You are on page 1of 13

Physics for Kids

mocomi.com/learn/science/physics/

FIBRE OPTICS

F UN FOR ME!

Copyright 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

FIBRE OPTICS

FIBRE OPTICS

You may have heard about fibre optics but the name
itself does not decsribe much about this fascinating
technology.
The term is used to refer to the
technology where the energy
of light is harnessed to transmit data, much like you would
use an electric impulse in a
copper wire.
Since light travels at the speed of 300,000 kms per
second, fibre optic technology has greatly reduced the
speed at which information can be sent and received.
F UN FOR ME!

Copyright 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

OPTICAL FIBRES

FIBRE OPTICS

An optical fibre is a semi-flexible, transparent, and


extremely thin strand of pure glass that has the
diameter of a human hair.
Thousands of these strands are arranged in bundles to
make a thicker cable. Since glass is optically transparent
we are able to send informationladen rays of light over long
distances.
A fibre optic cable is made up of five
parts:
Strands of glass that are bundled together to make one single channel
F UN FOR ME!

Copyright 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

FIBRE OPTICS

of light called makes up the core. The diameter of the


core dictates how much information can be sent and
received at once.
A protective sheath or coating around any structure or
material is known as the cladding. In fibre optic cables
the silica cladding increases the total internal reflection
of the core.
Therefore a light pulse can
pass through the entire
length of the fibre with
little data loss.
F UN FOR ME!

Copyright 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

FIBRE OPTICS

A layer of plastic surrounds the


core and cladding to reinforce the
fibre core.
The coating provides extra
protection and prevents the cable
from bending too much.
The strengthening fibres around
the coating give added support to
the coating especially when it
comes to stretching tension.
F UN FOR ME!

Copyright 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

FIBRE OPTICS

Finally all this is covered in the cable jacket like any


other cable or wire.
The only part of a fibre optic cable that carries data
is the tiny core in the centre but it has layer upon layer
of protection because glass is extremely brittle and in
order for it to function at its best, there can be no breaks
in the fibre at all.
Add to that the high cost of producing them and you
will know why every precaution must be taken to
prevent damage.
F UN FOR ME!

Copyright 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

TOTAL INTERNAL
REFLECTION

FIBRE OPTICS

If you shine a torch down a long hallway, you will see


that light travels in straight lines to the end of the
hallway.
Now if there was a bend in the hallway, you could put a
mirror at the bend and light would be reflected to
change direction and continue down the bend.
But what if this hallway had
many twists and turns and it was
up to you to shine light from
where you are standing to the
end of the hallway?
F UN FOR ME!

Copyright 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

FIBRE OPTICS

You could set up an elaborate system of mirrors so that


light will keep reflecting until it reaches the end.
A fibre optic cable is able to do this, not with the help of
an elaborate set-up of mirrors, but because of the
phenomenon of total internal reflection. Think of the
cladding as the many mirrors along the walls of the
hallway of fibre continuously reflecting light. In this
way the light is contained within the core and
continues along its
path inside the cable
without degrading.
F UN FOR ME!

Copyright 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

HOW IT WORKS

FIBRE OPTICS

The first step in relaying information over a fibre optic


cable is the transmitter.
The transmitter is responsible for converting an
electrical digital signal into a light signal. It imprints the
information onto the light as changes in intensity and
pulse rate.
If the ray has to travel a long distance, it will have to
pass through an optical regenerator. This nifty device
re-boosts the strength of the ray by copying the
message and sending a duplicate onward to its
destination. A message may have to pass through
multiple optical regenrators along its path.
F UN FOR ME!

Copyright 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

FIBRE OPTICS

Finally the ray of light, with the message imprinted


on it arrives at the optical receiver. Here it is decoded
back into a binary digital format.

USES
The most common use of fibre optics is in the field of
communication.
Massive amounts of data is sent and received over
networks of fibre optic cables for various industries
such as cable television, phones, and the internet.

F UN FOR ME!

Copyright 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

FIBRE OPTICS

Since these cables are able to


bend, doctors use them
during surgery to shine light
inside parts of the body
which are hard to reach.
Fibre optic scopes are also
used by engineers and mechanics to throw light onto
parts of machines with a lot of twists and bends where
light cannot easily travel.
It is also used for imaging in hard to reach areas or
places with extreme conditions such as deep
underground, under the sea or inside the body.
F UN FOR ME!

Copyright 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

FIBRE OPTICS

CONCLUSION
Fibre
optic
cables
have
communications industry.

transformed

the

Before its invention, we relied on copper wires carrying


electrical signals.
Data would diminish while traveling over the ancestors
of fibre optic cables and
sometimes even get lost completely.
These
flexible,
light-weight,
non-flammable,
low-power cables may be expensive but are definitely
worth their weight in salt.
F UN FOR ME!

Copyright 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

FIBRE OPTICS

PROJECT

How does a binary signal differ from an analog signal?


Doctors use fibre optic scopes when they perform a
particular type of surgery called a laproscopy. Can you
find out what this
technique of surgery is and how a fibre optic scope is
beneficial?
Find out whether total internal reflection is possible
with materials other than glass.

Image Source: www.wikipedia.org


All images are public domain, sourced from the wikipedia commons

For more such fun physics articles and videos, visit:

F UN FOR ME!

mocomi.com/learn/science/physics/

Copyright 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.