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I wish heartily Thanks to Indian Northern Railway to help us in making our Summer training a success in all. I want to specially thank to Mr. Yashvant Singh, Sr. D.S.T. in D.R.M. office who has been very supportive despite of his busy schedule. I express my sincere gratitude towards my project guide Mr. R. K. Verma, engineer in Control Department without whose expert guidance and facilitation, it would not have been possible to accomplish the project. His constant and judicious input during the project, timely advice and suggestions at various stages of the project helped in bringing out this report in this present form. I am also thankful to other officials of Control Department who showed confidence on me as a trainee and helped me to develop my technical skills by giving me full freedom to work with an open mind.


Centers of railway in India General overview of optical fiber Definition of optical fiber History of optical fiber Optical fiber communication Fiber optic sensors Principle of optical fiber Manufacturing of optical fiber Optical fiber cables Uses of optical fiber Benefits of optical fiber communication system Field of application Advantages of optical fiber Disadvantages of optical fiber


General overview of optical fiber

Like all other communication system, the primary objective of optical fiber communication system also is to transfer the signal containing information (voice, data, video) from the source to the destination. The general block diagram of optical fiber communication system is shown in the figure9. The source provides information in the form of electrical signal to the transmitter. The electrical stage of the transmitter drives an optical source to produce modulated light wave carrier. Semiconductor LASERs or LEDs are usually used as optical source here. The information carrying light wave then passes through the transmission medium i.e. optical fiber cables in this system. Now it reaches to the receiver stage where the optical detector demodulates the optical carrier and gives an electrical output signal to the electrical stage. The common types of optical detectors used are photodiodes (p-i-n, avalanche), phototransistors, photoconductors etc. Finally the electrical stage gets the real information back and gives it to the concerned destination.

Definition of optical fiber

Optical fiber is a dielectric waveguide or medium in which information (voice, data or video) is transmitted through a glass or plastic fiber, in the form of light. The basic structure of an optical fiber is shown in figure 1. It consists of a transparent core with a refractive index n1 surrounded by a transparent cladding of a slightly less refractive index n2. The refractive index of cladding is less than 1%, lower than that of core. Typical values for example are a core refractive index of 1.47 and a cladding index of 1.46. The cladding supports the waveguide structure, protects the core from absorbing surface contaminants and when adequately thick, substantially reduces the radiation loss to the surrounding air. Glass core fibers tend to have low loss in comparison with plastic core fibers. Additionally, most of the fibers are encapsulated in an elastic, abrasion-resistant plastic material which mechanically isolates the fibers from small geometrical irregularities and distortions. A set of guided electromagnetic waves, also called the modes of the waveguide, can describe the propagation of light along the waveguide. Only a certain number of modes are capable of propagating through the waveguide.




C Core C Cladding C Coating

History of optical fiber

The visible optical carrier waves or light has been commonly used for communication purpose for many years. Alexander Graham Bell transmitted a speech information using a light beam for the first time in 1880. Just after four years of the invention of the telephone Bell proposed his photophone which was capable of providing a speech transmission over a distance of 200m. In the year 1910 Hondros and Debye carried out a theoretical study and in 1920 Schriever reported an experimental work. Although in the early part of twentieth century optical communication was going through some research work but it was being used only in the low capacity communication links due to severe affect of disturbances in the atmosphere and lack of suitable optical sources. However, low frequency (longer wavelength) electromagnetic waves like radio and microwaves proved to be much more useful for information transfer in atmosphere, being far less affected by the atmospheric disturbances. The relative frequencies and their corresponding wavelengths can be known from the electromagnetic spectrum and it is understandable that optical frequencies offer an increase in the potential usable bandwidth by a factor of around 10000 over high frequency microwave transmission. With the LASER coming into the picture the research interest of optical communication got stimulation. A powerful coherent light beam together with the possibility of modulation at high frequencies was the key feature of LASER. Kao and Hock ham proposed the transmission of information via dielectric waveguides or optical fiber cables fabricated from glass almost simultaneously in 1966. In the earlier stage optical fibers exhibited very high attenuation (almost 1000 dB/km)which was incomparable with coaxial cables having attenuation of around 5 to 10dB/km. Nevertheless, within ten years optical fiber losses were reduced to below 5dB/km and suitable low loss jointing techniques were perfected as well. Parallely with the development of the optical fibers other essential optical components like semiconductor optical sources (i.e. injection LASERs and LEDs) and detectors (i.e. photodiodes and phototransistors) were also going through

rigorous research process. Primarily the semiconductor LASERs exhibited very short lifetime of at most a few hours but by 1973 and 1977 lifetimes greater than 1000 hr and 7000 hr respectively were obtained through advanced device structure. The first generation optical fiber links operated at around 850 nm range. Existing GaAs based optical sources, silicon photo detectors, and multimode fibers were used in these links and quiet understandably they suffered from intermodal dispersion and fiber losses. With the advent of optical sources and photo detectors capable of operating at 1300 nm, a shift in transmission wavelength from 850nm to 1300nm was possible which inturn resulted in a substantial increase in the repeaterless transmission distance for long haul telephone trunks. Systems operating at 1550nm provided lowest attenuation and these links routinely carry traffic at around 2.5Gb/s over 90 km repeaterless distance. The introduction of optical amplifiers like Erbium-doped fiber amplifiers (EDFA) and Praseodymium-doped fiber amplifiers (PDFA) had a major thrust to fiber transmission capacity. The use of Wavelength Division Multiplexing along with EDFA proved to be a real boost in fiber capacity. Hence developments in fiber technology have been carried out rapidly over recent years. Glass material for even longer wavelength operation in the mid-infrared (2000 to 5000nm) and far-infrared (8000 to 12000nm) regions have been developed. Furthermore, the implementation of active optoelectronic devices and associated fiber components (i.e. splices, connectors, couplers etc.) has also accelerated ahead with such speed that optical fiber communication technology would seem to have reached a stage of maturity within its developmental path.

Optical fiber communication

Optical fiber can be used as a medium for telecommunication and networking because it is flexible and can be bundled as cables. It is especially advantageous for long-distance communications, because light propagates through the fiber with little attenuation compared to electrical cables. This allows long distances to be spanned with few repeater. Additionally, the per-channel light signals propagating in the fiber can be modulated at rates as high as 111 gigabits per second although 10 or 40 Gb/s is typical in deployed systems. Each fiber can carry many independent channels, each using a different wavelength of light (wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM)). The net data rate (data rate without overhead bytes) per fiber is the per-channel data rate reduced by the FEC overhead, multiplied by the number of channels (usually up to eighty in commercial dense WDM systems as of 2008). The current laboratory fiber optic data rate record, held by Bell Labs in Villarceaux, France, is multiplexing 155 channels, each carrying 100 Gbps over a 7000 km fiber. Non-armored fiber cables do not conduct electricity, which makes fiber a good solution for protecting communications equipment located in high voltage environments such as power generation facilities, or metal communication structures prone to lightning strikes. They can also be used in environments where explosive fumes are present, without danger of ignition. Wiretapping is more difficult compared to electrical connections, and there are concentric dual core fibers that are said to be tap-proof. Although fibers can be made out of transparent plastic, glass, or a combination of the two, the fibers used in long-distance telecommunications applications are always glass, because of the lower optical attenuation. Both multi-mode and singlemode fibers are used in communications, with multi-mode fiber used mostly for short distances, up to 550 m (600 yards), and single-mode fiber used for longer distance links. Because of the tighter tolerances required to couple light into and between single-mode fibers (core diameter about 10 micrometers), single-mode

transmitters, receivers, amplifiers and other components are generally more expensive than multi-mode components.

Fiber optic sensors

Fibers have many uses in remote sensing. In some applications, the sensor is itself an optical fiber. In other cases, fiber is used to connect a non-fiberoptic sensor to a measurement system. Depending on the application, fiber may be used because of its small size, or the fact that no electrical power is needed at the remote location, or because many sensors can be multiplexed along the length of a fiber by using different wavelengths of light for each sensor, or by sensing the time delay as light passes along the fiber through each sensor. Time delay can be determined using a device such as an optical time-domain reflectometer. Optical fibers can be used as sensors to measure strain, temperature, pressure and other quantities by modifying a fiber so that the quantity to be measured modulates the intensity, phase, polarization, wavelength or transit time of light in the fiber. Sensors that vary the intensity of light are the simplest, since only a simple source and detector are required. A particularly useful feature of such fiber optic sensors is that they can, if required, provide distributed sensing over distances of up to one meter. Extrinsic fiber optic sensors use an optical fiber cable, normally a multi-mode one, to transmit modulated light from either a non-fiber optical sensor, or an electronic sensor connected to an optical transmitter. A major benefit of extrinsic sensors is their ability to reach places which are otherwise inaccessible. An example is the measurement of temperature inside aircraft jet engines by using a fiber to transmit radiation into a radiation pyrometer located outside the engine. Extrinsic sensors can also be used in the same way to measure the internal temperature of electrical transformers, where the extreme electromagnetic fields present make other measurement techniques impossible. Extrinsic sensors are used to measure vibration, rotation, displacement, velocity, acceleration, torque, and twisting.

Principle of optical fiber

This is the most interesting thing about optical fiber cables. Such an indispensable part of modern day communication system works on an extremely simple property of light ray i.e. Total Internal Reflection. As we all know that when light ray is passing from denser (refractive index is higher) dielectric medium to a rarer (refractive index is lower) dielectric medium then from the point of incidence at the interface it bends away from the normal. When the incidence angle is sufficiently high such that the angle of refraction is 90 then it is called critical angle. Now if light ray falls at the interface of the two mediums at an angle greater than the critical angle then the light ray gets reflected back to the originating medium with high efficiency (around 99.9%) i.e. total internal reflection occurs. With the help of innumerable total internal reflections light waves are propagated along the fiber with low loss as shown in figure2. In this context, two parameters are very crucial namely Acceptance Angle and Numerical Aperture.

Low Index Cladding Core Axis

High Index Core

Acceptance angle is the maximum angle at which light may enter the fiber in order to be propagated and is denoted by a in figure3. The relationship between the acceptance angle and the refractive indices of the three media involved-core, cladding and air, leads to the definition of Numerical Aperture which is given by NA = (n1-n2) = n0 sin a of air. The light ray shown in figure3 is known as a meridional ray as it passes through the axis of the fiber. However, another category of ray exists which where n0 is the refractive index


is transmitted without passing through the fiber axis and follows a helical path through the fiber.


a (> c )

E Eventually loss by radiation C Core C Cladding


h half angle


C Cone

Modes in optical fibers : The electromagnetic wave theory must be taken into account for getting an improved model for propagation of light through optical fibers. The optical waveguide can be considered to be either a planer guide or a cylindrical guide. Electromagnetic field comprises of a periodically varying electric field E and magnetic field M which are oriented at right angle to each other. When the electric field is perpendicular to the direction of propagation and hence Ez=0, but a corresponding magnetic field component is in the direction of propagation, that mode is known as Transverse Electric (TE) mode. But when the reverse thing happens then it is termed as Transverse Magnetic (TM) mode. Now when total field lies in the transverse plane, Transverse electromagnetic (TEM) waves exist where both Ez and Hz are zero. The formation of modes in a planer dielectric guide and the interference of plane waves are shown in figure4. Here the stable field distribution in the x direction with only a periodic z dependence due to sinusoidally varying electric field in z direction is known as a mode. In a cylindrical fiber


transverse electric (TE) and transverse magnetic (TM) modes are obtained which is bounded in two dimensions. Thus two integers (l & m) are necessary to specify the modes. Hybrid modes may also occur in the cylindrical fibers. These modes result from skew ray propagation and are designated by HElm when H makes a larger contribution to the transverse field and EHlm when E makes larger contribution to the transverse field.

Transmission Characteristics of Optical Fiber Cables: The transmission characteristics of optical fiber cables play a major role in determining the performance of the entire communication system. Attenuation and bandwidth are the two most important transmission characteristics when the suitability of optical fiber for communication is analysed. The various attenuation mechanisms are linear scattering, non linear scattering, material absorption and fiber bends etc. The bandwidth determines the number of bits of information transmitted in a given time period and is largely limited by signal dispersion within the fiber. Figure 4.
Wave vector Wave vector P Equiphase plane Q X direction (transverse ) Electri c field

Claddin g Electric field

Z direction

Attenuation in Optical Fibers : Attenuation is defined as the loss of optical power over a set distance, a fiber with a lower attenuation, will allow more power to reach to the receiver than a fiber with 12

higher attenuation. Signal attenuation within optical fiber is usually expressed in decibel per unit length (i.e. dB/km). Loss in decibel (dB) = 10 log(Pi/Po) where Pi and Po are the transmitted and output optical power respectively. Figure shows optical fiber attenuation as a function of wavelength.




50 Early


Attenuation (dB/Km)

20 10 5.0 2.0

Second window 1980s Third window

1.0 0.5 0.2 0.1 600 800 1000 1200 Wavelength (nm) 1400 1600 1800


Linear scattering losses : Through this mechanism a portion/total optical power within one propagating mode is transferred to another. Now when the transfer takes place to a leaky or radiation mode then the result is attenuation. It can be divided into two major categories namely Mie scattering and Rayleigh scattering. Mie Scattering :


Non perfect cylindrical structure of the fiber and imperfections like irregularities in the core-cladding interface, diameter fluctuations, strains and bubbles may create linear scattering which is termed as Mie scattering. Rayleigh Scattering : The dominant reason behind Rayleigh scattering is refractive index fluctuations due to density and compositional variation in the core. It is the major intrinsic loss mechanism in the low impedance window. Rayleigh scattering can be reduced to a large extent by using longest possible wavelength. Non linear scattering losses : Specially at high optical power levels scattering causes disproportionate attenuation, due to non linear behaviour. Because of this non linear scattering the optical power from one mode is transferred in either the forward or backward direction to the same, or other modes, at different frequencies. The two dominant types of non linear scattering are : a) Stimulated Brillouin Scattering and b) Stimulated Raman Scattering. Material Absorption losses : When there happens to be some defect in the material composition and the fabrication process of optical fiber, there is dissipation of optical power in the form of heat in the waveguide. Here also there are two types of absorption losses in the fiber such as intrinsic absorption and extrinsic absorption. When the absorption is caused by interaction with one or more components of glass it is termed as intrinsic absorption whereas if it is due to impurities within the glass like transition metal or water then it is called the extrinsic one. Dispersion : It is defined as the spreading of the light pulses as they travel down the fiber. Because of the spreading effect, pulse tend to overlap, making them unreadable by


the receiver which is a critical problem to deal with. It creates distortion for both digital and analog transmission. Dispersion limits the maximum possible bandwidth attainable within a particular fiber. Pulse broadening is a very common problem created by dispersion in digital transmission. To avoid it, the digital bit rate must be less than the reciprocal of the broadened pulse duration.

Intermodal Dispersion : The propagation delay difference between different modes within multimode fibers is responsible for intermodal dispersion and hence pulse broadening. In fact, the different group velocities with which the modes travel through the fiber creates the main problem. Multimode step index fibers exhibit a large amount of intermodal dispersion whereas in a pure single mode fiber there is no intermodal dispersion. By adopting an optimum refractive index profile (parabolic profile in most graded index fibers), we can drastically reduce intermodal dispersion. Intramodal Dispersion : This type of dispersion takes place due to the fact that optical sources do not emit a single frequency but a band of frequencies and there happens to be propagation delay differences between these spectral components. This kind of pulse broadening occurs in almost every type of optical fibers. When the dispersive characteristics of the waveguide material are responsible for the delay differences then its known as material dispersion. On the other hand if imperfect guidance effect is behind the pulse broadening then its termed as waveguide dispersion. There is almost zero waveguide dispersion in multimode fibers. Fiber bending losses : Light energy gets radiated at the bends on their path through the fiber and eventually is lost. This is the mechanism known as fiber bend losses. There are two types bending causing this loss namely micro bending and macro bending. If the fiber is sharply bent so that the light traveling down the fiber can not make the turn


and gets lost then its macro bending as shown in figure 6(a). When small bends in the fiber created by crushing, contraction etc causes the loss then it is called micro bending as shown in figure 6(b). These bends are not usually visible with naked eye.

Types of Optical Fibers : According to the refractive index profile optical fibers can be divided into two categories namely Step index fibers and Graded index fibers which are described below.

Step index fibers : If the refractive index profile of a fiber makes a step change at the core cladding interface then it is known as step index fiber. A multimode step index fiber is shown in figure7(a), the core diameter of which is around 50m. Some physical parameters like relative refractive index, index difference, core radius etc determines the maximum number of guided modes possible in a multimode fiber. A single mode fiber has a core diameter of the order of 2 to 10m and the propagation of light wave is shown in figure7(b). It has the distinct advantage of low intermodal dispersion over multimode step index fiber. On the other hand multimode step index fibers allow the use of spatially incoherent optical sources and low tolerance requirements on fiber connectors.


Refractive Index n(r)

n n Core Cladding (a)

n(r) a n n (b) Core Cladding

Graded index fibers : The graded index fibers have decreasing core index n(r) with radial distance from a maximum value of n1 at the axis to a constant value n2 beyond the core radius a in the cladding as shown in figure8. The graded index fiber gives best results for multimode optical propagation for parabolic refractive index profile. Due to this special kind of refractive index profile multimode graded index fibers exhibit less intermodal dispersion than its counterpart i.e. multimode step index fibers.

Manufacturing of optical fiber

Materials Glass optical fibers are almost always made from silica, but some other materials, such as fluorozirconate, fluoroaluminate, and chalcogenide glasses, are used for


longer-wavelength infrared applications. Like other glasses, these glasses have a refractive index of about 1.5. Typically the difference between core and cladding is less than one percent. Plastic optical fibers (POF) are commonly step-index multi-mode fibers with a core diameter of 0.5 millimeters or larger. POF typically have higher attenuation coefficients than glass fibers, 1 dB/m or higher, and this high attenuation limits the range of POF-based systems. Silica

Tetrahedral structural unit of silica (SiO2).

The amorphous structure of glassy silica (SiO2). No long-range order is present, however there is local ordering with respect to the tetrahedral arrangement of oxygen (O) atoms around the silicon (Si) atoms. 18

Silica exhibits fairly good optical transmission over a wide range of wavelengths. In the near-infrared (near IR) portion of the spectrum, particularly around 1.5m, silica can have extremely low absorption and scattering losses of the order of 0.2 dB/km. A high transparency in the 1.4-m region is achieved by maintaining a low concentration of hydroxyl groups (OH). Alternatively, a high OH concentration is better for transmission in the ultraviolet (UV) region. Silica can be drawn into fibers at reasonably high temperatures, and has a fairly broad glass transformation range. One other advantage is that fusion splicing and cleaving of silica fibers is relatively effective. Silica fiber also has high mechanical strength against both pulling and even bending, provided that the fiber is not too thick and that the surfaces have been well prepared during processing. Even simple cleaving (breaking) of the ends of the fiber can provide nicely flat surfaces with acceptable optical quality. Silica is also relatively chemically inert. In particular, it is not hygroscopic (does not absorb water). Silica glass can be doped with various materials. One purpose of doping is to raise the refractive index (e.g. with Germanium dioxide (GeO2) or Aluminium oxide (Al2O3)) or to lower it (e.g. with fluorine or Boron trioxide (B2O3)). Doping is also possible with laser-active ions (for example, rare earth-doped fibers) in order to obtain active fibers to be used, for example, in fiber amplifiers or laser applications. Both the fiber core and cladding are typically doped, so that the entire assembly (core and cladding) is effectively the same compound (e.g. an aluminosilicate, germanosilicate, phosphosilicate or borosilicate glass). Particularly for active fibers, pure silica is usually not a very suitable host glass, because it exhibits a low solubility for rare earth ions. This can lead to quenching effects due to clustering of dopant ions. Aluminosilicates are much more effective in this respect.


Silica fiber also exhibits a high threshold for optical damage. This property ensures a low tendency for laser-induced breakdown. This is important for fiber amplifiers when utilized for the amplification of short pulses. Because of these properties silica fibers are the material of choice in many optical applications, such as communications (except for very short distances with plastic optical fiber), fiber lasers, fiber amplifiers, and fiber-optic sensors. The large efforts which have been put forth in the development of various types of silica fibers have further increased the performance of such fibers over other materials.

Fluorides Fluoride glass is a class of non-oxide optical quality glasses composed of fluorides of various metals. Due to their low viscosity, it is very difficult to completely avoid crystallization while processing it through the glass transition (or drawing the fiber from the melt). Thus, although heavy metal fluoride glasses (HMFG) exhibit very low optical attenuation, they are not only difficult to manufacture, but are quite fragile, and have poor resistance to moisture and other environmental attacks. Their best attribute is that they lack the absorption band associated with the hydroxyl (OH) group (32003600 cm1), which is present in nearly all oxide-based glasses. An example of a heavy metal fluoride glass is the ZBLAN glass group, composed of zirconium, barium, lanthanum, aluminum, and sodium fluorides. Their main technological application is as optical waveguides in both planar and fiber form. They are advantageous especially in the mid-infrared (20005000 nm) range. HMFG's were initially slated for optical fiber applications, because the intrinsic losses of a mid-IR fiber could in principle be lower than those of silica fibers, which are transparent only up to about 2m. However, such low losses were never


realized in practice, and the fragility and high cost of fluoride fibers made them less than ideal as primary candidates. Later, the utility of fluoride fibers for various other applications was discovered. These include mid-IR spectroscopy, fiber optic sensors, thermometry, and imaging [disambiguation needed]. Also, fluoride fibers can be used to for guided lightwave transmission in media such as YAG (yttria-alumina garnet) lasers at 2.9m, as required for medical applications (e.g. ophthalmology and dentistry). [32] [33]


The P4O10 cagelike structurethe basic building block for phosphate glass. Phosphate glass constitutes a class of optical glasses composed of metaphosphates of various metals. Instead of the SiO4 tetrahedra observed in silicate glasses, the building block for this glass former is Phosphorus pentoxide (P2O5), which crystallizes in at least four different forms. The most familiar polymorph (see figure) comprises molecules of P4O10.


Phosphate glasses can be advantageous over silica glasses for optical fibers with a high concentration of doping rare earth ions. A mix of fluoride glass and phosphate glass is fluorophosphate glass. [34] [35] Chalcogenides The chalcogensthe elements in group 16 of the periodic tableparticularly sulphur (S), selenium (Se) and tellurium (Te)react with more electropositive elements, such as silver, to form chalcogenides. These are extremly versatile compounds, in that they can be crystalline or amorphous, metallic or semiconducting, and conductors of ions or electrons.

Coatings Fiber optic coatings are UV-cured urethane acrylate composite materials applied to the outside of the fiber during the drawing process. The coatings protect the very delicate strands of glass fiberabout the size of a human hairand allow it to survive the rigors of manufacturing, proof testing, cabling and installation. Todays glass optical fiber draw processes employ a dual-layer coating approach. An inner primary coating is designed to act as a shock absorber to minimize attenuation caused by microbending. An outer secondary coating protects the primary coating against mechanical damage and acts as a barrier to lateral forces. These fiber optic coating layers are applied during the fiber draw, at speeds approaching 100 kilometres per hour (60 mph). Fiber optic coatings are applied using one of two methods: wet-on-dry, in which the fiber passes through a primary coating application, which is then UV cured, then through the secondary coating application which is subsequently cured; and wet-on-wet, in which the fiber passes through both the primary and secondary coating applications and then goes to UV curing.


Fiber optic coatings are applied in concentric layers to prevent damage to the fiber during the drawing application and to maximize fiber strength and microbend resistance. Unevenly coated fiber will experience non-uniform forces when the coating expands or contracts, and is susceptible to greater signal attenuation. Under proper drawing and coating processes, the coatings are concentric around the fiber, continuous over the length of the application and have constant thickness. Fiber optic coatings protect the glass fibers from scratches that could lead to strength degradation. The combination of moisture and scratches accelerates the aging and deterioration of fiber strength. When fiber is subjected to low stresses over a long period, fiber fatigue can occur. Over time or in extreme conditions, these factors combine to cause microscopic flaws in the glass fiber to propagate, which can ultimately result in fiber failure. Three key characteristics of fiber optic waveguides can be affected by environmental conditions: strength, attenuation and resistance to losses caused by microbending. External fiber optic coatings protect glass optical fiber from environmental conditions that can affect the fibers performance and long-term durability. On the inside, coatings ensure the reliability of the signal being carried and help minimize attenuation due to microbending.

Practical issues Optical fiber cables


In practical fibers, the cladding is usually coated with a tough resin buffer layer, which may be further surrounded by a jacket layer, usually plastic. These layers add strength to the fiber but do not contribute to its optical wave guide properties. Rigid fiber assemblies sometimes put light-absorbing ("dark") glass between the fibers, to prevent light that leaks out of one fiber from entering another. This reduces crosstalk between the fibers, or reduces flare in fiber bundle imaging applications.[38][39] Modern cables come in a wide variety of sheathings and armor, designed for applications such as direct burial in trenches, high voltage isolation, dual use as power lines,[40][not in citation given] installation in conduit, lashing to aerial telephone poles, submarine installation, and insertion in paved streets. The cost of small fiber-count pole-mounted cables has greatly decreased due to the high Japanese and South Korean demand for fiber to the home (FTTH) installations. Fiber cable can be very flexible, but traditional fiber's loss increases greatly if the fiber is bent with a radius smaller than around 30 mm. This creates a problem when the cable is bent around corners or wound around a spool, making FTTX installations more complicated. "Bendable fibers", targeted towards easier installation in home environments, have been standardized as ITU-T G.657. This type of fiber can be bent with a radius as low as 7.5 mm without adverse impact. Even more bendable fibers have been developed.[41] Bendable fiber may also be resistant to fiber hacking, in which the signal in a fiber is surreptitiously monitored by bending the fiber and detecting the leakage.[42] Termination and splicing


ST connectors on multi-mode fiber. Optical fibers are connected to terminal equipment by optical fiber connectors. These connectors are usually of a standard type such as FC, SC, ST, LC, or MTRJ. Optical fibers may be connected to each other by connectors or by splicing, that is, joining two fibers together to form a continuous optical waveguide. The generally accepted splicing method is arc fusion splicing, which melts the fiber ends together with an electric arc. For quicker fastening jobs, a "mechanical splice" is used. Fusion splicing is done with a specialized instrument that typically operates as follows: The two cable ends are fastened inside a splice enclosure that will protect the splices, and the fiber ends are stripped of their protective polymer coating (as well as the more sturdy outer jacket, if present). The ends are cleaved (cut) with a precision cleaver to make them perpendicular, and are placed into special holders in the splicer. The splice is usually inspected via a magnified viewing screen to check the cleaves before and after the splice. The splicer uses small motors to align the end faces together, and emits a small spark between electrodes at the gap to burn off dust and moisture. Then the splicer generates a larger spark that raises the temperature above the melting point of the glass, fusing the ends together permanently. The location and energy of the spark is carefully controlled so that the molten core and cladding don't mix, and this minimizes optical loss. A splice loss estimate is measured by the splicer, by directing light through the cladding on one side and measuring the light leaking from the cladding on the other side. A splice loss under 0.1 dB is typical. The complexity of this process makes fiber splicing much more difficult than splicing copper wire.


Mechanical fiber splices are designed to be quicker and easier to install, but there is still the need for stripping, careful cleaning and precision cleaving. The fiber ends are aligned and held together by a precision-made sleeve, often using a clear indexmatching gel that enhances the transmission of light across the joint. Such joints typically have higher optical loss and are less robust than fusion splices, especially if the gel is used. All splicing techniques involve the use of an enclosure into which the splice is placed for protection afterward. Fibers are terminated in connectors so that the fiber end is held at the end face precisely and securely. A fiber-optic connector is basically a rigid cylindrical barrel surrounded by a sleeve that holds the barrel in its mating socket. The mating mechanism can be "push and click", "turn and latch" ("bayonet"), or screw-in (threaded). A typical connector is installed by preparing the fiber end and inserting it into the rear of the connector body. Quick-set adhesive is usually used so the fiber is held securely, and a strain relief is secured to the rear. Once the adhesive has set, the fiber's end is polished to a mirror finish. Various polish profiles are used, depending on the type of fiber and the application. For single-mode fiber, the fiber ends are typically polished with a slight curvature, such that when the connectors are mated the fibers touch only at their cores. This is known as a "physical contact" (PC) polish. The curved surface may be polished at an angle, to make an "angled physical contact" (APC) connection. Such connections have higher loss than PC connections, but greatly reduced back reflection, because light that reflects from the angled surface leaks out of the fiber core; the resulting loss in signal strength is known as gap loss. APC fiber ends have low back reflection even when disconnected. In the mid 1990's fiber optic cable termination was very labor intensive with many different parts per connector, fiber polishing and the need for an oven to bake the epoxy in each connector made terminating fiber optic very hard and labor intensive. Today many different connectors are on the market and offer an easier less labor intensive way of terminating fiber optic cable.


Some of the most popular connectors have already been polished from the factory and include a gel inside the connector and those two steps help save money on labor especially on large projects. A Cleave (fiber) is made at a required length in order to get as close the the polished piece already inside the connector, with the gel surrounding the point where the two piece meet inside the connector very little light loss is exposed. Heres an example of a newer style connector being terminated [43]. Free-space coupling It is often necessary to align an optical fiber with another optical fiber, or with an optoelectronic device such as a light-emitting diode, a laser diode, or a modulator. This can involve either carefully aligning the fiber and placing it in contact with the device, or can use a lens to allow coupling over an air gap. In some cases the end of the fiber is polished into a curved form that is designed to allow it to act as a lens. In a laboratory environment, a bare fiber end is coupled using a fiber launch system, which uses a microscope objective lens to focus the light down to a fine point. A precision translation stage (micro-positioning table) is used to move the lens, fiber, or device to allow the coupling efficiency to be optimized. Fibers with a connector on the end make this process much simpler: the connector is simply plugged into a prealigned fiberoptic collimator, which contains a lens that is either accurately positioned with respect to the fiber, or is adjustable. To achieve the best injection efficiency into singlemode fiber, the direction, position, size and divergence of the beam must all be optimized. With good beams, 70% to 90% coupling efficiency can be achieved. With properly polished singlemode fibers, the emitted beam has an almost perfect Gaussian shapeeven in the far fieldif a good lens is used. The lens needs to be large enough to support the full numerical aperture of the fiber, and must not introduce aberrations in the beam. Aspheric lenses are typically used. Fiber fuse


At high optical intensities, above 2 megawatts per square centimeter, when a fiber is subjected to a shock or is otherwise suddenly damaged, a fiber fuse can occur. The reflection from the damage vaporizes the fiber immediately before the break, and this new defect remains reflective so that the damage propagates back toward the transmitter at 13 meters per second (411 km/h, 28 mph).[44][45] The open fiber control system, which ensures laser eye safety in the event of a broken fiber, can also effectively halt propagation of the fiber fuse.[46] In situations, such as undersea cables, where high power levels might be used without the need for open fiber control, a "fiber fuse" protection device at the transmitter can break the circuit to prevent any damage.

Uses of optical fiber

A frisbee illuminated by fiber optics Fibers are widely used in illumination applications. They are used as light guides in medical and other applications where bright light needs to be shone on a target without a clear line-of-sight path. In some buildings, optical fibers are used to route sunlight from the roof to other parts of the building (see non-imaging optics). Optical fiber illumination is also used for decorative applications, including signs, art, and artificial Christmas trees. Swarovski boutiques use optical fibers to illuminate their crystal showcases from many different angles while only employing one light source. Optical fiber is an intrinsic part of the light-transmitting concrete building product, LiTraCon.


Optical fiber is also used in imaging optics. A coherent bundle of fibers is used, sometimes along with lenses, for a long, thin imaging device called an endoscope, which is used to view objects through a small hole. Medical endoscopes are used for minimally invasive exploratory or surgical procedures (endoscopy). Industrial endoscopes (see fiberscope or borescope) are used for inspecting anything hard to reach, such as jet engine interiors. In spectroscopy, optical fiber bundles are used to transmit light from a spectrometer to a substance which cannot be placed inside the spectrometer itself, in order to analyze its composition. A spectrometer analyzes substances by bouncing light off of and through them. By using fibers, a spectrometer can be used to study objects that are too large to fit inside, or gasses, or reactions which occur in pressure vessels.[17][18][19] An optical fiber doped with certain rare earth elements such as erbium can be used as the gain medium of a laser or optical amplifier. Rare-earth doped optical fibers can be used to provide signal amplification by splicing a short section of doped fiber into a regular (undoped) optical fiber line. The doped fiber is optically pumped with a second laser wavelength that is coupled into the line in addition to the signal wave. Both wavelengths of light are transmitted through the doped fiber, which transfers energy from the second pump wavelength to the signal wave. The process that causes the amplification is stimulated emission. Optical fibers doped with a wavelength shifter are used to collect scintillation light in physics experiments. Optical fiber can be used to supply a low level of power (around one watt) to electronics situated in a difficult electrical environment. Examples of this are electronics in high-powered antenna elements and measurement devices used in high voltage transmission equipment.


Benefits of optical fiber communication system

Some of the innumerable benefits of optical fiber communication system are:

Immense bandwidth to utilize Total electrical isolation in the transmission medium Very low transmission loss, Small size and light weight, High signal security, Immunity to interference and crosstalk, Very low power consumption and wide scope of system expansion etc.

These are the main advantages that have made optical fiber communication system such an indispensable part of modern life.


Field of application
Due to its variety of advantages optical fiber communication system has a wide range of application in different fields namely : a. Public network field which includes trunk networks, junction networks, local access networks, submerged systems, synchronous systems etc. b. Field of military applications , c. Civil, consumer and industrial applications, d. Field of computers which is the center of research right now.


Advantages of optical fiber

Immunity to Electromagnetic Interference Although fiber optics can solve data communications problems, they are not needed everywhere. Most computer data goes over ordinary wires. Most data is sent over short distances at low speed. In ordinary environments, it is not practical to use fiber optics to transmit data between personal computers and printers as it's too costly. Electromagnetic Interference is a common type of noise that originates with one of the basic properties of electromagnetism. Magnetic field lines generate an electrical current as they cut across conductors. The flow of electrons in a conductor generates a magnetic field that changes with the current flow. Electromagnetic Interference does occur in coaxial cables, since current does cut across the conductor. Fiber optics are immune to this EMI since signals are transmitted as light instead of current. Thus, they can carry signals through places where EMI would block transmission. 7.2 Data Security Magnetic fields and current induction work in two ways. They don't just generate noise in signal carrying conductors; they also let the information on the conductor to be leaked out. Fluctuations in the induced magnetic field outside a conductor carry the same information as the current passing through the conductor. Shielding the wire, as in coaxial cables can reduce


the problem, but sometimes shielding can allow enough signal leak to allow tapping, which is exactly what we wouldn't want. There are no radiated magnetic fields around optical fibers; the electromagnetic fields are confined within the fiber. That makes it impossible to tap the signal being transmitted through a fiber without cutting into the fiber. Since fiber optics do not radiate electromagnetic energy, emissions cannot be intercepted and physically tapping the fiber takes great skill to do undetected. Thus, the fiber is the most secure medium available for carrying sensitive data.

7.3 Non Conductive Cables Metal cables can encounter other signal transmission problems because of subtle variations in electrical potential. Electronic designers assume that ground is a uniform potential. That is reasonable if ground is a single metal chassis, and it's not too bad if ground is a good conductor that extends through a small building. However, the nominal ground potential can differ by several volts if cables run between different buildings or sometimes even different parts of the same building. Signal levels in semiconductor circuits are just a few volts, creating a problem known as ground loop. When the difference in ground potential at two ends of a wire gets comparable to the signal level, stray currents begin to cause noise. If the differences grow large enough, they can even damage components. Electric utilities have the biggest problems because their switching stations and power plants may have large potential differences. A serious concern with outdoor cables in certain computer networks is that they can be hit by lightning, causing destruction to wires and other cables that are involved in the network. Certain computer companies are aware of this problem and trying to solve it by having protective devices for wire circuits to block current and voltage surges.


Any conductive cables can carry power surges or ground loops. Fiber optic cables can be made non-conductive by avoiding metal in their design. These kinds of cables are economical and standard for many indoor applications. Outdoor versions are more expensive since they require special strength members, but they can still be valuable in eliminating ground loops and protecting electronic equipment from surge damage. 7.4 Eliminating Spark Hazards In some cases, transmitting signals electrically can be extremely dangerous. Most electric potentials create small sparks. The sparks ordinarily pose no danger, but can be really bad in a chemical plant or oil refinery where the air is contaminated with potentially explosive vapours. One tiny spark can create a big explosion. potential spark hazards seriously hinder data and communication in such facilities. Fiber optic cables do not produce sparks since they do not carry current. 7.5 Ease Of Installation Increasing transmission capacity of wire cables generally makes them thicker and more rigid. Such thick cables can be difficult to install in existing buildings where they must go through walls and cable ducts. Fiber cables are easier to install since they are smaller and more flexible. They can also run along the same routes as electric cables without picking up excessive noise. One way to simplify installation in existing buildings is to run cables through ventilation ducts. However, fire codes require that such plenum cables be made of costly fire retardant materials that emit little smoke. The advantage of fiber types is that they are smaller and hence require less of the costly fire retardant materials. The small size, lightweight and flexibility of fiber optic cables also make them easier to be used in temporary or portable installations. 7.6 High Bandwidth Over Long Distances Fiber optics have a large capacity to carry high speed signals over longer distances without repeaters than other types of cables. The information


carrying capacity increases with frequency. This however, doesn't mean that optical fiber has infinit bandwidth, but it's certainly greater than coaxial cables. Generally, coaxial cables have a bandwidth parameter of a few MHz/km, where else the fiber optic cable has a bandwidth of 400MHz/km. (These figures are just approximations and do vary from cable to cable!) This is an important factor that leads to the choice of fiber for data communications. Fiber can be added to a wire network so it can reach terminals outside its normal range.

Disadvantages of optical fiber

The major disadvantage of fiber optic versus metal cable is that it is difficult to make connections to fiber optic cable. Single-mode optical cable (the type used for communications) has a core as fine as a human hair (although the entire fiber is thicker). When making splices, the fiber cores must be perfectly aligned. Also, the ends of the optical fiber must be highly polished to allow light to pass with little loss. There is also the problem of converting back and forth from a light signal to an electrical signal. However, the advantages of fiber-optics far outweigh the problems. One single mode fiber can replace a metal cable that is thousands of times larger and heavier. Multi-mode optical cable has a larger diameter and can be used to carry signal over short distances.


Though there are some negatives of optical fiber communication system in terms of fragility, splicing, coupling, set up expense etc. but it is an un avoidable fact that optical fiber has revolutionized the field of communication. As soon as computers will be capable of processing optical signals, the total arena of communication will be opticalized immediately.