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Fiber Optics Research Paper Fiber optics is a branch of optics concerning the transmission of light by means of optical fibers which are thin strands of glass or other optically transparent materials Optical fibers can be used to guide light--which is electromagnetic radiation in a certain frequency range--in much the same way that metal wave guides or coaxial cables can be used to guide lower-frequency electromagnetic radiation Optical Fiber An optical fiber is usually circular in cross section and consists of a core and cladding An optical fiber for communication applications is typically between about 01 and 02mm 0004 and 0008 in in diameter In order that the light waves be guided by the fiber the core must have a higher index of refraction than the cladding One such fiber is called a step-index fiber because the index changes abruptly at the interface between the core and the cladding An important variation of this structure is the graded-index fiber so called because the index of refraction decreases smoothly outward from the center with no abrupt step Transmission of Light In the step-index fiber the light wave is guided by a process called total internal reflection Only rays that have an angle of incidence at the core-cladding interface greater than the critical angle will be reflected back into the core and thus guided by the fiber Some rays follow a longer path through the fiber than do others Thus a pulse of energy entering the fiber undergoes dispersion This effect limits the bandwidth of the fiber and reduces the amount of information it can transmit This undesirable feature can be partly overcome by the use of graded-index fibers of proper design Applications Fiber optics is used in several areas of telecommunications Advantages of optical fibers include their wide bandwidth low attenuation lightness
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