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Saturday, March 26, 2011

The best resource I can find to learn your first “optical fiber” lesson!

When trying to search for more information about CLEO 2011 plenary speaker – Dr. Donald Keck, a pioneer and veteran in optical fiber technology, I realized that the best online resource to learn about optical fiber is not Wikipedia this time. It is actually the website of Corning. Apparently, as a company, Corning has a different standard in educating his customers. It puts a lot of efforts and resources into the contents. What impresses me about this website is that – it does not just pile the information day after day for you to dig in. It organizes the information so well that you just absorb the knowledge without noticing it. It contains knowledge for the beginners, amateurs, and serious researchers. All you need is a cup of coffee/tea and a nice break to enjoy it.

I will start with the “Fiber 101”. Almost all the technical terms you need to know (such as core and cladding, single/multimode fibers, and mode field diameter) will be explained with beautiful illustrations here. I will call it “fiber for dummy” section.

If you are interested in the history of optical fiber, make a little digression and feel it through “The History of Corning's Optical Fiber Innovation”. Over the past 40 years, the technology of fiber has advanced so much that we now have an optical fiber of more than a few thousand kilometers transmitting the information at the rate of terabits/s! Intriguingly, you can also see Dr. Donald Keck’s video clips and his historic photos scattered in this timeline-type-of-presentation.

Let us shift back to more scientific and technological points of views. If you want to know what and how the optical fiber can carry the information around the world and what the emerging technologies are, you might not miss this link “Long-haul Networks”. In this short report, concerns and solutions about transmitting information through fibers, new technologies to advance optical fiber’s applications are well discussed. All of us are fascinated by the fiber to the home (FTTH) for sure. Learning about it is straightforward through the following two links – “Broadband Technology Comparison” and “FTTH benefits”. I really hope soon we can have this technology at each corner of the country.

Time for the hard cores! You can find numerous application notes and conference papers in “here”. You can easily get lost if you do not know what you are looking for. This section is like a database for serious researchers. It also proves that Corning is intimately connected with the scientific community. With this being mentioned, do not forget to check Wikipedia now! After a quick power boost from the Corning website, I believe everyone can have a fundamental ideas about what optical fibers are and can surf through the heavy materials presented by wiki much easier.

Of course, the devotion of this website raises my expectation on Dr. Donald Keck’s plenary talk. I really look forward to learning the stories of the advances of optical fibers through a person who dedicates himself into this field for more than thirty years!

Finally, I found a very amazing video clip online to end this blog. It is an inspiring one made by Corning – A day made of glass, made possible by Corning – shows you that optical fiber is just a link or part of the technologies made possible by glass. Combing glass with chemistry, material sciences, and physics, the life is with unlimited potential!!!

The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not represent the Optical Society of America (OSA) or any OSA affiliate.

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