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Note for Optical Fiber Communication - OFC By Sundram Gupta

  • Optical Fiber Communication - OFC
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Sundram Gupta
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Optical fibres A thin flexible and transparent wire prepared for light propagation is called optical fibre. The optical fibre has been constructed for the following reasons:  The light wave cannot traverse long distance in air without any losses.  To make loss less light wave communication, the optical waves can be guided through optical fibre. The optical fibre can be used for the many of industrial application and medical applications as well. The optical fibre consists of two media kept one inside the other. The centre transparent medium of optical fibre is called “core” and the outer is cladding. The refractive index of core will be always higher than the refractive index of cladding. Cladding Core Outer protective 1. The propagation of light in optical fibre. The light propagates through optical fibre through “Total internal reflection”. The total internal reflection appears due following reasons.  When light traverse from optically rarer medium (like air) to denser medium (glass) the refracted ray moves towards the normal drawn on the interface of media as in Snell’s law. Conversely, if light traverse from denser to optically rarer medium, the refracted ray moves away from the normal drawn on the interface of the medium fig.(1a)  If the angle of incidence increases (fig.1b), to certain value for which the refracted ray happen to be on the interface of medium. The angle of incidence s known as critical angle (θc)(fig.1c).  If the incident angle (fig.1d) increases more than critical angle, then the refracted ray falls on the same denser medium with no refraction. “This reflection of light is called total internal reflection”. Thus, following are the conditions for total internal reflection:

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1. The ray of light should be traverse from denser to rare medium. 2. The incident angle should be more than the Critical angle (θi >θc). Rarer (n1) Rarer (n1) Angle of Incidence Rarer ( n 1) Denser ( n2) Denser ( n2) (c ) Refracted ray on interface (b) light traverse Denser to rarer M o Denser ( n 2) Angle of refraction Rarer ( n1) (a) Light traverse from Rarer to denser (d ) Total internal reflection Fig.1 propagation of light from rarer to denser medium Total internal reflection If the incident ray exceeds the critical angle, the refraction would be turned in to reflection called total internal reflection. The critical angle is used for the mathematical expression to the occurrence of total internal reflection (fig.1c) n1 sin i  n2 sin 90 0 (from Snell’s law) sin i  n2 n1 Since, sin 90 ο =1 sin  c  n2 n1 Since, i  c  n2    n1  c  sin 1  Therefore, to propagate the light through optical fibre, the incident angle should be made higher than the critical angle at various points on the core, so that the light can be traversed by the total internal reflection at those points. To achieve the above, the size of core should be adjusted suitably which causes different types of optical fibre based on size, (no. of modes) refractive index and modes of propagation. 1.2 Classification In the optical fibres the materials used, refractive index and mode of propagation of light are used for classification as follows:

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1.2.1 Material Based optical fibres, The material based classification results to the following types: 1. Plastic made fibres. 2. Glass made fibres. The plastic made fibres are obtained from polymers of transparent to light, flexibility and interaction less to light etc,. For example poly methyl metha acrylate (PMMA), polyethylene (PE), polystyrene (PS) are used as core materials. Glass made fibre is also fabricated from flexible glass as core with suitable drawing technique in presence of impurities. Therefore, the above types of optical fibres are limited to some application. 1.2.2 Classification of optical fibres based on refractive index The types of optical fibre can be classified based on the refractive index are 1. Step index fibres. 2. Graded index fibres. Step index If the refractive index of core remains the same from the centre of the core to the corecladding interface; those optical fibres are known as step index fibres (fig.2a). The distance from centre of core to interface of fibre vs. refractive index is shown as below: Graded index Cladding Refractive index Core axis Distance Fig.2a Step Index fibre profile These types are made of varying refractive index of core material. Therefore, the refractive index changes with distance form the centre of fibre to core-cladding interface. The profile of above is as shown in the fig 2

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Cladding Refractive index Core axis Distance Fig.2b Graded Index fibre profile 1.2.3 Modes of propagation based optical fibre Based on modes of propagation of light through core, the following are the types of optical fibre identified.  Single mode fibres  Multimode fibres Single mode fibres Considering the light as electromagnetic radiation, the possible modes of propagation are transverse electric (TE) modes and transverse magnetic (TM) modes. Among them, the TE10, TE11, TE01 and TM10, TM11, TM01 are possible, within which the modes TE10 and TM11 are significant. If the core size is adjusted to allow only one mode of light wave propagation is single mode fibre, whose profile (fig.2c) is shown below: Cladding Refractive index Core axis Distance Fig.2c Single mode fibre profile Multi mode optical fibre If the core size has been adjusted to allow more than one mode of propagation of light wave is multimode fibre. The profile of multimode fibres is as shown below:

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