Do You Know How Fiber Optics Work? (Video)

There has recently been a major breakthrough in fiber optics, and Julian is here to discuss what it means
By Epoch Video
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December 28, 2014 Updated: December 28, 2014

There has recently been a major breakthrough in fiber optics, and Julian is here to discuss what it means.

In the 1842’s, Swiss Physicist Daniel Colladon realized that if you shined light down one end of a water pipe, the light would come could out the other end. Thus fiber optics were born, and if you thought the only practical use of for fiber optics was those psychedelic lamps from the 70s, then sadly you are so wrong.

If you shine a beam of light through a clear medium, like glass, at an angle less than 42 degrees, it will bounce back and forth against the walls of the fiber until it comes out of the other end. Just remember to keep the angle of entry shallow – otherwise, the light is lost (this is the same reason why when you look over a lake, you see a reflection of the shore, but when you look straight down into a like, you see you feet.)

Since nothing in the universe can travel faster than light, it would seem like the obvious medium for sending information along long distances quickly. When you modulate a light wave, the light essentially turns into information (and this, in a nutshell, is what fiber optics are all about.). Encoding and then decoding the light patterns is where things can get complicated and expensive.

Researchers from the University of Southampton Optoelectronics Research Centre have come up with some new ways of improving the modulation of these laser currents that ultimately enable them to send a lot more information through the fibers faster.

Earlier this year, Julian discussed some other new super-fast ways of transmitting massive amounts of information through fiber optic systems that could maybe bring us wireless transfer rates of 32 gigabits per second. No word yet on what these University of Southampton advances in fiber optics will lead to in terms of data transmission, but no doubt they will be pretty significant.

How fast do you think we’ll be transfering data this time next year? Next decade? Next century? Remember when you’d be lucky if you could connect to AOL at 56k? Is there any interesting tech you’d like to learn more about in the new year? Let us know in the comments section below!

*arripay via Compfight cc

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