Optical Fibre

  • Martin Sibley


In most optical links, the transmission medium is optical fibre. Light from a laser or LED is coupled into the fibre which has a core diameter that can range from 5 to 75 μm and can be made from glass or plastic or a combination of the two. Optical fibre can be found in very-high-speed (40 Gbit/s), long-haul (>100 km) routes that carry data from telephones, computers and Internet search engines. In this chapter we shall examine the properties and design of optical fibres. Initially we will solve Maxwell’s equations in an infinite block of dielectric material (glass) and then consider propagation in a planar dielectric waveguide. When we come to examine propagation in optical fibre, we will solve Maxwell’s equations as applied to a cylindrical waveguide. This involves some rather complicated mathematics which some readers may prefer to omit at a first reading. In view of this, important results from the full analysis are quoted in the relevant sections. (The work in this chapter assumes that the reader is familiar with Maxwell’s equations. Most books on electromagnetism cover the derivation of these equations.)


Optical fibre Maxwell’s equations Graded-index optical fibre Multimode optical fibre Single-mode optical fibre Refractive index Phase velocity Group velocity Phase coefficient Wavelength Propagation coefficient Power Dispersion in optical fibres Evanescent wave Losses in optical fibre Couplers Numerical aperture 

Recommended Readings

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    Fleisch D (2008) A student’s guide to Maxwell’s equations. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Fleisch D (2015) A student’s guide to waves. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Agrawal GP (2010) Fiber-optic communication systems. Wiley, Hoboken, NJCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Gloge D (1971) Weakly guiding fibres. Applied Optics 10:2252–2258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ainslie BJ et al (1982) Monomode fibre with ultralow loss and minimum dispersion at 1.55 μm. Electronics Letters 18:843–844Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Sibley
    • 1
  1. 1.CardiffUK

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