Uses of optical fiber in medicine and industry

  • How does optical fiber work in fields other than telecommunications and what are the other uses of optical fiber in these fields of activity? Thicker fibers are used in a medical tool called a gastroscope (a type of endoscope).

    Doctors put it in a patient's throat to check for disease in their stomach. A gastroscope is a thick fiber optic cable made up of many optical fibers. At the top end of a gastroscope, there is an eyepiece and a lamp.

    The lamp emits a light down the cable which is in the patient's stomach. When light reaches the stomach, it reflects off the walls of the stomach in a lens.

    Then it travels back to another part of the cable in the doctor's eyepiece. Other types of endoscopes work the same and can be used to inspect other parts of the body. There is also an industrial version of the tool, called the fiberscope. Thus, it can be used to examine inaccessible parts in machines; like airplanes for example.

    Optical fiber seen from the inside
    It is a long flexible wire made of ultra pure glass or plastic. Optical fibers are designed using a chemical compound heated to nearly 2000 degrees. This compound is constantly drawn and monitored by a laser micrometer which ensures that its diameter is perfectly uniform from start to finish of fiber design.

    For optical fibers to be able to transmit data over long distances, they must be highly reflective. Before being coiled, the glass fibers are coated with protective resins and heated with ultraviolet light . This layer protects against humidity because the fiber weakens on contact. This shock absorber creates a mirror effect with the fiber. After being tested and meeting all standards, it is sold in fiber optic cabling.

    In order for the optical cable to transmit data signals, it must be connected to two other main components. The first is an optical transmitter, a device that converts analog and electrical signals into linear light signals and then transforms them into data. Then the cable transmits the data transmitted by the optical transmitter to the optical receiver which restructures the data in its initial form.

    Fiber performance
    Download in less than 50 seconds 10 MP3 albums
    Download a movie (around 700 Mega) in one minute
    Share in one second a photo album made up of about fifty images
    Watch movies or TV channels in high definition or 3D with guaranteed picture quality
    Share large files on the internet in a few tenths of a second (by email or through collaborative services and online storage spaces)
    Network play on the internet with optimal response time
    HD videoconferencing

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