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Signal Degradation In
Optical Fiber
Attenuation
2
Degradation Mechanisms in OF
Attenuation Distortion
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Attenuation
Power loss along a fiber:








P(z) is signal power at any distance z.
P(0) is signal power launched in fiber.
is fiber Attenuation coefficient and l is length of fiber.
Z=0
P(0) mW
Z= l

l
p
e P l P
o
= ) 0 ( ) ( mw
z
p
e P z P
o
= ) 0 ( ) (
[1]
(

=
) (
) 0 (
log 10
l P
P
l p o [2]
p
o
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Fiber loss in dB/km
The parameter is called fiber attenuation coefficient
in a units of [dB/km] that is defined by:



[3]
p
o
(

=
) (
) 0 (
log
10
] dB/km [
l P
P
l
o
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Transmission of Light through Fiber
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Operating Wavelengths
First optical fiber proposed with the losses of
1000 dB/km in existing glass as compared to 5-10
db/km in coaxial cable.
It developed successfully in 1970, with
attenuation of about 20dB/km.
This improvement was due to the removal of
contamination in glass used.
Which employ compact GaAs semiconductor
lasers.
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First Generation of Optical Communication
The first commercial system was developed, in
1977.
Operating wavelength around 0.8 m.
With GaAs semiconductor lasers.
At a bit rate of 45 Mb/s.
Repeater spacing of up to 10 km.
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Second Generation of Optical Communication
Launched in early 1980s.
Operating wavelength around 1.3 m.
With InGaAsP semiconductor lasers.
In 1981 the single-mode fiber was developed.
With further research continued upto 1987.
At a bit rate of 1.7 Gb/s.
Repeater spacing of up to 50 km.
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Third Generation of Optical Communication
Operating wavelength around 1.55 m.
The pulse spreading is controlled by using
dispersion-shifted fiber.
It is the lowest attenuation range of about 0.2
dB/km.
With InGaAsP semiconductor lasers.
At a bit rate of 2.5 Gb/s.
Repeater spacing of up to 100 km.
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Fourth Generation of Optical Communication
Operating wavelength around 1.55 m.
Employ optical amplification.
With Wavelength-Division-Multiplexing.
Bit rate reached at 10 Tb/s in 2001.
Presently it is operating at 14Tb/s.
Repeater spacing of up to 160 km.
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Fifth Generation of Optical Communication
It will be the next generation.
Major concentration is on increasing the window
size of operation wavelength.
Trying to use dispersion flattened fibers.
Other developments include the concept of
optical solitons.
Pulses that preserve their shape by counteracting
the effects of dispersion.
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Types of Attenuation
Absorption Loss:
Caused by the fiber itself or by impurities in the fiber.
Scattering Loss:
It is due to the fiber material & structural imperfection.
Radiative losses:
Loss induced by fiber geometry & structure.
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Material Losses
Absorption is related to the material composition &
fabrication process of fiber.
Photons can make the valence electrons of an atom transition to
higher energy levels.
This energy can then
Be re-emitted (scattering)
Frees the electron (photoelectric effects) (not in fibers)
Dissipated to the rest of the material (transformed into heat)
In an optical fiber optical power is effectively converted to heat
dissipation within the fiber.
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Types of Absorption

Two types of Absorption mechanisms exist:

1- Intrinsic absorption by basic constituent atoms of fiber
material.
2- Extrinsic absorption by impurity atoms in glass material

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Intrinsic Absorption
It is caused by interaction of light with glass.
Natural property of any substance.

Intrinsic absorption is very strong in the short-wavelength
ultraviolet region of electromagnetic spectrum.
Its effect decreases with increase in wavelength and becomes very
less in operating wavelength region.
It contributes very little in the loss.
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Extrinsic Absorption
Extrinsic absorption is much more significant than
intrinsic.
Caused by impurities introduced into the fiber material during
manufacturing.
Two types of impurities are prominent.
1. Transition metal ions as Iron, nickel, cobalt, copper and chromium.
2. Dissolved water in the glass, as the hydroxyl or OH ion.
Caused by transition of ions to a higher energy level associated in
impurity atoms.
Also due to the charge transition from one ion to another.
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Common Metallic Impurities in Silica Fiber
Peak attenuation wavelength and the attenuation caused by an impurity
concentration of 1 in 10
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Extrinsic Absorption (OH ions)
The Absorption Spectrum of hydroxyl (OH) Group in Silica

It gives rise to absorption overtones at 720, 950 and 1380 nm.
Narrow windows at 800, 1310 nm and 1550 nm exist which are unaffected by
this type of absorption.
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Scattering Losses in Fiber
Scattering is absorption of light by the molecules followed by its
re-radiation.
All or some of the optical power in a mode is transferred into
other mode. Frequently causes attenuation, since the transfer is
often to a leaky or radiation mode.
It occurs due to the variation in material composition like density.
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Types of Scattering Loss in Fiber
Scattering
Linear
Scattering
Non-Linear
Scattering
Rayleigh
Scattering
Mie
Scattering
Stimulated
Brillouin
Scattering
Stimulated
Raman
Scattering
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Linear Scattering
The process of power transfer in linear.
The frequency/wavelength of light doesnt change.
Results as attenuation of transmitted power.
This due to the non-ideal physical properties of fiber.
Arise due to the density & compositional variation which are
frozen into the glass lattice on cooling.
Compositional variation can be reduced by improved
fabrication processes.
Density fluctuations are fundamental & cannt be avoided.
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Rayleigh Scattering
Dominant scattering mechanism in low absorption
window of silica fibers.
Wavelength dependent process.
Scattering causes by inhomogeneities in the glass, of a
size smaller than 1/10
th
of wavelength.
Inhomogeneities manifested as refractive index
variations, present in the glass after manufacture.
It results light in almost all the directions.
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Rayleigh loss falls off as a function of the fourth power of
wavelength:
4
1

o
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For single component glass it is given as:
n is refractive of medium.

R
is Rayleigh scattering coefficient.
p is average photoelastic coefficient.
c is the isothermal compressibility at fictive temperature (T
f
).
K is boltzmanns constant in J/K.
The transmission loss factor due to Rayleigh scattering
is given by:
f c R
KT p n |

2 8
4
3
3
8
=
l
R
R
e L

=
(1)
(2)
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In exp (1) for any specific fiber cable


Rayleigh coefficient falls off as a function of the fourth power of
wavelength:
4

r
km
A
L =
The Rayleigh scattering coefficient Ar depends:
-The fibre refractive index profile
-The doping used to achieve a given core refractive index
For a step index germanium doped fiber Ar is given by:
Ar = 0.63 + 2.06(NA)
For a graded index near-parabolic profile fiber Ar is given by:
Ar = 0.63 + 1.75(NA)
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Mie Scattering
Linear scattering due to the inhomogeinities of size
comparable to the guided wavelength.

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Occurs due to the non-perfect cylindrical structure of
waveguide.
Fiber imperfection results because of:
Irregularities in core-cladding interface.
Non-uniform core-cladding RI difference.
Diameter fluctuations.
Strains and bubbles.
The scattering results light mainly in forward direction.
Mie scattering can be reduced to insignificant level by
Removing imperfections in glass manufacturing process.
Providing coating to the fiber.
Increasing fiber guidance by increasing relative RI difference.
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Nonlinear Scattering
The optical power is transferred in forward or backward
direction to the same or other modes at different
frequency.

It depends on optical power density within the fiber.

Becomes significant above certain threshold power level.
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Stimulated Brillouin Scattering
It can be considered as modulation of light through
molecular vibration within the fiber.
The scattered light appears as lower and upper sidebands,
which are separated from incident light by modulation
frequency.
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Stimulated Brillouin Scattering
It can be considered as modulation of light through
molecular vibration within the fiber.
The incident photon produce a scattered photon at
acoustic frequency.
This results a frequency shift.
Threshold power in this scattering for source bandwidth
of v GHz is given by:
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Stimulated Raman Scattering
It is similar to the Stimulated Brillouin Scattering except
that a high frequency optical photon is generated rather
then an acoustic photon.
Here threshold power is higher then Stimulated Brillouin
Scattering for particular fiber.
Threshold power in this scattering is given by:

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Radiative losses
It is the leakage of light from fiber.
It takes place whenever fiber under goes a bend of
finite radius of curvature.

It is of two types:
Macrobanding losses
Microbanding losses
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Macrobending
The curvature of the
bend is much larger
than fiber diameter.

Lightwave suffers
sever loss due to
radiation of the
evanescent field in the
cladding region.
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As the radius of the curvature decreases, the loss
increases exponentially until it reaches at a certain critical
radius.
2
3
2
2
2
1
2
1
) ( 4
3
n n
n
R
c

=
t

For any radius a bit smaller than this point, the losses
suddenly becomes extremely large.
Higher order modes radiate away faster than lower order
modes.
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(
(

|
|
.
|

\
|
+
A
+
=
3
2
2
2
3 2
2
2
kR n R
a
i M M
eff
o
o
Total number of modes supported by any fiber with bend
of radius R can be given as:
Macroband losses can be reduced by:
Designing fiber with large relative RI difference.
Operating at shorter wavelengths.
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Microbending Loss
Microscopic bends are
repetitive small-scale
fluctuations in the
radius of fiber axis.
Arises due to
nonuniformities in
manufacturing.
Nonuniform lateral
pressure created
during cabling of fiber.

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Also called as cabling or packaging loss.
The power is dissipated because of the repetitive coupling
of energy between guided modes & the leaky or radiation
modes in the fiber.
Can be minimized by providing compressive jacket over
the fiber.
Reduction in loss is given as:
(
(

|
.
|

\
|
A + =
j
f
m
E
E
a
b
F
4
2
1 ) ( t o
b is outer radius of jacket, Ef &Ej are Youngs modulus of fiber and
jecket material.
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Exercise:
1. Silica has an estimated fictive temperature of 1400 K with an
isothermal compressibility of 7x10
-11
. the RI and photoelastic
coefficient for silica are 1.46 and 0.286 respectively. Calculate
attenuation in dbs, at wavelengths 0.63, 1.00 and 1.30 m.
Boltzmenns constant is 1.381x10
-23
J/K.

2. Show that for a graded index fibre with a numerical aperture of
0.275 operating at 1330 nm the Rayleigh scattering loss is
approximately 0.36 dB/km.