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Glass or polymer fibres: Did Charles Kao get it right?

Glass or polymer fibres: Did Charles Kao get it right?
Glass or polymer fibres: Did Charles Kao get it right?
The publication by Kao and Hockham in 1965 of what has become accepted as the first serious analysis of the prospects for optical fibre communications had on its first page “Solving the Maxwell equations under the boundary conditions imposed by the physical structure….”, followed by the famous expressions for the optical modes in a cylindrical geometry and the observation that the lowest order HE11 mode in a fibre had no cut-off.

We chart the extraordinary progress of optical fibres over the decades through understanding the guidance conditions set out by Kao and his pioneering work on measuring the loss of silica, the preferred fibre material of today. Particular examples are at the two extremes of fibre performance, the 0.146 dB/km of today’s ULL (ultra-low loss) fibres and the remarkable kWatt power handling ability of large core fibres.

But was Kao right and is the best possible communications medium the silica fibre we know today? Or are their prospects for alternative materials as new markets emerge, particularly in datacomms? We examine the prospects for alternative new air core fibres with very different guidance mechanisms and for new materials such as polymers and compound glasses.
Payne, David
4f592b24-707f-456e-b2c6-8a6f750e296d
Payne, David
4f592b24-707f-456e-b2c6-8a6f750e296d

Payne, David (2016) Glass or polymer fibres: Did Charles Kao get it right? International Workshop on Photonics Polymer for Innovation (IWPPI). 11 - 14 Oct 2016.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)

Abstract

The publication by Kao and Hockham in 1965 of what has become accepted as the first serious analysis of the prospects for optical fibre communications had on its first page “Solving the Maxwell equations under the boundary conditions imposed by the physical structure….”, followed by the famous expressions for the optical modes in a cylindrical geometry and the observation that the lowest order HE11 mode in a fibre had no cut-off.

We chart the extraordinary progress of optical fibres over the decades through understanding the guidance conditions set out by Kao and his pioneering work on measuring the loss of silica, the preferred fibre material of today. Particular examples are at the two extremes of fibre performance, the 0.146 dB/km of today’s ULL (ultra-low loss) fibres and the remarkable kWatt power handling ability of large core fibres.

But was Kao right and is the best possible communications medium the silica fibre we know today? Or are their prospects for alternative materials as new markets emerge, particularly in datacomms? We examine the prospects for alternative new air core fibres with very different guidance mechanisms and for new materials such as polymers and compound glasses.

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More information

Published date: 16 October 2016
Additional Information: Plenary talk
Venue - Dates: International Workshop on Photonics Polymer for Innovation (IWPPI), 2016-10-11 - 2016-10-14
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Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 415168
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/415168
PURE UUID: 85f62798-acbe-447f-9ed0-6cd9e6932699

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Date deposited: 02 Nov 2017 17:30
Last modified: 29 Jan 2020 16:10

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