New optical fibers amplify light at regular intervals

A group of scientists from Switzerland has presented a technique that allows them to amplify light at regular intervals in newly developed hollow-core optical fibers. The fiber optic technology is based on the use of air to amplify light across the fiber. Herewith, the application of such a fiber optic system includes any type of light (from infrared to ultraviolet) and any gas.

The scientists claim that this technology is regarded as very promising and the optical fibers can be employed to create extremely precise temperature sensors. It should be noted that standard optical fibers usually have a solid glass core. Even though these optical fibers are widely used all around the world, they have several disadvantages.

The thing is that the light that goes through these fibers gradually losses half of its intensity after two dozens kilometers resulting in hardly detectable light after three hundreds kilometer of optical fibers. Thus, it is necessary to keep the light traveling by amplifying it at regular intervals, however, it is difficult to perform because of the solid core of standard optical fibers making them suitable for application with any type of air or gas.

The application of a gas-filled hollow-core optical fiber at high pressure enables the scientists to reach a strong Brillouin amplification across the length of the fiber, which is similar to six times the gains from a solid silica core of the standard optical fiber. The thing is that the air provides less attenuation, that is why the light can go a longer distance, and this ability of the fiber optic system is considered to be very important.

Nevertheless, it is difficult to perform amplification of such a thin substance as air. “Light travels faster when there’s less resistance, but at the same time, it’s harder to act on. Fortunately, fiber optic technology has overcome the challenge.” The solution is the development of controlled resistance by adding pressure to the air in the optical fiber.

The operating principle reminds optical tweezers resulting in the appearance of a soundwave that expands the amplitude and refracts the beam increasing its weakened parts. The new optical fiber technique raises the power of the light. This fiber optic technology can be useful in the development of temporary optical memory.

Finally, the fiber optic system allows applying various types of light, for example, infrared or ultraviolet and different gases. Moreover, fiber optic technology offers extremely precise temperature measurements snd can be used as distributed temperature sensors at any point along the optical fiber.

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