The Use of Optical Fibres for Remote Imaging

The Use of Optical Fibres for Remote Imaging

  • Optical fibres are thin strands of glass or plastic that are capable of transmitting light signals over long distances. The principle behind their operation is total internal reflexion.

  • When light waves enter the fibre, they strike the inner surface at an angle greater than the critical angle, therefore, all the light is reflected back inside. This is known as total internal reflexion.

  • Optical fibres are used for remote imaging in a number of applications, including telecommunications, medicine, and technology.

  • In medicine, an endoscope is a device that uses optical fibres for remote imaging. Doctors insert it into the body to see inside without performing invasive surgery. This allows them to diagnose and treat many conditions.

  • The endoscope has an eyepiece at one end, a bundle of optical fibres in the middle to carry light signals, and a lens at the end to collect light.

  • Light is sent down one bundle of fibres to illuminate the patient’s body, the light then reflects off the body’s surfaces and back up another bundle of fibres to the eyepiece, creating an image for the doctor to see.

  • In telecommunications, optical fibres transmit signals as pulses of light. These light signals can travel long distances with very little loss of signal strength, making optical fibre better than traditional copper cables for data transmission.

  • Optical fibres can also be used in computer networking and broadcasting services. For instance, television companies often use them to carry their signals to broadcasting towers.

  • Understanding total internal reflexion and the use of optical fibres for remote imaging is fundamental for the technology that drives our modern world, from internet communication to medical technology.

  • Key equations to remember include n1sinθ1 = n2sinθ2 (Snell’s Law) and the critical angle can be calculated using: sinθc = n2/n1, where n1 and n2 are the refractive indices of the two media and θ1, θ2, and θc are the angles of incidence, refraction, and critical angle, respectively.