Researchers from the USA have found a way to redirect wrong light waves to improve fiber optic technology resulting in energy loss reduction during optical data transmission. The fiber technology presented by the researchers is based on an interaction between light and sound waves to restrain the scattering of light from material defects – which could result in perfected optical fiber communication.
The thing is that even a tiny crack in a window or a flaw in a fiber optic cable influence on the scattering of light waves during their facing obstacles. Herewith, it should be noted that the major part of that light scatters out of the optical fiber system, however, another part of it scatters back toward the light source, resulting in such process as backscattering.
Additionally, a perfect material does not exist in nature, even a tiny imperfection and a little bit of randomness in the materials, which are used in the fiber optic technology, are present. For example, even the most ideal optical fiber applied for long-range data transmission might still have some hidden defects. The background of these defects can be various (a result of a manufacturing or thermal and mechanical changes to the material), and these drawbacks lead to the performance limits for any fiber optic system.
There is an opinion that the process of undesirable backscattering can be reduced by using special materials that have specific magnetic features, but the researchers confirm that it is impossible to implement into current fiber optic systems that apply transparent, nonmagnetic materials such as silicon or silica glass.
The new fiber optic technology is based on the interaction of light with sound waves alternatively to magnetic fields that finally allows controlling the process of backscattering. The thing is that the light waves pass through most materials at a similar speed no matter direction. The use of direction-sensitive optomechanical interactions in the fiber system may effectively suppress backscattering.
Thus, fiber optic technology operates as a one-way mirror. To be more precise, the blocking of backward light wave propagation leads to the situation when there is no way to go. The optical fiber system was demonstrated by the researchers, they transmit light waves into a small sphere made of silica glass, which is known as a microresonator.
Finally, the advance in fiber optic technology is still considered to be very subtle at this stage and requires further development. Therefore, the opportunity to suppress the process of backscattering in such material as silica glass proves that it is possible to produce better optical fiber cable or event continue to use old, damaged fiber cables rather than change them.
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