There are many desirable properties of optical fibers for carrying this information. They have enormous information-carrying capacity, are low cost, and possess immunity from the many disturbances that can afflict electrical wires and wireless communication links. The superiority of optical fibers for carrying information from place to place is leading to their rapidly replacing older technologies. Optical fibers have facilitated in making possible the extraordinary growth in world-wide communications that has occurred in the last three decades, and are important in multiplying the use of the Internet. Some of the prominent scientists who made important inventions and developments relating to fiber optics were Thomas Alva Edison, Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Max Born, and Niels Bohr. Significant optical milestones included the introduction of lens coating in the 1930s and lasers in 1960; fiber optics emerged by mid-century and thousands of scientists innovated and adapted uses for optical materials in the following decades. Engineers established the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE) in 1955 to coordinate Professional efforts. The possibilities for fiber optics are innumerable because they are very flexible and durable, even under extreme conditions, and the signal cannot be easily distorted. They also don't require much power and are efficient. Today, they are used mostly in telecommunications, such as in cable TV and internet. Some of other uses of optical fibers are as follows :
1. Optical fiber technology is very important for our high speed communications. The optical with its low weight and high frequency characteristics (approximately 40 GHz) and its imperiousness to interference from electromagnetic radiation, has become the choice for all heavy demand long line telephone communication systems.
2. Fiber optics is light weight, non-corrosiveness and long lasting, which make it most preferable to use in air crafts and automotive applications
3. A single fiber can handle as many voice channels as a 1500- pair cable can, because light propagates through the fiber with little attenuation compared to electrical cables. This allows long distances to be spanned with few repeaters. Additionally, the per-channel light signals propagating in the fiber have been modulated at rates as high as 111 gigabits per second by NTT a Japanese Multi national.
4. Fiber is immune to interference from lightning cross talk and electromagnetic radiation.
5. Fibers are widely used in illumination applications. They are used as light guides in medical and other applications.
6. Optical fibers can be used as sensors to measure strain, temperature, pressure and other quantities by modifying a fiber so that the property to measure modulates the intensity, phase, polarization, wavelength, or transit time of light in the fiber.