Fiber - Types and Performance

There are several types of fiber that vary by the wavelengths the transmit, cost, flexibility, maximum temperature, and length.

Borosilicate

This is the workhorse fiber for visible light.  Also used for chemistry lab ware, it withstands heat, is inexpensive, readily available, flexible, and transmits well in the visible and near infrared (400-1260nm). With a typical fiber diameter of 50u and a numerical aperture of .55 (.25, .66, and .87 available),  this fiber is used in medical devices, spectroscopy, lighting, inspection, and countless other applications, too many to list. The individual fibers are about the size of a hair. They are bundled together and inserted into a jacket, then the ends of the fibers are glued into ferrules and polished.  The maximum length of this fiber is about 40 feet, and it does not transmit in the UV or mid-IR.

Fused Silica

This fiber is used in applications where UV or IR transmission is important. Also referred to as quartz fiber, it is widely used in spectroscopy. It is less flexible and much more expensive than borosilicate, but many applications demand it.

Plastic Fiber

This fiber has many similarities to borosilicate.  It is inexpensive, flexible, available, and transmits well in the visible and near infrared. It does not withstand heat well, the NA is .50, and the typical diameter is 250u, much larger than the borosilicate.

Exotic Fiber

The fibers that cross the county used for telecom are made of pure fused silica, are expensive, and are very specialized. Other very expensive fibers are used in the mid and far-IR such as chalcogenide, silver halide and fluoride. We do not deal with these types of fibers.

Imaging Fiber

Also called coherent fiber, these can transmit the an image from one end of the fiber to the other end. They can be made of fused silica, borosilcate, or plastic, but availability is limited.

Borosilicate

This is the workhorse fiber for visible light.  Also used for chemistry lab ware, it withstands heat, is inexpensive, readily available, flexible, and transmits well in the visible and near infrared (400-1260nm). With a typical fiber diameter of 50u and a numerical aperture of .55 (.25, .66, and .87 available),  this fiber is used in medical devices, spectroscopy, lighting, inspection, and countless other applications, too many to list. The individual fibers are about the size of a hair. They are bundled together and inserted into a jacket, then the ends of the fibers are glued into ferrules and polished.  The maximum length of this fiber is about 40 feet, and it does not transmit in the UV or mid-IR.

Fused Silica

This fiber is used in applications where UV or IR transmission is important. Also referred to as quartz fiber, it is widely used in spectroscopy. It is less flexible and much more expensive than borosilicate, but many applications demand it.

Plastic Fiber

This fiber has many similarities to borosilicate.  It is inexpensive, flexible, available, and transmits well in the visible and near infrared. It does not withstand heat well, the NA is .50, and the typical diameter is 250u, much larger than the borosilicate.

Exotic Fiber

The fibers that cross the county used for telecom are made of pure fused silica, are expensive, and are very specialized. Other very expensive fibers are used in the mid and far-IR such as chalcogenide, silver halide and fluoride. We do not deal with these types of fibers.

Imaging Fiber

Also called coherent fiber, these can transmit the an image from one end of the fiber to the other end. They can be made of fused silica, borosilcate, or plastic, but availability is limited.

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