In everyday life, we usually only encounter glass when we drink or look out of the window. However, the material is much more versatile than that. For example, it can be drawn into wafer-thin fibers that feel like hair and transport light from point to point.
If you hold a light source to one end of a handful of glass fibers, you get thousands of light points at the other end. Because the glass fibers are flexible and can be bent in tight radii, they can bring light to exactly where it is needed. This could be used, for example, to illuminate tissue during an operation in the body. The fine threads illuminate exactly what needs to be seen, with pinpoint accuracy!
Glass fibers can also be used to bring the light from one source to many different points. In fields such as aircraft cabin design, several fibers guide light from an LED into up to 30 different directions. If their ends are embedded in a ceiling, impressive “starry skies” can be designed, creating a pleasant ambiance. Glass fibers are so fine that it takes 300 glass fibers to form a 1-millimeter light spot.