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Single-mode optical fiber: Wikis


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In fiber-optic communication, a single-mode optical fiber (SMF) (monomode optical fiber, single-mode optical waveguide, or unimode fiber) is an optical fiber designed to carry only a single ray of light (mode). This ray of light often contains a variety of different wavelengths. Although the ray travels parallel to the length of the fiber, it is often called the transverse mode since its electromagnetic vibrations occur perpendicular (transverse) to the length of the fiber. The 2009 Nobel Prize for Physics was given to Charles K. Kao for his theoretical work on the single-mode optical fiber.[1]



Like multi-mode optical fibers, single mode fibers do exhibit modal dispersion resulting from multiple spatial modes but with narrower modal dispersion. Single mode fibers are therefore better at retaining the fidelity of each light pulse over longer distances than multi-mode fibers. For these reasons, single-mode fibers can have a higher bandwidth than multi-mode fibers. Equipment for single mode fiber is more expensive than equipment for multi-mode optical fiber, but the single mode fiber itself is usually cheaper in bulk.

A typical single mode optical fiber has a core diameter between 8 and 10 µm[2] and a cladding diameter of 125 µm. There are a number of special types of single-mode optical fiber which have been chemically or physically altered to give special properties, such as dispersion-shifted fiber and nonzero dispersion-shifted fiber. Data rates are limited by polarization mode dispersion and chromatic dispersion. In 2005, data rates of up to 10 gigabits per second were possible at distances of over 80 km (50 mi) with commercially available transceivers (Xenpak). By using optical amplifiers and dispersion-compensating devices, state-of-the-art DWDM optical systems can span thousands of kilometers at 10 Gbit/s, and several hundred kilometers at 40 Gbit/s.

The lowest-order bound mode is ascertained for the wavelength of interest by solving Maxwell's equations for the boundary conditions imposed by the fiber, which are determined by the core diameter and the refractive indices of the core and cladding. The solution of Maxwell's equations for the lowest order bound mode will permit a pair of orthogonally polarized fields in the fiber, and this is the usual case in a communication fiber.

In step-index guides, single-mode operation occurs when the normalized frequency, V, is less than 2.405. For power-law profiles, single-mode operation occurs for a normalized frequency, V, less than approximately 2.405 \sqrt{\frac{g + 2}{g}}, where g is the profile parameter.

In practice, the orthogonal polarizations may not be associated with degenerate modes.

Optical fiber connectors are used to join optical fibers where a connect/disconnect capability is required. The basic connector unit is a connector assembly. A connector assembly consists of an adapter and two connector plugs. Due to the sophisticated polishing and tuning procedures that may be incorporated into optical connector manufacturing, connectors are generally assembled onto optical fiber in a supplier’s manufacturing facility. However, the assembly and polishing operations involved can be performed in the field, for example to make cross-connect jumpers to size.

Optical fiber connectors are used in telephone company central offices, at installations on customer premises, and in outside plant applications. Their uses include: - Making the connection between equipment and the telephone plant in the central office - Connecting fibers to remote and outside plant electronics such as Optical Network Units (ONUs) and Digital Loop Carrier (DLC) systems - Optical cross connects in the central office - Patching panels in the outside plant to provide architectural flexibility and to interconnect fibers belonging to different service providers - Connecting couplers, splitters, and Wavelength Division Multiplexers (WDMs) to optical fibers - Connecting optical test equipment to fibers for testing and maintenance.

Outside plant applications may involve locating connectors underground in subsurface enclosures that may be subject to flooding, on outdoor walls, or on utility poles. The closures that enclose them may be hermetic, or may be “free-breathing.” Hermetic closures will subject the connectors within to temperature swings unless they are breached. Free-breathing closures will subject them to temperature and humidity swings, and possibly to condensation and biological action from airborne bacteria, insects, etc. Connectors in the underground plant may be subjected to groundwater immersion if the closures containing them are breached or improperly assembled.

The latest industry requirements for optical fiber connectors are in Telcordia GR-326, Generic Requirements for Singlemode Optical Connectors and Jumper Assemblies

See also


  1. ^ Nobel Prize Citation
  2. ^ ARC Electronics (2007-10-01). "Fiber Optic Cable Tutorial". 


External links



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