Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Plastic optic fibres


Plastic optic fibres are 1-millimetre diameter threads, similar to a guitar string. Nowadays, optic fibres are used in the home, cars, trains and aeroplanes, for example.

How is the information transmitted?

At one end of the fibre the light source, either LED or laser, is attached. Lasers are faster and, thereby, can send greater quantities of information; but they are also more expensive.

Light emanating from the source will immediately propagate through the fibre and arrive at the other end where a receptor system is installed. Here this signal is interpreted as a 1. But, if the light beam is interrupted, the signal will not arrive at the receptor and, as a result, this will read 0. This is how images, texts and all kinds of digital information are transmitted, given that, in digital systems, information is codified by means of a binary system of ones and zeros.

Apart from transmitting information, optic fibres can also be used to make sensors. For example, in the automotive sector, they are regularly used in car safety systems such as indicating the need to change the engine oil.

The sensor immersed in the oil will be subjected to variations in the quantity of light transmitted depending on the increase in impurities in the oil. Thus, the moment there is no longer sufficient light getting to the receptor is when this sends a signal to change the oil. This is just one example of the use of an optic fibre sensor, but there are many more.

All advantages

Apart from having an infinity of applications, plastic optic fibres have many advantages: they are cheap, being made of metacrylate, a very common plastic. The connectors required are also cheap and simple. The fibres are light, a car weighing up to 50 kg less if the wiring is carried out with plastic fibres. And perhaps the most important advantage: the transported signal does not produce interference given that the electromagnetic fields and the rest of the electrical signals do not influence the plastic.

However, there are disadvantages also. They are not suitable over large distances as they produce losses in the transmission of light. As a consequence, the optic fibres have a maximum of one kilometre length; for longer distances glass optic fibres are used. Moreover, they cannot operate at temperatures greater than 80º C, given that the plastic melts and the fibre loses the transparency necessary for correctly transmitting the light. Finally, if there are many buckles or curves along the way, there are also losses of light at these points.

Research at the EHU (the University of the Basque Country)

At the School of Engineering in Bilbao a research team is working on plastic optic fibres. In their research they have designed software that simulates the way in which light is propagated down a plastic optic fibre, a tool that a number of companies already use. Moreover, they design and develop new devices or sensors based on plastic optic fibres. Finally, it should be pointed out that they have also worked with the automotive sector, analysing, above all, the losses produced in the wiring in the car at kinks and corners and, in this way, to be able to adapt the topology and minimise signal losses.

Garazi Andonegi | Basque research
Further information:

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>