An optical fiber (or fibre) is a glass or plastic fiber that carries light along its length.

Attenuations in modern optical cables are far less than those in electrical copper cables, leading to long-haul fiber connections with repeater distances of 50–80 km.


Fiber optics is the overlap of applied science and engineering concerned with the design and application of optical fibers.

Different types[]

Fibers which support many propagation paths or transverse modes are called multimode fibers (MMF). Multimode fibers generally have a large-diameter core, and are used for short-distance communication links or for applications where high power must be transmitted.

Fibers which support only a single mode are called singlemode fibers (SMF).Singlemode fibers are used for most communication links longer than 200 meters.


In engineering[]


Optical fibers are widely used in fiber-optic communications, which permits transmission over longer distances and at higher data rates (a.k.a "bandwidth"), than other forms of communications.


These are used instead of metal wires because signals travel along them with less loss.

As a wave guide[]

Light is kept in the "core" of the optical fiber by total internal reflection. This causes the fiber to act as a waveguide.

Electromagnetic interference[]

They are immune to electromagnetic interference.


Fibers are also used for illumination. In bundles, it can be used to carry images, allowing viewing in tight spaces.

Other uses[]

Specially designed fibers are used for a variety of other applications, including as sensors and fiber lasers.

Joining lengths[]

Joining lengths of optical fiber is more complex than joining electrical wire or cable. The ends of the fibers must be carefully cleaved, and then spliced together either mechanically or by fusing them together with an electric arc. Special connectors are used to make removable connections.

In medical profession[]

Apart from other uses, it is also used in surgeries and other medical professions.

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