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Fiber Optics

Other Applications

Optical fiber has a variety of other applications. Fiber-optic stress and strain sensors are in common use on structures, bridges, and in monitoring industrial processes. Researchers have developed fiber-optic lasers that are tunable throughout the visible and fiber-optic amplifiers that will further increase capacity in the communications network. Fiber-optic endoscopes allow doctors to perform non-invasive internal examinations, and fiber-optic chemical sensors allow researchers to monitor pollution levels remotely.

Fiber-optic technology is continually improving and growing more and more an invisible part of our daily lives. In 1854, when John Tyndall demonstrated light guided in a curved path by a parabolic stream of water, he could never have guessed at the ramifications of his discovery. By the same token, we can only guess what applications will be found for optical fiber in the future.



Sterling, D. Technician's Guide to Fiber Optics (AMP). Albany, NY: Delmar Publishers Inc., 1987.

Kristin Lewotsky


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—Loss of energy in a signal as it passes through the transmission medium.


—The outer layer of an optical fiber.


—The inner portion of an optical fiber.

Dispersion: modal, material, wavelength

—Spreading of a signal pulse in an optical fiber.

Index of refraction

—The ratio of speed of light in a vacuum to speed of light in a given material.


—Variation, a method of varying a signal such that information is coded in.


—The bending of light that occurs when traveling from one medium to another, such as air to glass or air to water.

Total internal reflection

—When light reaches an interface between two materials and is reflected back into the first material.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Ferroelectric materials to Form and matterFiber Optics - The Principles Behind Fiber Optics, Fabrication Of Optical Fibers, Fiber Classifications, Other Applications