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The optical frequency range is extremely large when compared with radio
frequency range. As such a light beam can be used for communication purposes.
A light beam can carry a more information to far off places.
Optical fibre is a long thin transparent dielectric material made up of
glass (or) plastic, which curries electromagnetic waves from one end of the fibre
to other end of the fibre by means of multiple total internal reflection. Thus
optical fibres works as wave guides in optical communication systems.
An optical fiber consists of inner
cylinder made of glass (or) plastic. It is
called the core. The core carries light and
it is surrounded by a second cylindrical
shell of glass (or) plastic. It is called the
cladding. The reference index of core
(n1) is slightly larger than the refractive
index of cladding (n2) the typical
refractive index values are n1=1.48 and n2=1.46. the core diameter ≈ 50μm. The
fiber from the surrounding atmosphere. Many fibres are grouped to form a

Principle of Optical fibre

Once light rays enters into core, they propagate by means of multiple
total interval reflections of the core-cladding interface.

Let the refractive index of core is n1 and that of cladding is n2 such that
n1>n2. A light ray AO is incident at ‘O’ on the end face of core and this ray
makes and angle ‘θ0’ with the axis of the fibre the ray AO is refracted into the
core and passes along OB. Let θ1 is the angle of refraction in the core. The ray
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OB is incident on the core-cladding interface with an angle of incidence 90- θ1.
suppose this angle of incidence is equal to critical angle [θc= 90-θ1] then the
angle of refraction is cladding is 900, so that the ray passes along the
interference between core and cladding. If the angle of incidence for a ray is
less than θ0 (at end face) then angle of refraction is less than θ1 and angle of
incidence at the core-cladding interface is larger than critical angle so the ray
suffers total internal reflection at the core-cladding interface.

Acceptance angle and acceptance core:

If a ray falls at the end face of the optical fiber at an angle greater than θ o then
the ray does not undergo total internal reflection at the core – gladding interface,
if enters into cladding material and get lost in the cladding material. Thus for
light rays to propagate through the optical fiber by total internal reflection they
must be incident on the fiber core with in the angle θ o this angle in known as
acceptance angle.
Acceptance angle is defined as the maximum angle of incidence at the end
face of an optical fiber for which the ray can be propagated in the optical fiber,
This angle in also called acceptance core half angle.
A core obtained by rotating a ray at the end face of the optical fiber around
the fiber axis with acceptance angle is known as acceptance cone.
Applying Snell’s law at B and ‘O’.

Snell’s law at ‘B’ is

n1 sin (90 - θ 1) = n2 sin 90 [ Q θ c = 90 - θ 1]
n1 sin θ c = n2 sin 90 ⇒ sin θ c = → 1
Snell’s law at ‘O’
n0 sin θ o = n1sin θ 1 ⇒ sin θ o = sin θ 1 → 2
From fig θ 1 + (90 - θ 1 ) = 90
θ 1 + θ c = 90 ⇒ θ 1 = 90 - θ c → 3

Substituting eqn (3) in eqn (2)

n1 n1
sin θ o = sin (90- θ c ) = cos θ c → 4
n0 n0

Using (1) in (4)

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n1 n22 n12 − n22
sin θ o = 1− 2 = → 5
n0 n1 n0

As the fiber in air no =1

Q eqn (5) ⇒ sin θ o = n12 − n2 2

This is the equation for acceptance angle.

Numerical Aperture (NA)

Numerical Aperture is defined as the light gathering capacity of an

optical fiber and is proportional to acceptance angle. Numerically it is equal to
sine of acceptance angle.
n12 − n2 2
NA = sin θ o =
Refractive index of air medium n0 =1
NA = n12 − n2 2

Fractional change in the refractive index. ( ∆ )

It is defined as the ratio of difference of refractive indices of core and
cladding to refractive index of core .
n1 − n2
∆= ⇒ n1- n2 = n1 ∆

NA = (n1 + n2 )(n1 − n2 ) = (n1 + n2 )(n1∆ )

∴ Since n1 ; n2
NA = 2n1 (n1∆ ) = n1 2∆
Numerical aperture can be increased by increasing ‘ ∆ ’ and thus enhance the
light gathering capacity of the fiber. We can not increase ∆ to vary large value
because if leady to into model depression, which causes signal distortion.

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Condition for light propagation in the fiber

If 'θ i ' is the angle of incidence of an incident ray at the end of optical
fiber, then the ray will propagate if θi < θ o (or) sin θ i < sin θ o (or) sin θi <

n12 − n2 2 (or) sin θi < NA is the condition for propagation of light within
the fiber.

Step Index Fibers and Graded Index fibers

Based on the variation of refractive index of core, optical fibers are

divided in to (1) Step index and (2) Graded Index fibers. Again based on the
mode of propagation all these fibers are divided in to single mode and
multimode fibers. In all optical fibers, the refractive index of cladding material
is uniform.
(1) Step index fiber: The refractive index is uniform throughout the core of
the fiber. As we go radially in this fiber; the refractive index. Under
goes a step change at the core- cladding interface. Based on the mode of
propagation of light rays step index fibers are two types: (1) Single
mode step index fibers and (2) Multimode step index fibers.
The number of paths available for light propagation in a fiber is
known as mode.

Single mode step index fiber:

In this type of fiber, the core diameter is about 8 to 10 μm and outer
diameter of cladding is 60 to 70 μm. There is only one path for my propagation
so it is called single mode fiber.
In this fiber, the
transmission of light
is by successive total
internal reflections. It
is a reflective type
fiber . Nearly 801 of
the fibers
manufactured in the
world are single
mode fibers. Lasers
are used as light
source in these fibers. These fibers are mainly used in submarine cable system.

(b) Multimode step index fiber:

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In this type of fiber, the core and cladding diameters are much larger the
core diameter of this fiber varies from 50 to 200 μm and the outer diameter of
cladding varies from 100 to 250 μm.
Fig shows cross
sectional view, refractive
index profile and ray
propagations they have
many paths for light
propagation. Light
propagation in this fiber
is by multiple total
internal reflections (i.e.)
It is reflective type fiber.
It is used in data links.

Transmission of signals in step index fiber:

Generally the signal is transmitted through the fiber in digital form the
propagation of pulses through multimode fiber is shown in fig the pulses which
travel along line path will reach first at the other end of fiber. The pluses that
travels only Zig-Zag path reaches the other end with some time delay . Hence
the pulsed signal received at the other end is broadened, this is known as inter
model dispersion. Thus imposes limitation on the separation between pulses and
reduces the transmission rate and capacity.

(2) Graded index fiber:

In this fiber the refractive index decreases continuously from centre

radically to the surface of the core. The refractive index is maximum at the
centre and minimum of the surface of core. Fig shows cross sectional view and
ray propagation of multimode graded index fiber. The diameter of core varies
from 50 to 200μm and outer diameter of cladding varies from 100 to 250 μm.
The refractive
index profile is
circularly symmetric As
refractive index changes
continuously radially
in core. The light ray
suffers continuous
refraction in core. The
propagation of light rays
are not due to total
internal reflection by
refraction. In graded
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index fiber light rays travel at different speeds in different parts of the fiber.
Near the surface of core, the refractive index is lower so rays near the outer
surface travel faster than the rays travel of the centre.
Because of all the rays arrive at the receiving end of the fiber approximately at
the same time.

Transmission of signal in graded index fiber:

Index multimode graded index fibre large no. of paths are available for
light ray propagation. To discuss about inter model dispersion we consider ray
path 1 and ray path 2 Along the axis of fiber the refractive index of core is
maximum so the speed of ray along path 1 is less path 2 is sinusoidal and it is
longer. Along the path the refractive index region, so the ray 2 move slight
faster. Hence the pulses of signals that travel along path 1 and path 2 reaches
other end of fiber simultaneously. Thus the problem of inter model dispersion
can be reduced to large extent by using graded index fibres.

Difference between Single mode fibers and multimode fibres

Single mode fibres Multimode fibres

1. In single mode fiber there is only one path 1. In multi mode fibers, large number
for ray propagation. of paths is available for light ray
2. Single mode step index fibers have less 2. Multimode step index fibers have
core diameter ( ∠ 10μm) large core diameter (50 to 200 μm)
And the difference between the refractive and the difference between the
indices of core and cladding is very small. refractive indices of core and cladding
is large.
3. In single mode fibers, there is no 3. There is signal distortion and
dispersion. dispersion takes place in multi mode
4. Signal transmission capacity is less but the 4. Signal transmission capacity is
single mode fibers are suitable for long more in multi mode fibers. Because of
distance communication. large dispersion and attenuation they
are less suitable for long distance
5. Launching of light into single mode fibers 5. Launching of light into multi mode
is difficult. fibers is easy.
6. Fabrication cost is very high. 6. Fabrication cost is less.

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2π 7. The V-number of multimode fiber
7. The V-number of a fiber [V= n1 r 2∆ ]
D is greater than 2.405.
is less than 2.405 for single mode fiber. n1 r
are the refractive index and radius of core. D
= Wave length of light that propagate
through the fiber.

Attenuation in optical fibres

A very important parameter of a optical fibre is the attenuation of light

signal in the fibre. Attenuation decreases light transmittance. Usually the power
of light at the output end of optical fibre is less than the power launched at the
input end, than the signal is said to be attenuated. The signal attenuation is
defined as the ratio of the input optical power (pi) into the fibre to the power of
light come out at the output end (Po). The Attenuation coefficient ( α ) is given
10 Pi
α= log10 db/Km Where L is the length of fibre
L Po

The causes of attenuation are numerous, some of them are wave guide
structure, material compositions, material dispersion, micro bending losses,
mode coupling radiation losses, etc., the attenuation is function of wave length
and material. Optical communication wave lengths are 0.8, 1.3 and 1.55 μm.
The attenuation is mainly due to (i) absorption and (ii) Scattering.

(i) Absorption losses: In glass fibres there different absorptions takes

place. They are ultraviolet absorption, infrared absorption and ion
resonance absorption.
Absorption losses in pure fused
silica are shown in fig.
Absorption of UV
radiation around 0.14 μm results
in ionization of valence
electrons. Absorption of IR
photons by atoms with in the
glass molecules causes heating.
This gives absorption peak at 8
μm, also minor peaks at 3.2, 3.8
and 4.4 μm. The OH- ions of
water trapped during
manufacturing causes absorption
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at 0.95, 1.25 and 1.39 μm as shown in fig. The presence of other
impurities such as iron, copper and chromium also causes absorption.
All these absorption results absorption loss in the fibre.

(ii) Scattering losses: The molten glass, when drawn into very thin fibre
under proper tension causes submicroscopic variation in the density of
glass in the fibre takes place. The do pants added to glass to vary the
refractive index also leads to inhomogenities in the fiber the
microscopic variation of density and inhomogenities act as reflecting
and refracting facets, these
scatter a small portion of light
passing through the glass.
Thus the scattering losses. If
the size of density fluctuating
regions is of order of D/10 or
less than they act as point
source scattering center. This
kind of scattering is known as
Raleigh scattering. The
scattering losses are
proportional to 1/ D . On
these bases the scattering
losses at a wave length of 1.3
μm is about 0.3dB/Km where
as at a wave length of 0.7 μm
it is about 5dB/Km. the Raleigh scattering losses for silica is shown in
(iii) Bending losses: In a bent fibre, there is loss in power of the transmitted
signal called bending losses. Einstein explained the bending losses.
According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, the part of the ray that enter
into cladding will travel faster. The energy associated with this part of
the ray is lost. This loss can be represented by absorption coefficient ( α
 −R 
α = C exp   Where C is Constant
 Rc 
R = radius of curvature of fibre bend and Rc = NA 2
( )
r = radius of the fibre. The bends with radius of curvature is of magnitude
of the fibre radius gives rises to heavy losses.

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(iV) Micro bending and wave guide losses: A large number of small bends
present in the fibre cause large attenuation in the signal transmission. This is
known as micro bending loss. Usually micro bends are formed when an
unsheathed fibre is wound in tension on a drum during manufacture. These
bends will be more if the surface of drum is non uniform.
During manufacturing if proper care is not taken then a continuous small
variation in the fibre diameter or circularity is formed. This gives scattering
loss, known as wave guide losses.

Differences between step index fibres and graded index fibres

Step index fibre Graded index fibre

1. The refractive index of the core is 1. The refractive index of core is non
uniform and step or abrupt change in uniform, the refractive index of core
refractive index takes place at the decreases parabolically from axis of the
interface of core and cladding in step fibre to its surface.
index fibres.
2. The light rays propagate in Zig-Zag 2. The light rays propagate in the form
manner inside the core. The rays travel of skew rays or helical rays. They will
in the fibre as meridional rays and they not cross the fibre axis.
crosses the fibre axis for every
3. Signal distortion is more in case of 3. Signal distortion is very low even
high angle rays in multi mode step though the rays travel with different
index fibre. In single mode step index speeds inside the fibre.
fibre. In single mode step index fibre
there is no distortion.
4. The band width is about 50MHz km 4. The band width of the fibre lies in
for multi mode step index fibre between 200 MHz to 600 MHz Km
whereas it is more than 1000 MHz Km even though theoretically it has infinite
in case of single mode step index fibre. band width.
5. Attenuation of light rays is more in 5. Attenuation of light rays is less in
multi mode step index fibres but for graded index fibres.
single mode step index fibres it is very
6. Numerical aperture of multimode 6. Numerical aperture of graded index
step index fibre is more whereas in fibres is less.
single mode step index fibres it is very

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Dennis Gabor developed the theory of holography in 1947 the word
‘holo’ means complete, full and “graphy” means recording. Hence holography
means recoding of the complete in formation of an object. A photography
represents a two dimensional recording of a three dimensional seen. I.e. it gives
the view of a particular plane and details of the field nearer and farther than the
focused will not be recorded. The photography records only the intensity
distribution in a particular plane.
Between the object and observer, if the amplitude and phase distribution
in any plane is recorded then it helps us to obtain the complete field of view as
originally observed. There type of recording is done in holography.

Making a hologram: The technique of holography consists of two operations

(1) Optical analysis (i.e.) making a hologram of the object. (2) Optical synthesis
(i.e.) reconstructing the image of the original object. Both operations can be
performed by light of same wave length.

Principle of holography:
It can be explained in two ways
(1) Recording of hologram
(2) Reconstructing the image

1. Recording of hologram:
Fig shows the arrangement for recording a hologram. First of all the laser
beam is divided in to two parts ( part-1 and part-2). The second beam
illuminates the object the diffracted
(or) scattered beam fall on the
photographic plate P The first beam
(reference beam) is reflected on the
photographic plate by means of a
plane mirror M. In this way the film
is exposed simultaneously to
reference beam and diffracted
beam. Since both the beams belong
to same laser. The beams interfere
on the plate. Thus we obtain a
complicated interference pattern on
the film. This film is called hologram the hologram consist of numerous points
making up the mage on photographic plate.
The hologram given no hint regarding the image embedded in it but it
contains information not only about the amplitude but also about the phase of
the object.

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2. Reconstruction of image from hologram :

Fig shows the arrangement to reconstruct the image from the hologram. This is
a reverse process of making hologram.
The hologram is illuminated by a single beam from laser the beam is
identical to the reference beam used during the formation of hologram
The hologram now act as a complex grating and diffracts the light so in the
direct direction of the beam we get zero order giving no information the reason
is that the laser beam passed
though the hologram has only
amplitude of the waves
originally diffracted by the
object when the hologram was
made. The object wave fronts
have thus been reconstructed.
Here it is important to note
that one of the diffracted
beams forms real image while
another forms a virtual image
as shown in the fig. By
moving the position of our eye, we can see different perspective of the object in
the image. The real image can be photographed without the aid of lenses just by
placing a light sensitive medium at the position of real image. The virtual image
has all the characteristics of the object.

Applications of holography

A hologram can be made not only with the light waves of a laser, but also with
sound waves and other waves in the electromagnetic spectrum. Holograms
made with –rays or ultraviolet light can record images of particles smaller than
visible light, such as atoms or molecules. Microwave holography detects images
deep in space by recording the radio waves they emit. Acoustical holography
uses sound waves to see through solid objects.

Holography’s unique ability to record and reconstruct both light and

sound waves makes it a valuable tool for industry, science, business and
education. The following are some applications.
1. Double exposed holograms (holographic interferometer) provide
researchers with Crucial heat transfer data for the safe design of
containers used to transport or store nuclear materials.
2. A telephone credit card used in Europe has embossed surface
holograms which carry a monetary value. When the card is inserted

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into the telephone, a card reader discerns the amount due and deducts
(erases) the appropriate amount to cover the cost of the call.
3. Supermarket scanners read the bar codes on merchandise for the
stores Computer by using a holographic lens system to direct laser
light onto the product labels during checkout.
4. Holography is used to depict the shock wave made by air foils to
locate the areas of highest stress. These holograms are used to
improve the design of aircraft wings and turbine blades.
5. A holographic lens is used in an aircraft “heads-up display” to allow a
fighter pilot to see critical cockpit instruments while looking straight
ahead through the windscreen. Similar systems are being researched
by several automobile manufactures.
6. Magical, totally unique and lots of fun-candy holograms are the
ultimate snack Technology. Chocolates and lollipops have been
transformed into holographic works of art by molding the candy s
surface into tiny, prism –like ridges, it is broken into a rainbow of
brilliant iridescent co lour that display 3-D images.
7. Holography is ideal for archival recording of valuables or fragile
museum artifacts.
8. Scientists at Polaroid Crop have developed a holographic reflector
that promises to make color LCDs whiter and brighter. The secret lies
in a transmission hologram that sits behind an LCD and reflects
ambient light to produce a white background.
9. The arrival of the first prototypical optical computes, which use
holograms as storage material for data, could have a dramatic impact
on the overall holography market. The yet-to-be-unveiled optical
computers will be able to deliver trillions of bits of information faster
than the current generation of computers.
10. Independent projects at IBM and at NASA’s Jet propulsion
Laboratory have demonstrated the use of holograms to locate and
retrieve information without knowing its address in a storage
medium, but by knowing some of its content.
11. To better understand marine phytoplankton, researches have
developed an undersea holographic camera that generates in-line and
off-axis holograms of the organisms. A computer controlled stage
moves either a video camera or a microscope through the images and
the organism can be measured as they were in their undersea
12. Sony Electronics uses a hologram in its digital camera. A Sony-
exclusive laser focusing system achieves accurate focus on subjects
with little contrast in dark conditions. It projects a visible Class-1
laser hologram pattern directly unto the subject so the camera can

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