Optical Fiber Structure
In the initial stage, glass or silica material was utilised to create an optical fiber. Advancements in technology though, called for the use of plastic material to make the optical fiber. There are actually three different kinds of materials utilized to construct optical fibers. Here they are:
Fiber Optic Cable made of glass material
This kind of material has a centre and cladding that is constructed out of premium quality and durable silica. An advantage of this glass material is that the attenuation losses are very low, which is an attribute that makes it one of the top options for remote telecommunication systems.
A high quality and pure glass optic fiber cable has both a core and cladding made of glass for offering the least amount of attenuation/extinction losses. The glass FOC is made of Silicon Dioxide and Fused Quartz.
Figure 1: Silicone Dioxide
Some other complementary materials like titanium, germanium or fluorine, and perhaps Boron may also be incorporated to offer more diversity to the RI of the optical fiber cables according to the necessary standards. The first two specifically are used to raise the RI amount while the last two will create the opposite.
Fiber-Optic Cable made of plastic material
As it name implies, a plastic Fiber Optic Cable utilizes a plastic type of material to construct both its core and cladding. It is evident that in this case, a plastic material is just not as efficient as a glass material in light transmission through the optical fiber.
Additionally, a plastic material leads to a higher degree of attenuation comparing to FOCs made of glass material. A plastic FOC is typically used for shorter communication networks and is thicker in width comparing to glass material for this purpose. The typical dimensions of a plastic Optic Cable are 480/500 µm, 735/750 µm, or 980/100 µm.
The greatest quality of plastic made cables is that they are less expensive compared to glass or other type of materials and that they can withhold any tight bending occurrences. Their least favorable characteristic besides high attenuation, is that plastic FOCs are not fire resistant.
Fiber Optic Cables made of Plastic-Clad Silica
Plastic Clad Silica (PCS) is a combination of silica glass and plastic materials to make the optical fiber. Its core is actually made of silica glass while the cladding is made of plastic due to its lower RI comparing to a glass core.
The biggest drawback of this material is that it can’t be combined with
connectors attached to the cable plasticity.
Likewise, any adhesive bonding does not apply to this type of material which limits their use to a much lesser degree. A more improved variation is the Hard Plastic Clad Silica which is typically applied to medical uses, in UV or infrared applications.