History of Fiber Optics

Daniel Colladon and Jacques Babinet demonstrated the principle of guiding light by refraction. * It was followed by a public demonstration by John Tyndal in 1852. In 1870, Tyndal wrote about the property of total internal reflection in his book about the nature of light. * In 1880, Alexander Graham Bell and Sumner Tainter invented the Photophone, a device capable of transmitting sound waves over beam of light.

This is considered as mankind’s first attempt to to use light for carrying information. * In 1930, Clarence Hansel and John Logie Baird demonstrated independently image transmission using fiber. * In 1940’s, Heinrich Lamm successfully transmitted images through a single glass fiber used for internal medical examinations. * In 1951, Harold Hopkins and Narinder Singh Kapany experimented with light transmission through bundles of fiber.

Their study led to the development of the flexible fiberscope, which is used in the medical field. It was also Kapany who coined the term fiber optics in 1956. * In 1953, Charles Townes and two of his graduate students developed the MASER (Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation), and in 1960, Theodore Maiman developed the first LASER ( Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation). In 1967, Charles Kao and George Bockham of the Standard Telecommunications Laboratory proposed the cladded fiber cables. * In 1970, Robert Maurer, Donalk Keck and Kapron of Corning Glass developed the first fiber optics with losses less than 2dB/Km. * In 1980’s, losses in fiber optics were reduced to as low as 0. 16 dB/Km. This is due to the development of high-quality light sources and detectors. * In 1990’s, the photonic crystal fiber was developed that can carry high power than the conventional silica based fibers.

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