The History and Development of Optical Fibres
The history and development of optical fibres is related to the research done with light and in the optics field of Physics. So, although optical fibre technology is new, the theory behind it stems from discoveries in the optics field.
1790s: Claude Chappe,
French engineer, invented the "optical telegraph"
1840s: Swiss physicist
Daniel Collodon and French physicist Jacques Babinet showed that light could be
guided along jets of water for fountain displays.
1845s: British physicist
John Tyndall popularized light guiding
1880s: Alexander Graharn
Bell patented Photophone
John Logie Baird in England and Clarenee W. Hansell in U.S.A patented
the idea of using arrays of hollow pipes or transparent rods to transmit
images for television or facsimile systems.
Heinrich Lamm, a Jew medical student in Munich, reported transmitting the
image of a light bulb filament through a short bundle. He is the first
person known to have demonstrated image transmission through a bundle of
1940s: many doctors used illuminated plexi-glass tongue depressors.
Holgen Moller Hansen applied for a Danish patent on fiber-optic imaging.
Application denied. No company was interested in his invention.
Abraham van Heel of the Technical University of Delft in Holland and Harold.
H. Hopkins and Narender Kapany of Imperial College in London separately
announced imaging bundles in the prestigious British journal Nature.
Lawrence Curtis, then an undergraduate at the University of Michigan,
developed glass-clad fibres.
glass-clad fibres had attenuation of about one decibel per meter, fine for
medical imaging, but much too high for communications.
July 22: Electronics magazine introduced its report on Theodore Maiman's
demonstration of the first laser.
Elias Snitzer at American Optical, working with Hicks at Mosaic
Fabrications, demonstrated the similarity by drawing fibres with cores so
small they carried light in only one wave guide mode.
E Karbowiak, the head of the research team at Standard Telecommunications
laboratories, left STL to become chairman of Electrical Engineering at the
University of New South Wales in Australia.
-A young engineer born in Shanghai, Charles K. Kao, succeeded him.
George Hockham, another young STL engineer who specialized in Antenna
Theory, Kao worked out a proposal for long distance communications over
single model fibres.
Major technical barriers remained for both millimeter-wave and laser
- April 1,1966: The issue of
laser Focus noted Kao's proposal.
- July 1966:
and Hockham's detailed analysis was published in the July 1966 Proceedings
of the Institution of Electrical Engineers.
that fibre loss could be reduced below 20 dB/km attracted the interest of
the British Post Office.
Tillman, the boss in Post Office Research laboratory, tapped a new research
fund of 12 million pounds to study ways to decrease fibre loss.
Success in reducing fibre loss to 20 dB/km