A Brief History of Fiber Optics

A Brief History of Fiber Optics

Fiber optics continues to hold a very bright future in the different industries it has come in contact with. With the vast applications in these different areas where fiber optics technology is used, one can’t help but wonder how such discovery came about, and be amazed at how such technology continues to make its mark on industries as the telecommunications field, medical field, military & space settings, lighting, computer networks, television and many more.

It is thus fitting to learn some few details on the history of fiber optics. It is no question the we have indeed realized benefits from this technology, and it is only proper to pay respects to the history of fiber optics – those points in time that led to the development of this valuable technology.

Year 1800s in the History of Fiber Optics

In the year 1840, physicists Daniel Collodon (Swiss) and Jacques Babinet (French) were able to show that it is possible to guide light along jets of water for fountain displays.

Then in 1854, British physicist John Tyndall showed that light could be bent on a corner through a curved spout of running water.

The raw and initial concept of total internal reflection came into being. This concept is in fact, the basis of fiber optics operation. And this principle has guided fiber optics production and use.

First Few Practical Applications Envisioned

Applications as dental illuminators, transmitting images for television, sending out signals to facsimile systems were foreseen. Patents were filed for ideas imagined possible for fiber optics, while some continued to experiment on perfecting the initial discovery to have valuable use on a particular industry.

Milestones in the History of Fiber Optics

One such person to actually demonstrate fiber optics image transmission is Heinrich Lamm – a Munich medical student. Next came Abraham Van Heel when he covered a bare fiber with a transparent cladding – one that has a lower refractive index than the core material.

Another milestone in the history of fiber optics is the development of glass-clad fibers. At around 1960, these glass-clad fibers had around one decibel per meter of attenuation. This was ideal for medical imaging.

Still at the 1960s, laser technology also came about. In the 1970s, pure low-loss glass fibers evolved. These developments laid the groundwork for technology integrations and diversified applications for the different industries.

Fiber Optics Today

Mainly taking over the telecommunications industry in terms of being the preferred telecommunications medium, it has also been seen to be making strong waves in computer network infrastructures and in the medical environment. Definitely, every field or industry it involves itself – is history of fiber optics in the making.