Optical fiber is great for carrying huge amounts of data over long distances at unimagined speeds and providing us with high-speed Internet connections that nowadays are more a necessity than a luxury, but they also have an excellent throughput in other fields beside telecommunications, since they are used from non-invasive surgeries to pool illumination.
Optical fiber made it possible for surgeries to be minimally invasive and to have advanced diagnostic technologies due to implements like optical fiber cameras. Medical optical fiber applications also include X-ray imaging, ophthalmic lasers, light therapy, dental head pieces, surgical microscopy and endoscopy. The study “Global Market Study on Medical Fiber Optics: Asia to Witness Highest Growth by 2019” says that medical fiber global market will reach a value of USD 1,336.1 million by 2019.
Optical fiber is used in the decoration field because it provides an attractive and economical way of illumination. It is used at museums exhibitions due to their heat-free attribute and in underwater lighting because they don’t conduct electricity.
Optical fibers also provide extremely focused light, they are long-lasting, look like neon, colors can change according to the applied filter and their installment and maintenance is easy. Also they look really cute, don’t they?
Lighting applications with optical fiber are being used in the automotive industry too because they it can be installed in reduced spaces and it transmits cold light. Companies like Volvo, Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Saab use fiber to build the communication system that connects sensors with airbags and traction control devices in order to increase passenger’s safety.
Roll Royce’s trademark “Starlight headliner” is built with over 1300 optical fibers which make Phantom’s ceiling look like a starlight night.
Optical fiber sensors measure, pressure and strain. But they are also used to look for displacements, vibrations and rotations in civil structures such as highways, buildings and bridges or smart structures like airplanes wings and sport equipment. They are also very helpful for monitoring oil, power cables and pipelines in places that are really hard to reach.
Sensors work with a detector arrangement that measures the subtle changes that happen in the light as it travels through an optical fiber. They offer a lot of advantages because they don’t require electrical cables, therefore can be safely used in high-voltage and electrical environments.