On the dot

September 15 is the International Day of the Dot. Although the dot seems clear and simple at first glance, it can be many things: from the point in time to the grading point. The little dot has a majestic meaning in mathematics and ends all our sentences. Just as varied as the dot is the material glass – which also has something to do with dots I promise!

September 15 is the International Day of the Dot. Although the dot seems clear and simple at first glance, it can be many things: from the point in time to the grading point. The little dot has a majestic meaning in mathematics and ends all our sentences. Just as varied as the dot is the material glass – which also has something to do with dots I promise!

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.

Glass fibers produce spectacular light effects. Photos: SCHOTT.

Optical fibers from SCHOTT also overcome problems such as space, weight, or heat that play a major role in airplanes. Since only one light source is needed for several light points, a lightweight fiber optic harness can be placed in a location where there is sufficient space for air circulation. Because glass fibers only conduct light and not electricity, there is no risk of electrical interference.

With the help of intelligent software, the SCHOTT starry ceiling can be used to create a number of effects. The Constellation Stars option allows cabin crews to make a certain ‘constellations’ shine more brightly than surrounding ‘stars’ for a showpiece display. The Background Stars option creates the impression of a far-away galaxy while the Flickering Stars variant shimmers like the Milky Way. This brings to life the childish idea that stars, the huge burning balls of gas in space, are just sparkling dots.

September 15, 2020

Contact

Dr. Haike Frank
Lighting & Imaging
SCHOTT AG

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