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Optical Fiber

What is an optical fiber?


• Optical fibers are very fine fibers of glass.
• Usually glass “core” ---- size -----roughly 50 micrometres (diameter)
glass "cladding" ---- size ------ 120 micrometres (diameter).
• They make use of total internal reflection to confine light within the
core of the fiber.
Structure of a Fibre
• The core has a higher refractive index than the cladding. --- TIR.

• The cladding is not just a mere covering but controls critical angle.

• Optical Fibres are optical waveguides. So optical fibres can be


used to make light bend round corners
What is an optical fiber (continued)
• Fiber ---- Buffer coating (for protection ) ---- PVC loose
tube (fiber to flex and bend) ---------- Kevlar yarn
strength member (absorbs most of the strain) ---------
Finally, a PVC outer jacket (prevents from moisture).
The Optical Fiber: Other Types of Fibers
• Single Mode fiber---- small core diameter ------ Glass,
Silica, ----- data transmission for long distance --- losses
are less
• Multi mode fiber ------- Large core diameter ----- Glass,
silica ----- high power lasers and sensors, such as
medical laser-surgery

• All-plastic fibers (multi mode)


– Useful for very short data links with in equipment because it may
be used with relatively inexpensive LEDs.
– An isolation system for use as part of a high voltage power
supply.
Standard Single-Mode (SM)
Fiber core
Fiber
SiO2+ GeO2
Ø 10 μm
n ≅ 1.443

SiO2 Cladding
Ø 125 μm
n ≅ 1.44

Primary coating (soft)


Ø 400 μm

Secondary coating (hard)


Ø 1 mm
Optical Fibers in brief

• An optical fiber consists of a high-index glass


core in a low-index glass sheath
• When light tries to leave the high-index core at
a shallow angle, it experiences total internal
reflection
• Light bounces endlessly through the core and
emerges from the end of the fiber
• If the glass is pure and perfect enough, the
light may travel for many kilometers through
the fiber
History of Fiber optics
During 1930, ideas were developed with this fiber
optic such as transmitting images through a fiber.
• During the 1960s, Lasers were introduced as
efficient light sources
• In 1970s , All plastic fibers experienced excessive
optical loss. This motivated the scientists to develop
glass fibers.
• Applications such as medical environment to the
broadcasting industry. It is used to transmit voice,
television, images and data signals through small
flexible threads of glass or plastic.
The idea was developed in 1930 then why it
is implemented in 1970-1980
• Interest in the use of light as a carrier for
information grew in the 1960's with the advent of
the laser as a source of coherent light.
• Initially the transmission distances were very
short, but as manufacturing techniques for very
pure glass arrived in 1970, it became feasible to
use optical fibres as a practical transmission
medium.
• At the same time developments in semi-
conductor light sources and detectors meant that
by 1980 world wide installation of fibre optic
communication systems had been achieved.
Reflection & refraction

n2<n1 ϕ2 n2<n1 n2<n1


θ2
θ1 θ1 θ1= θc
ϕ1 ϕ1 >ϕc
n1 n1 ϕc n1

Snell’s law Critical angle Total internal


n1 sin ϕ1 = n2 sin ϕ 2 n reflection
sin ϕ c = 2
n1
n1 cos θ1 = n2 cos θ 2
n
cos θ c = 2
n1
Total Internal Reflection
Propagation of light in optical fiber

θA= Acceptance angle

φC φC
Show that Numerical Aperture NA = n0 sin θ A = n12 − n22

Multimode fiber sin ϕ c =


n2
Critical angle:
n0 n1
n0 n2
θA n1 Maximum entrance angle:
n1
θr φc sin θ A,max = sin θ r
n0

NA ≡ n0 sin θ A,max = n1 sin θ r = n1 cos ϕ c = n1 1 − sin 2 ϕ c = n1 − n2


2 2

if n1 ≈ n2 = n :
NA = n1 − n2 ≈ n 2Δ
2 2
n1 − n2 n1 − n2
2 2
Δ≡ 2

n1
2n1
If NA = 0.1 ⇒ θ A,max ≈ 6°
Where ∆ is called fractional refractive index change
Modes & Rays
θ2 θ1 θ0
waveguide

m=0 m=1 m=2

k x ,m =
(m + 1)π ⎛ k x ,m ⎞
θ m = sin ⎜⎜ −1
⎟⎟
d ⎝ nk 0 ⎠
V-parameter
• V number: determines how many modes a
fiber supports

V=
2π a
λ
(n
1
2
− n2 =
2
) 2π a
λ
NA

• Single-mode fiber: V ≤ 2.405


Number of modes
• Number of modes in step-index fiber

1 ⎛ 2πa ⎞ 2
( )
2 2
V
M≈ ⎜ ⎟ n1 − n2 =
2

2⎝ λ ⎠ 2
Dispersion in Fiber Optics

• Dispersion occurs when photons from the same


light pulse take slight different paths along the
optical fiber.
• Because some paths will be longer or shorter
than other paths.
• The photons will arrive at different times thus
smearing the shape of the pulse.
Dispersion Continued …
„ Normal fiber optic cable is called
multimode because photons can take
different paths along it.
„ The more expensive monomode fibre optic
overcomes dispersion by having a core so
thin that the light can only take one path
along it.
Dispersion in a fiber
L
(Model)
The critical angle B
ABC=φC A
n1 C
n2 Output pulse
Input pulse
AB AC.ncore
Time taken by a ray from A to B t AB = = , c is speed
c c. sin ϕ c of light
ncore
L.ncore
hence for complete length L tL = ...........(1)
c. sin ϕ c

Therefore (t L )min =
L.ncore
...........(1) as sin ϕ c = 1
c
and (t L )max =
L.ncore ncore n
. ...........(1) as sin ϕ c = core
c nclad nclad
L.ncore ⎛ ncore ⎞
Finally time delay Δt L = (t L )max − (t L )min = ⎜⎜ − 1⎟⎟
c ⎝ nclad ⎠
Attenuation loss
L
Pin Pout

10 ⎛ Pin ⎞
Attenuation loss α = log10 ⎜⎜ ⎟⎟ dB / km
per unit length L ⎝ Pout ⎠

Example
Pin=5mW Pout=30µW

L=40 km
Determine Attenuation per unit length α ( dB/km)

Answer: 0.56 dB/km


Types of Optical Fiber
• Glass fiber
– Step Index Fiber
• Single mode (SM Fiber)
• Multimode (MM Fiber)
– Graded Index Fiber
• Plastic fiber
Types of Optical Fiber

Optical fibers are the actual media that guides the light

Step Index Multimode fiber Step Index Single Mode

GRIN Multimode fiber


nclad
SM
Single-Mode
Step
function

MM-SI
Multi-Mode
Step
Step Index
function

MM-GI
Multi-Mode
Graded Index n(r)

α 1/ 2 refractive
⎡ ⎛ r ⎞ ⎤
n ( r ) = n 1 ⎢1 − 2 Δ ⎜ ⎟ ⎥ fo r r < a index
⎢⎣ ⎝ a ⎠ ⎥⎦ n1 = ncore(r=0)
( n 12 − n 22 ) n2 = nclad
n ( r ) = n 2 fo r r ≥ a , ∆
= 2
. a = Core radius
2 n1
r = 0 at centre
Optical communication systems
First Generation, ~1975, 0.8 μm
MM-fiber, GaAs-laser or LED

Second Generation, ~1980, 1.3 μm, MM & SM-fiber


InGaAsP FP-laser or LED

Third Generation, ~1985, 1.55 μm, SM-fiber


InGaAsP DFB-laser, ~ 1990 Optical amplifiers

Fourth Generation, 1996, 1.55 μm


WDM-systems
2 dB/cm
Attenuation

0.8 0.9 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8
Wavelength (μm)
The advantages of fiber optic over
wire cable
• Thinner
• Higher carrying capacity
• Less signal degradation
• Light signal
• Low power
• Flexible
• Non-flammable
• Lightweight
Disadvantage of fiber optic over
copper wire cable
• Optical fiber is more expensive per meter
than copper
• Optical fiber can not be join together as
easily as copper cable. It requires training
and expensive splicing and measurement
equipment.
Fiber materials

• Silica glass fiber


– starting material: pure silica (SiO2) in the form of
fused quartz (amorphous)
– modification of refractive index by addition of
impurities
• lowering refractive index : B2O3, F
• raising refractive index : P2O5, GeO2
• Polymer optical fiber (POF)
– large core (multimode)
– large refractive index difference between core and
cladding
– easy handling
– relatively high losses
Communication Issues
• Light must remain together during passage
– Dispersion and path differences are bad
– Use laser light (monochromatic)
– Use low-dispersion glass at its best wavelength
– Use narrow (single-mode) fiber
• Light attenuates during the trip
– Use low-loss glass
– Amplify the light periodically (Use repeaters)
– Use fiber laser amplifiers
Electromagnetic spectrum

• Optical communication wavelength: λ =


1500 nm
corresponds to
ν = c/λ ≈ 200 THz = 200.000 GHz
• 1% = 2 THz = 2000 GHz
• EDFA-bandwidth 30 nm ≈ 4 THz
Fiber attenuation (SiO2)

Rayleigh IR band edge


Attenuation (dB/km)

1.5
scattering
UV
1.0 absorption

OH--peak
0.5
0.16 dB/km
0.2

0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8
Wavelength (μm)