What is Optics?
Optics is the branch of physics responsible for studying the phenomena of light and human vision. This study is divided into two, according to the behavior of light: geometric optics and physical optics.
Geometric optics is restricted to the study of the propagation of light through rays. Among the phenomena analyzed by this field of study are: the reflection and refraction of light, mirrors and lenses, and the rectilinear propagation of light.
Physical optics studies light in the form of waves. Among the phenomena studied are: composition, emission, absorption, polarization, diffraction and interference of light.
The first studies on optics and the phenomena of light date back to ancient civilizations, such as Ancient Greece, for example. However, it was from the studies of Galileo Galilei, in the 16th century, that this scientific branch began to develop intensely.
Since then, other important names have contributed to the growth of the study of optics, such as: René Descartes (1596 – 1650), Christiaan Huygens (1629 – 1695) and Isaac Newton (1643 – 1727).
The word optics can also represent the place of manufacture and sale of eyeglasses and other lenses, such as scopes, binoculars and optical instruments in general.
Another meaning for this term is the way in which a given object can be observed, that is, its perspective towards someone; or point of view of something.
Example: “From the researcher’s point of view, the result was positive”.
Etymologically, optics originated from the Greek optiké, meaning “art of seeing” or “science of vision”.
It is a mechanism that facilitates the transmission of light rays, normally made of flexible glass filaments or other material that is produced with polymer – a type of micromolecule in plastic.
Currently, as it does not suffer electromagnetic interference, optical fiber is widely used as a means of transmitting data, information and communications.
Optical fiber was invented by Indian physicist Narinder Singh Kapany.
Optics and Optics
Commonly, both words are used as synonyms, mainly to refer to phenomena related to vision.
However, some dictionaries differentiate the meanings of “optics” and “optics”, the first term being exclusively related to vision, and the last referring to the phenomena of hearing.
What is Optical Fiber?
Optical fiber is a high-speed data transmission technology. These are cables made of transparent, reflective material, and can be as thin as human hair.
In these fiber optic filaments, light is reflected and travels at speeds much greater than the transmission of energy by copper wires, for example.
This type of fiber is mainly used by telecommunications companies, due to its high degree of security in the delivery of information. The technology that provides the use of optical fiber is essential for the expansion of digital technologies, allowing uninterrupted and fast communication of signals and data, either by voice or video.
Optical fibers are formed by a core of transparent material, which forms the mirror that will reflect light and allow the transmission of information. This core is usually composed of an absolutely pure glass wire, in perfect light reflection conditions. It is from this reflection that data is transmitted, when a light source emits a beam at one end, which must reach the other.
But there are also fiber optic cables made of other transparent materials, such as plastic. But because they are not as pure in composition as glass, transmission is impaired and travels a shorter path.
The electrical signals to be transmitted by the optical fiber are emitted from a laser or LED source, and must be converted into light pulses by special devices for this task. These pulses of light communicate through optical fibers by binary values, the bits, which correspond to the transmitted data.
Among its uses are data transmission in telecommunications, and it already reaches homes through internet services provided by fiber optic cables. It also has medical uses, in the creation of equipment such as the endoscope that serve to perform less invasive exams and with greater diagnostic accuracy.
Advantages and disadvantages of fiber optics
The advantages of optical fiber are many, but the expansion of its use to replace metal wires is met with resistance in the price, as the process for manufacturing the fiber is still very expensive.
In relation to metal wires, optical fiber offers an advantage as it uses raw materials that are more abundant than metal in its manufacture. Cables with a glass core also do not suffer from the interference of electromagnetic waves, as well as they do not oxidize or corrode according to the environment in which they are.
Single-mode and multi-mode optical fibers
There are two types of fiber optic cables: singlemode and multimode.
Single- mode cable is recommended for transmitting data over long distances. It has a larger diameter and inside the light is reflected more efficiently, but it only works by emitting one light signal at a time.
Multimode cable is more common, mainly used over short distances. This is because it is cheaper and easier to install, but it does not have the same performance over long distances, losing information.
Optical fiber or optical fiber?
Both forms, optical fiber or optical fiber, are correct in Portuguese, with the same meaning. According to the New Portuguese Language Agreement, the letter P that is not pronounced in a word must be suppressed from its writing. Therefore, the way the word is spoken began to determine its wording.
But according to some experts, the word optics would be the most correct because of its origin in Greek, demarcating what is related to vision.
In physics, the concept of optics is the branch dedicated to the study of the phenomena of production, transmission and radiation of light. And therefore the fiber based on the principle of refraction of light would be optical fiber. While optics originates from another Greek term, but in reference to the ear and hearing. However, both forms are accepted.
List of Acronyms Related to Optics