Fiber Optic Technology

Physical principles

The heart of all fiber optic components are optical fibers. Every optical fiber consists of a core with a high refractive index and a cladding with a lower refractive index. Light rays which enter the fiber at one end are guided along the core by total internal reflections at the core/clad interface, the light rays follow all the bends in the fiber and exit the fiber at its other end. Bundles of optical fibers are combined with appropriate end terminations and protective sheathing to form light guides. Fibers can also be combined to form rigid or flexible image guides. SCHOTT incorporates such fiber bundles into a multitude of engineering components by modifying their properties to suit the particular application. The three most important characteristics of an individual fiber are its:

  • Numerical aperture
  • Spectral transmission
  • Diameter

Fiber randomization

The arrangement of fibers within a light guide and/or end ferrule normally occurs arbitrarily during the manufacturing process.

Hot fusing

In order to ensure safe operation even at high temperatures, SCHOTT has developed a unique end terminatin process in which no adhesive is used. Instead, the fiber ends are fused together in a process combining heat with pressure. Fibers made of mulitcomponent glass are embedded at the same time in a stainless steel ferrule.

Fiber Optic Imaging

Coherent Fiber Optics: A fiber optic component consisting of many individual fiber optic elements all precisely aligned so that they can faithfully transmit an image.

Fiber Optic Faceplate: A coherent fiber optic plate that precisely transmits an image from its input surface to its output surface.

Fiber Optic Taper: A coherent fiber optic plate that transmits either a magnified or minified image from its input surface to its output surface.

Image Conduit: A coherent fiber optic rod consisting of thousands of elements that transmits an image from an input surface to the output surface.