. In the present time,we have ultra low loss fibres (0.001 dB/km) so that the optical signals can be transmittedthrough the fibre over a very long distances with low loss. Thus the optical fibres aredielectric waveguides which transmit the optical signals or data through
 
them with a very lowattenuation and very low dispersion. Thus one can achieve very high band width or high datarate using fiber optic cables. Now a days, we have dispersion free and dispersioncompensation fibers.Let us see the advantages of optical fiber communication over conventional communicationsystem.

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