Thursday, December 11, 2014

Fiber Optics

We spent a day talking about fiber optics. I knew they used fiber optic cables for transmitting phone and internet signals, but my only real association with fiber optics was a color-changing lamp someone gave our family when I was little, like this:
which I assumed was not really "fiber optic" at all.

But the actual concept, of how light can travel through a flexible glass tube and come out at the end, really is about the same. Here is a demonstration of how light is bent to the "critical angle" so it won't escape the fiber optic cable.

Here's a video on how fiber optic cables are made

Another video on how the cables are made—this one is more technical, but it was still interesting to skim through

We really liked this explanation, and it includes a demonstration you can do yourself with an old plastic bottle.

Another explanation that includes a diagram of the parts of a fiber optic cable.

Some discussion of why fiber optic can be faster than regular copper wire.

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